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July 25, 2024
The Hona News

Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Fiorentina

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Serie A clash between Hellas Verona and Fiorentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Still gunning for a return to Europe, Fiorentina aim to continue their recent revival at the expense of relegation-threatened Hellas Verona on Sunday.

The Viola will arrive at Stadio Bentegodi fresh from edging closer to another Europa Conference League final and intent on improving their prospects of a top-seven finish in Serie A.

Match preview

 Fiorentina's M'Bala Nzola celebrates scoring their third goal with Christian Kouame on May 2, 2024© Reuters

Last season’s Conference League runners-up, Fiorentina secured a precious one-goal lead in the first leg of this year’s semi-final tie against Club Brugge on Thursday evening, as M’Bala Nzola struck in stoppage time to claim a 3-2 win at Stadio Franchi.

Italy internationals Riccardo Sottil and Andrea Belotti had both found the target in an eventful first half, but after twice being pegged back, the Viola finally capitalised on their visitors going down to 10 men.

With a slim advantage to take to Belgium for next week’s second leg, Vincenzo Italiano‘s side can now focus on chasing down seventh-placed Lazio for what is likely to be the last available European place in Serie A.

Though Fiorentina have won their last two league matches – against relegated Salernitana and then struggling Sassuolo, who they thumped 5-1 – they still trail the Biancocelesti by six points, albeit with two games in hand.

During an inconsistent domestic campaign, they have won three consecutive games only once so far this term – and not since December – but Italiano will now aim to repeat that feat against a club he represented more than 200 times as a player.

His current team were recently dumped out of the Coppa Italia despite leading ahead of their semi-final second leg, but finishing in Italy’s top seven and lifting some European silverware would be a fine way to sign off his time in Florence.

Hellas Verona coach Marco Baroni on March 17, 2024© Reuters

While Fiorentina could now record successive Serie A away wins for the first time this season, Verona will be aiming to win back-to-back home matches for the first time in a difficult 2023-24 campaign.

However, following a 1-0 defeat in December’s reverse fixture, the Gialloblu are winless in the clubs’ last eight league meetings; furthermore, they have lost seven of their last nine games against the Viola at Stadio Bentegodi.

Marco Baroni‘s men have just a two-point buffer separating them from Udinese in 18th place, so reversing that trend would help relieve the pressure on a club that only secured top-flight survival by winning a relegation playoff last season.

Last time out, ex-Verona forward Mattia Zaccagni scored the only goal in their 1-0 loss to Lazio, which saw the away side manage just one shot on target at Stadio Olimpico.

While they will try to pick up points from remaining home games against Fiorentina, Torino and new champions Inter Milan, an upcoming trip to demoted Salernitana should prove Verona’s best chance of posting an eighth league win – though they may hope Sunday’s opponents will be distracted by continental commitments.

Hellas Verona Serie A form:

Fiorentina Serie A form:

Fiorentina form (all competitions):

Team News

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano before the match on April 11, 2024© Reuters

After making a number of changes to his starting lineup last weekend, Vincenzo Italiano fielded perhaps his strongest side in midweek; the extent of Fiorentina’s squad rotation on Sunday afternoon remains to be seen.

One player certain to drop out of the Viola’s XI is Thursday’s opening goalscorer Riccardo Sottil, who suffered a broken shoulder against Club Brugge and will now miss the rest of the season.

Among several men vying for promotion from the bench will be Czech forward Antonin Barak, who has scored four goals against former club Verona in Serie A, having netted 18 times in 64 league appearances for the Scaligeri.

While Jonathan Ikone and Christian Kouame head the queue to replace Sottil on the visitors’ left flank, Conference League hero M’Bala Nzola could supplant Andrea Belotti up front.

Whichever combination starts for Fiorentina, they must try to beat the goalkeeper with more saves than any other over the past three Serie A seasons: Verona’s Lorenzo Montipo has stopped 327 shots during that time, and he will again start behind a back four.

As Juan Cabal must serve a suspension, Ruben Vinagre is likely to deputise on the left side of that defensive unit, while Polish centre-back Pawel Dawidowicz is back from injury and could potentially return to the hosts’ lineup.

Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Tchatchoua, Coppola, Magnani, Vinagre; Duda, Serdar; Suslov, Folorunsho, Lazovic; Noslin

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Christensen; Faraoni, Milenkovic, Ranieri, Parisi; Duncan, Lopez; Ikone, Barak, Kouame; Nzola

SM words green background

We say: Hellas Verona 1-0 Fiorentina

Fiorentina’s away record has been below-par this season, while Verona have the advantage of several days extra rest. As the Viola often fail to finish their chances and will field an under-strength side, the Gialloblu faithful may have a rare win to celebrate this weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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