Luis Muriel fires Udinese ahead in Coppa Italia tie against Fiorentina.

The Coppa Italia has been a welcomed break for Udinese this season. The club are currently fighting relegation and sit in 15th place after Saturday’s win over Bologna. Udinese have overcome some tough ties knocking out both Milan clubs, Inter and AC Milan. Fiorentina now stand in the way of the final. Fiorentina have had a much easier run into the semi-final. They’ve defeated Chievo and Serie B side Siena.

Fiorentina started the better, applying some early pressure. After a few minutes the game opened up and both sides were evenly matched, both sets of players taking turns in having spells on the ball. The first dangerous threat to any goal came in the 20th minute, Gabriel Silva managed to beat the offside flag and his deflected cross forced Neto into a smart save. Despite having more of the ball Fiorentina couldn’t produce anything that would cause the young Scuffet problems. Vargas managed to come the closest in the opening half an hour, the Peruvian could only drag his shot wide from the edge of the area.

Neto was once again forced into action when Di Natale laid the ball off to Pinzi who’s powerful low effort from range threatened. Gabriel Silva picked up the rebound out wide but his effort could only hit the side netting.

The breakthrough finally came on the 36th minute. Udinese hit Fiorentina on the break with Pereyra powering up the pitch before playing a beautiful pass through to Widmer, the fullback was unselfish and he managed to put the ball on a plate for Di Natale to easily tap in.

The goal gave Fiorentina a wake up call and they looked much more lively in and around the box. Matri almost got on the scoresheet, unfortunately for him Scuffet was quick off his line to deny Matri’s shot after he knock the ball past two defenders with a header.

A few minutes later Fiorentina were level, Rodriguez robbed Di Natale near the halfway line and it was probably a foul. The defender played the ball to Joaquin and the Spanish winger then played the ball across to Vargas, the Peruvian unleashed a frightening shot which flew in after hitting the crossbar, the 17-year-old Scuffet didn’t stand a chance.

The second half started in a similar way to the first. Matri had the first chance when Borja Valero found the AC Milan loanee with his cross, the chance was difficult for Matri and he fired over.

The game went quiet after that early chance, the next good opportunity came when Pizarro played the ball to Joaquin. Fiorentina’s number 7 produced a few stepovers before firing an effort at goal, Scuffet reacted well and made sure he wasn’t beaten at his near post.

López looked lively in the second half, the youngster made some good runs out to the wings and provided crosses for his teammates. Sadly for Lopez he didn’t have a great deal to aim for.

Fiorentina looked the most likely to add to their first half goal with a few half chances. First up was an attempt from Vargas, the Peruvian struck a low freekick from distance and although it was straight at Scuffet, the young keeper almost let the ball slip away from his grasp after the ball bounced off the surface. Matri then tried his luck when controlling a pass with his chest before hooking the ball round a defender and just wide. Joaquin provided a fantastic cross to the back post where he found Vargas, the goalscorer failed to add to his tally, heading the ball wide.

Udinese’s Muriel almost made an instant impact when Widmer drove forward, Muriel fired the fullback’s cut back just over. Muriel certainly causing a few problems after coming on.

Fiorentina’s Fernandez whipped in a terrific freekick from out wide and Savic was inches away from making contact.

In the 82nd minute Muriel capped off a great substitute performance when he picked up the ball from 20 yards out and fired a wonderful strike which went in off the post, Neto was left helpless.

Fiorentina tried to push for a late equalizer but it wasn’t to be. Muriel’s impact from the bench and his late goal has given Udinese an important lead going into the second leg. This tie is in Udinese’s hands now and the second leg will certainly be worth a watch.


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