MX23RW : Monday, February 26 14:10:31| >> :120:59198:59198:
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Fiorentina logo
Europa Conference League | Group Stage
Nov 30, 2023 at 8pm UK
Stadio Artemio Franchi
2 - 1
Martinez (45+4'), Gonzalez (82' pen.)
Martinez (28'), Vrancken (42'), Milenkovic (90+2'), Biraghi (90+7'), Kouame (90+7')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Kayembe (45')
Fadera (20'), Italiano (37'), Munoz (81'), Hrosovsky (89'), Paintsil (89'), Zeqiri (90+2'), Heynen (90+6'), Galarza (90+4')

Preview: Fiorentina vs. Genk - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa Conference League clash between Fiorentina and Genk, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Knowing victory will secure their place in the knockout phase, Fiorentina host Genk in the Europa Conference League on Thursday evening.

The Group F rivals convene at Stadio Artemio Franchi, with the Viola occupying top spot heading into their penultimate fixture; however, Genk are just two points behind.

Match preview

Fiorentina's Josip Brekalo celebrates scoring their first goal with Fabiano Parisi on October 8, 2023© Reuters

With Serbian outsiders Cukaricki cut adrift at the bottom of the Group F standings, the final two matchdays will see three clubs battle it out to progress: Fiorentina, Genk and Ferencvaros are all separated by only two points.

The trio have drawn all of their meetings so far, but Fiorentina can travel to Budapest next month with a top-two place secured - if they first see off opponents they came close to beating in Belgium.

Genk twice came from behind to snatch a draw in September's reverse fixture, when centre-back Luca Ranieri bagged an unlikely brace for the Viola, but they now meet the Belgians again with home advantage on their side.

In fact, Fiorentina can be confirmed as group winners - thereby avoiding an extra playoff tie - if they win on Thursday and Ferencvaros fail to take maximum points from rock-bottom Cukaricki.

Europa Conference League runners-up last season, while also impressing on the domestic scene, Vincenzo Italiano's side have lacked such fluency so far this term, losing four of their last five Serie A matches.

That caused Italiano to publicly bemoan his strikers' efforts following Saturday's 1-0 defeat to AC Milan at San Siro, which was the fourth time Fiorentina had failed to score in the space of a month.

Bryan Heynen captain of Genk© Reuters

Genk also fired blanks at the weekend, in a 1-0 loss to Standard Liege at Stade de Sclessin, and they sit sixth in the Belgian Pro League as things stand.

While Wouter Vrancken's men cannot go through or be eliminated from the Conference League this week, as they are locked on six points with Ferencvaros, avoiding defeat in Florence is surely essential - particularly if they still have designs on top spot.

There is a significant incentive for teams that claim first place, as they will head straight for the last 16 rather than facing a knockout-round playoff meeting with one of eight clubs demoted from the Europa League.

Having come within a whisker of being crowned Belgian champions last term, being denied by Royal Antwerp in the most dramatic circumstances on the final day, Genk may be a little further off the pace this season but remain a tough team to beat.

The Blauw-Wit have lost just twice in 16 matches since the start of September, drawing half, and they are sure to fancy their chances against a Fiorentina side that often falter in the opposition area.

Fiorentina Europa Conference League form:

Fiorentina form (all competitions):

Genk Europa Conference League form:

Genk form (all competitions):

Team News

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano reacts on October 5, 2023© Reuters

In the first of two home fixtures within the space of three days, Vincenzo Italiano is set to make several changes to the Fiorentina team that started against Milan last time out.

Luca Ranieri is likely to return after serving a one-match suspension, while young full-back Michael Kayode could complete his comeback from an ankle injury. Up front, M'Bala Nzola should replace Lucas Beltran, who has yet to score a Serie A goal since signing in the summer.

Dodo and Gaetano Castrovilli are out of action for the rest of the year, while Italiano must also make do without midfield duo Giacomo Bonaventura and Rolando Mandragora.

Meanwhile, Wouter Vrancken was without one of his key players on Saturday, as Daniel Munoz withdrew from the Genk squad shortly before kickoff. The Colombian defender returned from international duty just in time, but a bout of flu puts his participation at Stadio Franchi in some doubt.

Blau-Wit captain Bryan Heynen should start in midfield, with Joseph Paintsil, Tolu Arokodare and Andi Zeqiri - all of whom have scored once in the Conference League this season - vying for selection in the final third.

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Christensen; Kayode, Milenkovic, Ranieri, Biraghi; Lopez, Mandragora; Gonzalez, Barak, Brekalo; Nzola

Genk possible starting lineup:
Vandevoort; El Ouadhi, Cuesta, McKenzie, Arteaga; Heynen, Galarza, El Khannouss; Bonsu Baah, Zeqiri, Paintsil

SM words green background

We say: Fiorentina 1-1 Genk

None of Group F's top three have managed to beat each other so far, and that trend could continue, as Fiorentina are struggling to score goals and may frustrate their fans once again. Genk can stay in the mix by holding the Viola to a draw, which would set up a fascinating final matchday.

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

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Group A

QSlovan Bratislava631210

Group B

QM. Tel Aviv650115

Group C

QDinamo Zagreb63039
4KF Ballkani61144

Group D


Group E

QAston Villa641113
4Zrinjski Mostar61144

Group F


Group G

4HJK Helsinki60242

Group H

4Spartak Trnava60151

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