MX23RW : Saturday, July 21 13:54:56
Aug 26, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadio Artemio Franchi
Rossi (14'), Pizarro (30')
Gomez (16'), Pizarro (74')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Barrientos (24')
Barrientos (34'), Spolli (45'), Alvarez (50'), Andujar (90')

Live Commentary: Fiorentina 2-1 Catania - as it happened

Sports Mole's text commentary of Fiorentina's confident start to the Serie A season, a 2-1 home win over Catania.

Fiorentina took on Catania in the final match from week one in Serie A tonight, giving Mario Gomez a home debut in attack.

Gomez started the brightly but was upstaged by strike partner Guiseppe Rossi early, with the Italy international breaking the deadlock after 14 minutes.

Catania responded to equalise through Pablo Barrientos, but La Viola were back ahead before the break as David Pizarro lashed home what proved to be a decisive strike from distance.

Look back at a strong start from Vincenzo Montella's side with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.

7.17pmEvening Calcio fans. A packed opening weekend in Serie A concludes tonight in Florence, as Vincenzo Montella's La Viola start what they hope will be a breakthrough campaign at home to Catania.

7.19pmFiorentina surprised critics across Italy last season by finishing fourth, only missing out on a place in the Champions League on the final day of the season. Montella's side may have lost Stevan Jovetic to Manchester City during the summer, but after some significant recruitment over the close season hopes are high that the men in purple can challenge at the top of Serie A again this year.

7.21pmProlific German international Mario Gomez joined Fiorentina from Bayern Munich this summer, in a deal representing quite a coup for Montella. With Guiseppe Rossi finally fit after two years plagued by knee injuries La Viola certainly have the firepower to challenge any side in Serie A this season!

7.24pmJosip Ilicic was another notable capture for La Viola during the close season, arriving in a cut-price deal from Palermo. The Slovenian provides something different in the final third, representing something of a wild card with the ability to unlock defences. With Adem Ljajic's future increasingly uncertain Fiorentina may give the new man a chance to impress earlier than expected in the coming week.

7.27pmCatania have lost the two players that made them tick in attack last season, with Francesco Lodi and Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez leaving in the summer. Rolando Maran's side built their side on defensive discipline last season, finishing eighth and challenging for European places for much of the season. Matching that may be a struggle for the coming campaign, but a few new additions should help Catania fight for a top-half finish once again.

7.30pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS: Unsurprisingly Mario Gomez gets a home debut for Fiorentina this season, with Rossi starting alongside the German in a new-look attack for the hosts. A full look at both teams will follow in just a few moments.

7.32pmFIORENTINA: Neto, Rodriguez, Savic, Compper, Pizarro, Cuadrado, Pasqual, Aquilani, B.Valero, Gomez, Rossi

7.34pmCATANIA: Andujar, Monzon, Spolli, Bellusci, P.Alvarez, Barrientos, Castro, Tachtsidis, Leto, Izco, Bergessio

7.37pmWe should see Fiorentina line up in their usual 3-5-2 formation tonight, with Gomez and Rossi looking for service from Alberto Aquilani and Borja Valero. Former AC Milan Massimo Ambrosini has had to settle for a place on the bench this evening, with David Pizarro passing a late fitness test to make the starting XI.

7.39pmCatania have a pair of debutants in their lineup this evening, with Fabian Monzon getting a first start in defence. Greek midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis is also included after swapping Roma for Sicily last month, with Gonzalo Bergessio leading the line in a lone front role.

7.41pmMontella will be looking for his side to make a statement tonight, particularly with last season's main rivals AC Milan slipping up at Verona during the weekend. Gomez will keen to prove he can fill the void left by Jovetic, while collectively La Viola must be desperate to prove Ljajic's protracted contract dispute has not affected their preparations for the new campaign.

7.43pmPREDICTION: With kickoff imminent at the Artemio Franchi there is just time for to hazard a guess at tonight's scoreline. Catania are notoriously difficult to break down but I think Fiorentina have enough quality in the final third to do just that. I'll go for Rossi to make his return from injury with a goal in 2-0 home win.

7.45pmThe two teams are out in Tuscany, with a packed crowd greeting the hosts. Gomez fever has swept Florence, with a positive feeling surrounding a slight tweak to Montella's team that made strides this season. Can Catania offer any resistance this evening? We are about to find out!

2 minThe final match from round one of Serie A gets is underway, with Catania getting the match underway shooting from left to right, in a changed all-white strip. The visitors have just one Italian in their starting XI tonight, central defender Bellusci.

4 minFiorentina try and early diagonal ball as they build possession, with Valero finding Cuadrado out wide. Catania have immediately dropped deep to defend their own penalty area, as Rossi gets an early touch to shimmy past two defenders on the edge of the box.

7 minValero is bundled to the ground by Catania skipper Izco, winning a free kick around 30 yards from goal. Pasqual is the man to cross from the set piece but is delivery is a huge disappointment, failing to beat the first defender as Izco makes up for his error by smashing clear.

9 minFiorentina are already faced with 10 men behind the ball inside the first 10 minutes, with Aquilani and Valero patiently probing in possession from deep. Pasqual attempts to meet a long diagonal from Pizarro out wide, but has to settle for a throw as Alvarez heads out to safety.

11 minLeto evades two challenges and breaks clear for Catania, but takes too many touches out wide and fails to spot Bergessio unmarked inside the penalty area. Just a sign there that the visitors will offer a consistent threat on the counter, as Cuadrado commits a foul on Monzon as he turns neatly inside.

13 minFiorentina break as Cuadrado and Gomez combine quickly out wide to find Rossi, but the forward's first touch just lacks composure and with that the chance is gone. Just perhaps a sign of rust there for the Azzurri forward, who in fairness has spent nearly all of the last two seasons out with knee injuries.

15 minGOAL! Fiorentina 1-0 Catania (Rossi)

18 minCatania get caught at the back and play a heavy price for slack play in possession, conceding an early goal as Rossi finishes neatly from close range. Aquilani started the move, robbing in midfield before finding Cuadrado out wide. His low cross found Rossi, who had time to control before sending a measured finish into the far corner. Neat play from La Viola and what a start to the season for Montella's new-look forward line!

20 minYELLOW CARD! An early booking for Mario Gomez, who is harshly cautioned after winning the ball in a sliding tackle on Spolli. From the free kick Spolli beats Savic to meet a cross from Alvarez at the far post, but off-balance can only turn his header well wide of the target.

23 minCatania have reacted positively to conceding that early goal, winning their first corner kick which Monzon whips in. His curling cross is headed away by Cuadrado, but his attempt to switch wings in search of Valero trickles wide of the intended target and out for a throw in.

24 minGOAL! Fiorentina 1-1 Catania (Barrientos)

26 minA sweeping break down the left sees Catania draw level as Fiorentina's midfield is caught ball-watching. Barrientos started the move from deep and continued his run into the penalty area, reacting quickest to turn Leto's cross into the corner with a a fine drive. Pizarro had a chance to clear but completely missed the ball, making the Chilean culpable for a thoroughly avoidable equaliser. Game on!

29 minGomez is penalised for a push on Alvarez at the far post as he attempts to meet Cuadrado's deep cross delivered early. At the other end Castro goes down inside the box after making poor contact with his first touch, but the time he had there should send alarm bells ringing for Montella!

30 minGOAL! Fiorentina 2-1 Catania (Pizarro)

32 minPizarro has just atoned for his earlier mistake with an absolute beauty to put La Viola back ahead. The midfielder pounced on Cuadrado's half-cleared cross, which sent Catania goalkeeper Andujar chasing out of position. The Chilean shimmied inside two defenders before slamming an absolute piledriver into the top corner, beating the scrambling keeper and a defender's gallant effort on the line. A wonderful goal from the veteran, who emphatically restores the home side's advantage.

34 minThe home crowd want Spolli booked for bundling into the back of Gomez, then less than a minute later are unhappy as Pasqual is pushed over after nutmegging Izco. Neither wish is granted as a break in play is forced so Andujar can receive treatment for what looks like a knee problem.

36 minYELLOW CARD! Aquilani is the latest player to need assistance after clashing with Barrientos, who caught the player with his forearm to draw blood. The Argentine is adamant that the contact is accidental, but gets a booking nonetheless.

39 minA scrappy period of play continues with Catania winning a free kick, which Bergessio can only head well wide after finding space in the six-yard box. Fiorentina's back three look indecisive right now, but clear quickly as Rossi wins a free-kick for the hosts just outside the penalty area.

42 minOFF THE POST! Mario Gomez has just missed an absolute sitter. The forward gets a superb lay-off from Rossi to have a free strike goal from eight yards, but opts for power on his left foot and sees a low strike come hammering back off the foot of the post. You won't get a better chance to score on your home debut than that!

44 minCuadrado stings the palms of Andujar to win a corner for the hosts. From the corner kick Rossi is free at the back post, but sends a sidefoot volley well wide of the near post from a tight angle. Catania just living dangerously here before the break!

45 min+2Aquilani shows his studs in a challenge on Bergessio, with the Azzurri midfielder a touch fortunate to escape a booking despite initially winning the ball. We will have at least three minutes added time at the end of the first half.

45 min+3YELLOW CARD! Spolli gets a well-earned booking for persistent fouling after pushing over Gomez as he held the ball up well out wide. That gives La Viola the chance to send a cross into the penalty area deep into stoppage time, but Pasqual instead attempts to play short.

8.36pmHALF-TIME Fiorentina 2-1 Catania

8.39pmA thoroughly entertaining first half comes to an end with Fiorentina leading. Catania had responded well to cancel out Rossi's early strike, but a piledriver from Pizarro has the hosts ahead, in a lead they probably deserve.

9.42pmIn truth Fiorentina should be further ahead at the interval, but with the goal at his mercy just moments ago Gomez could only find the woodwork. The hosts have also been undermined by some slack defending, which allowed Barrientos to level midway through the first period.

9.45pmCatania have some room for encouragement at the break, but need to tighten up at the back before considering how best to find an equaliser. Izco, Castro and Barrientos have all looked bright on the counter, but Tachtsidis has been outnumbered in midfield and needs support against Pizarro, Aquilani and Valero, who have been allowed space to dictate play.

9.48pmBENCH WATCH! An exciting open game should get some added spice from the bench after the break, with both sides having attacking options in reserve. Fiorentina could call upon Fernandez or summer signings Joaquin and Ilicic, while Catania have AC Milan loanee Kingley Boateng waiting in the wings.

9.51pmMontella will be urging his side to keep possession when play resumes, while perhaps looking to get Cuadrado isolated with Monzon out wide. The Colombian's pace was a threat whenever used in the first half, particularly when Gomez dropped deep to combine with his winger.

47 minSUBSTITUTION: Perhaps realising Monzon is a worry for pace Catania boss Maran has made a change at the break, bringing on Uruguayan defender Rolin. The second half is underway!

49 minLeto wins an early corner kick for Catania after his flick inside draws a challenge from Pasqual. Barrientos takes but misses a packed penalty area with a floating cross, which Spolli just fails to keep alive on the far side.

51 minCatania are noticeably pressing higher in midfield since play resumed, looking to draw errors from the hosts. Izco continues that trend to get forward and cross, with Barrientos meeting a clearance to volley high over the crossbar.

53 minYELLOW CARD! Alvarez has switched wings to mark Cuadrado for the hosts, and signals his intentions by barging the Colombian over with a cynical foul. The late challenge is enough to earn a caution, putting the Argentine on thin ice for the rest of the match.

55 minAlvarez is quickly tangling with Cuadrado again as the winger knocks ahead towards the touchline, but this time the referee decides not to give a foul. The full-back is very lucky not to have been penalised there, particularly with the linesman just a few feet away.

57 minSAVE! Andujar is nearly caught out by a looping cross towards Pasqual, which seems to be swerving under the crossbar. The goalkeeper jumps forwards to parry before eventually gathering under pressure from Gomez.

60 minCatania are really under pressure now as the hosts look for Cuadrado in every attack. Gomez attempts to meet his cross and deliberately handles in mid-air, but luckily for the German he was flagged for offsides and avoids what would have probably been a second yellow card.

63 minRossi is clipped by Leto in the final third, gifting Fiorentina a free kick out wide. The visitors just about stop Gomez meeting a cross at the near post, with Cuadrado's speculative drive from all of 40 yards on the follow-up flying high and wide.

65 minSpolli continues his duel with Gomez by catching Gomez in the face as he heads in the air. Probably not the wisest move when you're on a yellow card, but the referee decides a free kick is punishment enough!

67 minCatania show some signs of life at the other end as Savic is forced to stop Bergessio breaking clear out wide, but Pizarro gets his side into trouble as he falls over looking for a free kick on the touchline. The referee doesn't buy it and gives the visitors a corner kick, which Aquilani heads away to safety.

69 minSUBSTITUTION: Cuadrado launches another superb drive inside for La Viola, flicking inside Tachtsidis before passing forward to Rossi. His shot straight into Andujar's arms is the Italian's last involvement of the night, with Ilicic coming on in his place for a home debut.

72 minValero finds some space after being played inside by Ilicic, but fails to find the target with a scuffed shot from 20 yards. Catania have scarcely threatened but are still within touching distance as we head into the final 20 minutes. Surely time for Maran to consider positive changes as Tachtsidis smashes over from distance.

74 minGomez's frustrations continue as he hits a half-volley wide from eight yards. In fairness Pasqual's cross was always behind him, with the German international having to check back off-balance to screw beyond the near post under pressure.

76 minYELLOW CARD! Savic's slack pass inside puts Fiorentina under pressure in their half, forcing Pizarro into a cynical foul that earns the veteran midfielder a caution. From the resulting free kick Barrientos curls towards the far post, but the ball just runs beyond Spolli's late run.

79 minSUBSTITUTION: Fiorentina give a home debut to summer signing Marcos Alonso, with the former Bolton utility-man replacing Pasqual. A slightly conservative change for Montella, who looks to protect the home side's narrow advantage.

81 minCuadrado is chopped down yet again as he looks to drive inside, but this time Castro is the guilty part. Ilicic receives the quick free-kick and drives at goal from 20 yards, forcing Andujar to hold under pressure.

84 minDOUBLE SUB! The home crowd are livid as Bellusci is given a free kick after seemingly running into Alonso after getting caught turning inside. Before the freekick can be taken the visitors make a double change. Tachtsidis and Leto are off, with club captain Biagianti and Maxi Lopez brought on.

87 minFiorentina make their final change as Fernandez is brought on to provide fresh legs in midfield, replacing Aquilani who has worked hard his evening. Just a few minutes for La Viola to hold on now, as Borja Valero calmly retains possession before feeding Cuadrado out wide.

89 minFernandez follows up Ilicic's blocked shot to win a corner kick for the hosts, running down the clock as we head towards stoppage time. Valero sends the cross into the penalty area as Andujar comes but fails to take, with Catania just scrambling clear as Gomez shuts his eyes inside the six-yard box. It has not been the German's night on his home debut.

90 min+1The referee seems to change his mind under pressure from Catania coach Maran, awarding a free kick for Savic's sliding tackle on Barrientos near the touchline. The Argentine gets up to take the free kick, but Alonso is just able to beat Lopez to the ball and smash clear. We will have three minutes of added time!

90 min+3Fiorentina break in the final minute as Ilicic slides towards Gomez in the box, but the cross is just too long. Cuadrado then does brilliantly to chase the ball down near the corner flag, holding up play before drawing a foul from Cuadrado. Andujar was livid with the decision and takes out his anger on the official, getting a late booking for dissent.

9.40pmFULL-TIME Fiorentina 2-1 Catania

9.42pmAll over in Tuscany and Fiorentina hold out for an opening-day win they fully deserve. Pizarro's thunderous drive proved the difference, with Catania unable to force a response despite improving in the second half.

9.46pmAnd with that a packed first weekend of action from Serie A drawns to a close. Thanks for joining us at Sports Mole and be sure to check back in throughout the week for comprehensive coverage of news from all of Europe's top leagues. Goodnight!

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Sergio Almiron celebrates scoring for Catania on November 18, 2012
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