Fading Fiorentina face Juventus triple header

Fiorentina’s initially promising season has run into difficulties in the last two months and may be about to get a lot worse as they face a triple header against runaway Serie A leaders Juventus, according to Reuters.Beset by injuries and bogged down in a controversy over referees, Fiorentina face the daunting prospect of a trip on Sunday (1130 GMT) to Juve who have a 100 percent home record in the league and are 11 points clear at the top, says thestar.com.

After that, they must face Antonio Conte’s side twice more in a Europa League round of 16 tie.

It is probably the last thing coach Vincenzo Montella wants as he battles to keep his side in the race for a third place finish in Serie A which would earn a place in next season’s Champions League final qualifying round.

Fiorentina, who memorably beat Juventus 4-2 at home in October to hand the leaders their only league defeat so far, have managed only two wins in their last eight games and suffered to a shock 1-0 home defeat against Lazio on Sunday.

Their slump has followed a knee injury to forward Giuseppe Rossi, who was Serie A’s leading scorer with 14 goals until he limped out of the 1-0 win over Livorno in the first game of the New Year.

That came on top of an injury to striker Mario Gomez, who is now back to fitness but is still struggling to re-find his prolific scoring form, something the former Bayern Munich forward warned would take time.

“Everyone thinks that when I come on as a substitute, I’m going to score two goals but it’s not like that,” the German told reporters.

“I need to have patience, I lack match practice, I need to play and get some minutes under my belt.”

Gomez also said that Fiorentina, rather than a place in Germany’s World Cup squad, was his priority.

“I haven’t thought about Brazil. I want to qualify for the Champions League with my team mates, I want to win the Coppa Italia and I want to play more games in the Europa League,” he said.

A further problem for Fiorentina is that they have also lost playmaker Borja Valero to a four-match suspension after he was sent off against Parma and then accused of pushing the referee, something the Spaniard vehemently denies.

That decision brought Fiorentina’s anger with refereeing decisions to a head. Their discontent goes back to the final day of last season when they were denied a place in the Champions League playoffs by AC Milan who controversially won their final game 2-1 at Siena.

Fiorentina fans boycotted the first 10 minutes of the Lazio game in protest while Montella met Italian referee boss Marcello Nicchi this week to air his grievances.

“The important thing is that everyone remains civil, respectful and that it reflects the mentality of the city of Florence,” said sporting director Daniele Prade.

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