US Cremonese will need to overturn a two-goal deficit to trump ACF Fiorentina for a spot in the Coppa Italia final.

US Cremonese will have their work cut out when they take on ACF Fiorentina in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final clash at the Artemio Franchi Stadium on Thursday night.

La Viola go into the game as favourites after winning the first leg 2-0, leaving Cremonese with a mountain to climb. Should they do so, the Italian minnows will play their first-ever Coppa Italia final. Their best performance in the competition came in the 1992/93 season when they lost out to Torino at the semi-final stage.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, have won the competition six times and are among the more successful teams in the cup’s history. They are favourites to make it to the showpiece event and will be glad to face a team who are not Napoli. The last two times La Viola made it to the final, they had been outdone by the Gli Azzurri on both occasions.

Vincenzo Italiano’s side are going through a rut at the moment, suffering successive losses in all competitions. They are comfortably mid-table and have little to play for in Serie A. It makes sense for them to put all their eggs in the Coppa Italia basket. Winning the tie will also secure them a UEFA Europa League spot for next season.

The same can be said of their opponents who look set to be relegated from the Italian top flight. Cremonese are eight points off safety with seven games left to play. In many ways, the magical cup run has been the highlight of their campaign.

Fiorentina have won all three games against Cremonese this season and will be primed to make it four out of four on the night. The visitors, for their part, will need a miracle. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

ACF Fiorentina

Vincenzo Italiano will be without Giacomo Bonaventura, who joins backup shot-stopper Salvatore Sirigu on the sidelines with an injury. Lorenzo Venuti is suffering from illness and it remains to be seen if he will make the cut for the match.

Fiorentina have an otherwise full squad to choose from for the game. A 4-2-3-1 formation appears to be the flavour of the day as La Viola aims to reach yet another Coppa Italia final. Pietro Terracciano should start in goal as the last line of defence for the home team.

The backline should be a flat four of Dodo, Nikola Milenkovic, Igor Julio and Cristiano Biraghi. Sofyan Amrabat impressed for Morocco at the FIFA World Cup and could be on the move in the summer. He will start in the midfield double pivot alongside Rolando Mandragora. The duo are expected to provide Fiorentina with the base needed to launch offensive operations.

Jonathan Ikone and Riccardo Saponara should provide the width upfront with Antonin Barak playing as the number 10. Arthur Cabral proved himself to be a menace in the first leg and should retain his spot up front. Fiorentina have little need to take risks and can play it safe. Should they open the scoring on the night, it will all but settle the tie.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Terracciano; Dodo, Milenkovic, Igor, Biraghi; Amrabat, Mandragora; Ikone, Barak, Saponara; Cabral

US Cremonese

The minnows’ dream run was cruelly halted in the first leg and they now have a mountain to climb. Davide Ballardini’s men have it all to do in Florence and cannot afford to sit back.

The visitors will need to be brave and take the game to their opponents. Fiorentina are coming off two consecutive losses, one of which saw them throw away a two-goal lead to AC Monza. Cremonese can look to the match for inspiration and hope that lightning indeed strikes twice.

Cremonse will be without defender Emanuel Aiwu who was sent off for a handball in the first leg. With Vlad Chiriches also absent, the backline will be far from full strength for the game. 

A lot will depend on who scores the first goal on the night. Fiorentina doing so will more or less end the tie while Cremonese doing so will make it far more exciting. Ballardini will know what his side is up against and should set them up in a 3-4-1-2 formation.

Marco Carnesecchi should start in goal behind the back three of Luka Lochoshvili, Matteo Bianchetti and Johan Vasquez. Leonardo Sernicola and Emanuele Valeri should act as wing-backs, pushing up and down the flank on the night.

How well the visitors can utilise the flanks depends on the impact the central midfield duo of Marco Benassi and Michele Castagnetti have in the middle of the park. Cristian Buonaiuto should don the number 10’s role and will in all likelihood pull the strings in attack behind Cyriel Dessers and Frank Tsadjout.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Carnesecchi; Vasquez, Bianchetti, Lochoshvili; Sernicola, Benassi, Castagnetti, Valeri; Buonaiuto; Dessers, Tsadjout

ACF Fiorentina vs US Cremonese Coppa Italia Match Preview.

Key Stats

  • Fiorentina have won the Coppa Italia on six occasions, which ranks them fifth on the all-time list of winners.
  • Fiorentina’s most recent Coppa Italia triumph came in the 2000-01 season. They made it to the final in 2012 and 2014, losing on both occasions to Napoli.
  • Cremonese have never won the Coppa Italia. Their best performance in the competition came in the 1992-93 season, when they reached the semi-finals before being eliminated by Torino.
  • Fiorentina and Cremonese have faced each other on four occasions in the Coppa Italia. Fiorentina have won all five meetings between the two sides.
  • The last team that came close to overturning a deficit of two or more than two goals in the semifinal stage was Inter Milan in 2015-16. They lost the first leg 3-0 before winning the second leg with the same scoreline. Unfortunately for the Nerazzurri, they missed out on penalties.

Player to Watch

Sofyan Amrabat

Embed from Getty Images

The Moroccan international is a man in demand and has elevated his game this season. Another stellar performance, this time in the Coppa Italia will certainly work as a positive audition with several European heavyweights keeping watch.

Amrabat’s ability to be the engine in midfield and shut out opposition attacks makes him a key figure within the Fiorentina system. The ability to win the ball back should keep the momentum going in Fiorentina’s favour and let them weather what should be a fast start from Cremonse. There are few better players than Amrabat to take the sting out of the opposition, forcing them to toe the line as Fiorentina set the pace of the match.


ACF Fiorentina 2-1 US Cremonse

Cremonse are likely to give it their all but going into the match with a two-goal deficit is never ideal. Fiorentina have the upper hand in quality as well and are unlikely to be overconfident given their recent reversals. A convincing 2-1 win will see La Viola make it to their 11th Coppa Italia final.

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