Thursday, June 20, 2024

Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors´ slim European hopes alive

SoccerNews in Serie A 17 May 2024

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Dethroned Italian champions Napoli’s hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M’Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece’s Olympiakos on May 29.

Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

Data Debrief

Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) – now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton – as the most across Europe’s top five leagues in that period.

Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

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