Five things you need to know about Fiorentina v SPAL

Five things you need to know about Fiorentina v SPAL

10/01/2020 16:52

Fiorentina welcome SPAL to the Stadio Artemio Franchi for a Serie A Week 19 clash on Sunday afternoon – and we’ve prepared this collection of five key stats on the game to get you in the mood.

1. Despite the fact that SPAL (which stands for Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor) are one of the oldest clubs in Italy, having been founded in 1907, they have only taken on Fiorentina in Florence on 20 occasions. There have been 18 meetings in Florence in Serie A (10 wins for Fiorentina, two for SPAL and six draws), one in Serie B (a 2-1 win for the Viola in the 1938/39 season) and one in the Divisione Nazionale (a 2-2 draw on the ground in Via Bellini in 1926/27). Fiorentina have the better of the scoring record in Florence, with 30 goals to 12.

2. SPAL have never been easy opposition for Fiorentina. Back on 8 January 1956, at the Stadio Comunale in Florence, Fulvio Bernardini’s Viola – who would go on to clinch their first-ever Scudetto title that year – were held to a 0-0 draw by the Spallini. But SPAL outdid themselves on 26 April 1959 when they won 2-1 in Florence thanks to goals from Roberto Oltremari and Egidio Morbello. Francisco Lojacono scored for the Viola, who were coached at the time by Lajos Czeizler, who oversaw a record-breaking season in which Fiorentina netted 95 times – an unbeaten tally for an 18-team season. Finally, the 0-0 draw on 15 April 2018 was the game that finally put an end to the Viola’s run of six consecutive wins after the death of former captain Davide Astori.

3. Matches between SPAL and Fiorentina have coincided with many notable “first times”. On 13 May 1956, Sergio Carpanesi made his Serie A debut and scored his first top-flight goal as Fiorentina won 1-0 at SPAL. On 7 October 1956, Orlando Rozzoni scored his first Fiorentina goal in a 2-0 home win over SPAL, while Pasquale Cavicchia’s first goal in Serie A came in a 3-1 defeat at SPAL on 1 November 1962. Cavicchia scored again in the same fixture the following season, when Pino Brizi made his Serie A debut and grabbed his first top-flight goal. Bernardo Rogora scored the first of his three goals for the club in a 2-1 win at SPAL on 15 May 1966, while – more recently – Marko Pjaca scored his first and only goal for Fiorentina in the 3-0 home win over SPAL on 22 September 2018.

4. Many of the great coaches of Italian football turned out for SPAL during their playing days. Osvaldo Bagnoli, Fabio Capello, Titta Rota, Luigi Del Neri, Albertino Bigon, G.B. Fabbri, Ottavio Bianchi, Carlo Mazzone, Alberto Cavasin, Edy Reja, Sergio Carpanesi and Egisto Pandolfini all played for SPAL, as did current boss Leonardo Semplici. Born in Florence on 18 July 1967, Semplici previously coached in the Fiorentina youth academy, most notably taking charge of the Primavera squad between 2011/12 and 2013/14. In addition to winning the Primavera Super Cup in 2011, Semplici helped youngsters of the calibre of Khouma Babacar, Federico Bernardeschi, Gianluca Mancini, Alan Empereur, Michele Camporese, Cristiano Piccini, Ryder Matos and Pietro Iemmello reach the first team. Semplici led SPAL to back-to-back promotions from Serie C to Serie A in 2016 and 2017.

5. The latest Fiorentina v SPAL match ended in a comfortable 3-0 win for the Viola on 22 September 2018, with Nikola Milenkovic, Marko Pjajca and Federico Chiesa getting the goals. It was Fiorentina’s fourth match of the season (it would have been the fifth, had the Viola’s opening-day trip to Sampdoria not been postponed by the wake of the Morandi Bridge disaster), with Stefano Pioli’s side making it three wins from four at the start of the campaign.

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