Primavera beat Perugia to qualify for Viareggio Cup last 16


Federico Guidi’s Fiorentina Primavera side beat Perugia 2-1 in their final group match of the Viareggio Cup on Sunday to qualify for the Round of 16, where they will face Sassuolo.

The Viola had two goals chalked off for offside in the first half, with neither side able to break the deadlock before the break.

Fiorentina continued to push after half time, with Guidi’s men again seeing a goal ruled out before hitting the post from a corner.  The breakthrough finally came on 69 minutes, as Gaetano Castrovilli smashed home a fine effort from the left-hand side of the box.

There was trouble ahead, however, as Perugia drew level just five minutes later after Daniel Manga pounced on a loose ball in the Viola box to stab home.

As the minutes ticked by it looked as if Fiorentina might have to settle for a draw, but on 90 minutes Gabriele Gori jinked through the Perugia defence to poke the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net.

After the game, coach Federico Guidi praised his side’s performance.

"The lads did very well," he began. "I don’t think the scoreline does us justice because we hit the woodwork three times and had three goals disallowed. We created a lot and there were only a couple of times where they threatened. In the first half we lost the ball in midfield and they were able to break, then just after we took the lead they scored from a corner.

"It looked like it just wasn’t going to be our day but I have to hand it to the lads – they kept it going and showed real quality. We kept Perugia camped into their half and created lots of chances. We’re delighted."
Guidi also hailed the way his team have improved with each match of their Viareggio Cup campaign.

"We’ve been getting better and better since the start of the tournament," he said. "Our performance today was a step up from the match against the Nigerian outfit so that shows we’re on the up. We’ve achieved our minimum objective of qualifying for the knockout stages."

The Viola boss went on to look ahead to the Round of 16 clash with Sassuolo.

"We’re up against Sassuolo, who beat us in the final of the Torneo di Vignola, so we know they have good pedigree and are aiming high," he admitted. "They brought in [Gianluca] Scamacca in January – he’s a top player. It’ll be a great match but we need to keep improving like we have done today. If we play well, we have a better chance of progressing in the tournament."

Guidi also stressed that his side are looking to go all the way in this year’s tournament.

"We’ve always said that we want to achieve big things," he declared. "As I’ve said, we’ve raised our game each time we’ve played so far. I think the team did really well today. We want to keep doing what we’re doing so that we can play a big role in the tournament. We know we’re going to face some big teams now and that’ll be very tough. It will come down to the tiny details so we need to be fully focused."

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