Coppa Italia, Round of 16
Returning from the Winter Break, the Coppa Italia has thrown up an interesting last 16 tie as Fiorentina take on Torino, a club their supporters are “twinned” with. That often leads to a strange, muted atmosphere inside the ground, yet this fixture offers both teams a chance to progress to the quarterfinals.
Separated by just one point in the Serie A table, tenth-placed Fiorentina should have no fear about a visit to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin, the side directly above them in the table only winning one of their last six meetings.
Former Watford boss Walter Mazzarri has been praised for his work with the Granata since taking charge just over a year ago, his tactics rapidly improving their defence and making them a tough proposition for opponent. His 3-5-2 formation has seen striker Andrea Belotti slowly rediscover his scoring touch and the club Captain has already bagged seven goals this term to make him Torino’s leading scorer once again.
The Viola will hope the arrival of former Sampdoria forward Luis Muriel can help their own spluttering attack, the Colombian sure to to provide both tutelage and direct competition for Giovanni Simeone. With just two goals to his name since the end of September, the Argentina international is certainly in need of both, and the duo could both be named in Stefano Pioli’s starting lineup here.
That XI is also set to contain Federico Chiesa, who is exactly the type of winger Torino have struggled to contain this season, with Fiorentina’s full-backs also likely to find plenty of space to push forward. Cristiano Biraghi and Nikola Milenkovic have both shown their quality this term, and they could well be key to securing progress for Pioli’s side into the next round with a good performance against a team looking to eliminate them.
“They are going to be difficult, but we have generally done well against the bigger clubs and have no reason to be afraid,” Torino winger Iago Falque said in an interview with Sky Italia earlier this week. “The Coppa Italia against Fiorentina will be like a final for us, as we really want to progress.”
Torino (3-5-2): Salvador Ichazo; Armando Izzo, Nicolas N’Koulou, Kofi Djidji; Lorenzo De Silvestri, Soualiho Meité, Tomas Rincon, Daniele Baselli, Ola Aina; Iago Falque, Andrea Belotti
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Alban Lafont; Vincent Laurini, Nikola Milenkovic, Vitor Hugo, Cristiano Biraghi; Edimilson Fernandes, Jordan Veretout, Marco Benassi; Federico Chiesa, Giovanni Simeone, Kevin Mirallas
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