Fiorentina's Conundrum: Is It Better Winning Ugly Or Losing In Style?

Giancarlo RinaldiCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2010

FLORENCE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 21: Alberto Gilardino of ACF Fiorentina battles for the ball against Dario Knezevic of AS Livorno during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and AS Livorno Calcio at Stadio Artemio Franchi on February 21, 2010 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

Nobody rises to the top without getting their hands a little dirty.

So Fiorentina should not be ashamed of the manner in which they got a grubby little victory over Livorno at the weekend.

It was nothing to write home about, but at least it was three points which put them back into the top half of the Serie A table.

That just might be a building block toward making something worthwhile out of what remains of this season.

The Viola must have been getting tired of earning lots of praise for their play but coming away empty-handed anyway.

Against Roma most neutrals agreed they overwhelmed the Giallorossi only for Mirko Vucinic to strike and pinch the points at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

And we all know about the travesty which was visited upon Cesare Prandelli's men when they faced Bayern Munich.

It was getting to feel like the fates had it in for the boys in purple.

On Sunday afternoon, the game looked to be following a familiar script.

Fiorentina tried to make the play while their visitors were happy to try to strike on the break. Eventually, a low Nelson Rivas free-kick delivered a lead to Livorno and a lot of heads were hanging as the Viola headed to the dressing room at half time.

This was a key moment of the season.

Defeat would have left the Tuscan side closer to relegation than the last Champions League berth in fourth place.

It was time to roll up the sleeves and get a result by whatever means possible.

Nobody is more determined in that regard than Peruvian battler Juan Manuel Vargas and it was no surprise when he struck a piledriver to level the scores.

Then Fiorentina got another welcome tonic.

Alberto Gilardino rose in the box to guide home a beautiful header and break his goal drought which stretched back to the beginning of January.

He was submerged by celebrating teammates.

When the final whistle blew, it seemed the whole side recognised it had not been a vintage performance.

They have played better in the past and came away with nothing.

This was a game of nasty, niggling fouls and a few contentious decisions which could have gone either way.

For once this season it went in Fiorentina's favour.

It is all well and good getting praise for your intrepid and enterprising play, but it is not much use if you can't get the results.

Sebastien Frey and company got an important win against Livorno but now they face a few key matches in the weeks ahead.

They will catch up their Serie A fixture with Milan this Wednesday and a couple of weeks after that Bayern Munich come to town.

In an ideal world, they would like to play some of their best football and win both games.

But in Italy, the ultimate land of sporting pragmatism, they would surely settle for another two victories in whatever manner they might be achieved.


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