Preview: Cremonese vs. Fiorentina

Preview: Cremonese vs. Fiorentina

As the Coppa Italia reaches its semi-final stage, underdogs Cremonese seek to continue their superb run by taking a first-leg lead against Fiorentina on Wednesday.

Having seen off Napoli and Roma on their way to the final four, the Serie A strugglers now welcome the in-form Viola to Stadio Giovanni Zini.

Only the second team since 2004 to go without a win during the first half of a Serie A season, and even now with just one league victory to their name, it is fair to say that Cremonese’s top-flight comeback has not exactly gone to plan.

After more than two decades away, the Lombardy club returned to the big time last summer, but following Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Atalanta they are 12 points adrift of safety with 10 games left to play.

Still rooted to the bottom of the table, a quick return to the second tier beckons, but they can at least take pride in their cup run so far: after wins over Ternana and Modena in the earlier rounds, beating an under-strength Napoli in Davide Ballardini’s first match in charge set up a quarter-final tie with Roma.

The Grigiorossi then pulled off another memorable shock at Stadio Olimpico, as a Cyriel Dessers penalty set them on the way to a win which secured a place in the Coppa Italia semi-finals against all the odds.

A few weeks later, Cremonese’s only Serie A success followed against the same opposition – this time at Stadio Zini – but they have picked up just one point from four subsequent fixtures.

Indeed, in mid-March, Ballardini’s men succumbed 2-0 to Fiorentina on home turf, and they must surely improve on that result this week to keep dreams alive of claiming the club’s first Coppa Italia.

While their hosts have never before tasted glory in Italy’s national cup competition, Fiorentina are six-time winners of the trophy – though the last such success came back in 2001.

In this year’s quarter-finals, Vincenzo Italiano’s side progressed past a Torino team that had turned over Milan in the previous round, at a time when a run of one win from six had sent them spiralling down the Serie A standings.

Amid the chronic inconsistency which had characterised Italiano’s second season in charge, Fiorentina’s 2022-23 campaign therefore seemed set to be defined by cup competitions, yet a recent turnaround in Serie A has carried them into the top half of the table.

Not only are they contesting the Coppa semis and a Europa Conference League quarter-final in the coming weeks, but Saturday’s 1-0 win at Inter – when Giacomo Bonaventura turned in the decisive goal early in the second half – sees them back in the conversation for more European football next term.

All told, the Viola’s streak stands at a total of eight straight wins ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Cremona, and they will certainly start as favourites to meet either Juventus or Inter in the final.

The Tuscan club’s last major silverware came with that Coppa Italia triumph 22 years ago, and after being eliminated by Juve in the semis last year they will not want to come up short again by becoming Cremonese’s latest cup victims.

Cremonese Coppa Italia form:

Cremonese form (all competitions):

Fiorentina Coppa Italia form:

Fiorentina form (all competitions):

We say: Cremonese 1-2 Fiorentina
With their confidence sapped still further by a 17th Serie A defeat of the season, Cremonese may find it hard to resist Italy’s most in-form side on Wednesday.

Fiorentina’s surge since losing back-to-back league games in February has been nothing short of spectacular, and they can set themselves up with a first-leg lead ahead of the return in Florence later this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *