85th minute equalizer for the Belgians with McKenzie
Unlucky ending for Fiorentina on the Genk pitch. Ranieri’s two goals were not enough for the Viola to win the first match of the Conference League. In Belgium, it ended 2-2, after the Viola had controlled the entire second half, they conceded the equalizer in the 85th minute. Many changes also in Genk compared to the team that defeated Union Saint-Gilloise in the last Jupiler League match. Up front the news with Fadera in place of Paintsil, absent due to disqualification, to team up with Zeqiri. Italiano, on the other hand, chooses to let seven of the starters seen against Atalanta in the championship take their breath. Between the posts there is Christensen, in defense on the right Kayode finds space with Ranieri central and Biraghi on the left. In the middle of the field Arthur, and up front, with Nico Gonzalez, space for Beltran and Sottil.
Fiorentina scores in the 7th minute: Biraghi passes the flag to Ranieri who, all alone at the far post, heads the ball to give the Viola the lead. However, Genk’s equalizers arrive shortly after. In the 12th minute there was confusion in the Viola area following a free kick from El Khannous, but the fastest was Zeqiri who sent Christensen in from close range to make it 1-1. Sparkling match between two teams who aren’t thinking about defending themselves. And in the 23rd minute Viola are still ahead with Ranieri: Biraghi kicks out, Milenkovic extends to the far post where Ranieri heads again to score his personal brace. The Belgians were close to equalizing in the 35th minute following a totally empty exit from Christensen, with McKenzie anticipating the Viola goalkeeper but missing the target. In the final at Viola’s home ground, Nico Gonzalez’s injury was a concern as he came off at half-time.
In the second half Fiorentina were in constant possession of the ball. The Italian team tries to slow down the game to avoid any flare-ups from the home team. Genk tries but the game is always very fragmented. In the 74th minute the Viola were again dangerous: Ranieri’s tunnel on Heynen and a service to Milenkovic who, however, wasted everything by sending it skyrocketing from inside the area. Missed goal and conceded goal. In the 85th minute Genk equalize: El Khannouss’s corner is cut, McKenzie towers over Duncan and beats Christensen from a few steps away for the final 2-2. In the other Group F match, Ferencvaros, the Italian team’s next opponent, beat Cukaricki 3-1 and is therefore in command ahead of Fiorentina and Genk.