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A look at our opponents- Fiorentina

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A look at our opponents- Fiorentina

Three decades  after their most recent European final appearance Рa defeat to Serie A rivals Juventus in the 1990 UEFA Cup showpiece РFiorentina will become the first club to feature in all four UEFA club competition finals when they stride out on Wednesday night.

Vincenzo Italiano’s men will also follow in the footsteps of Viola sides that have featured in the European Cup and Cup-Winners’ Cup deciders, having forged their own path to Prague in impressive style this season.

Comfortably the Europa Conference League’s leading scorers, Fiorentina have racked up some 36 goals in 14 games during the process – nine more than second-ranked West Ham, albeit having played two more matches.

With Brazilian striker Arthur Cabral setting the pace on seven strikes so far, 21 of those goals were scored away from home, and the Viola have netted at least three times on each of their last six European road trips; winning on each occasion.

The Tuscan club have actually lost three matches already: finishing runners-up in Group A, before brushing aside Braga, Sivasspor and Lech Poznan to make the semi-finals, where Basel lay in wait.

It took extra time to see off the stubborn Swiss side, and Antonin Barak’s late winner helped avoid the lottery of penalties; setting up the chance to become Italy’s second successive Conference League winners.

By rallying towards the end of their domestic season, Fiorentina finished eighth in Serie A when the campaign concluded last weekend, and a run of three wins from four ended with Friday’s 3-1 win at Sassuolo.

Nevertheless, only if Juventus are ultimately banned from UEFA competition will the Viola qualify for more European football next term, so with Wednesday’s winners gaining direct entry to the 2023-24 Europa League group stage, the stakes are even higher when they meet West Ham.

While Italiano has been lauded for introducing a slick style of play and reviving Fiorentina’s flagging fortunes, the pressure is now on to secure silverware for a club whose last major trophy was the Coppa Italia of 2001. Failure in this year’s cup final versus Inter saw one shot at glory come to nothing, so everything now rides on the season finale.

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