Vlahovic’s Franchi return
A hostile homecoming was expected for Dusan Vlahovic on Wednesday night, and the Fiorentina supporters, excluding the inexplicable racism, did not disappoint.
The atmosphere was electric inside the Artemio Franchi as a cultured set of fans set about making life miserable for their former marksman. They depicted the Vlahovic’s treason committed by comparing him to Bocca degli Abati, who betrayed the Guelphs at the Battle of Montaperti in 1260.
Chants that recited lines from The Supreme Poet, Dante Alighieri, highlight just how well-orchestrated the performance of the Curva Fiesole was. Their work was as meticulously considered as Italiano’s press.
Throughout the contest, any erroneous touch from Vlahovic was celebrated like a goal by the raucous home support. The 10,000 whistles distributed to fans worked their magic as the Franchi faithful went about disrupting Juventus “psychologically”.
Vlahovic was undoubtedly unsettled and he wasn’t helped by the performance of most of his teammates, who succumbed to the unrelenting pressure of the hosts. The 22-year-old was left on an island against the über aggressive Nikola Milenkovic and less proficient Igor. Vlahovic had some success against the latter and his only sniff of goal on Wednesday came after he beat the Brazilian to a hopeful ball in behind before his attempted lob was well sniffed out by Pietro Terraciano.
Overall, his performance was admirable considering the context and he certainly had more joy as the game wore on with the hosts’ intensity fading. Vlahovic wasn’t fazed but he’ll be pleased that he got this one out of the way and, in the end, it was he who had the last laugh as the Franchi fell silent at the death.