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A 2-2 draw at Sporting Clube de Portugal represented a fine result for ACF Fiorentina, with Cristiano Zanetti telling uefa.com the start of the Serie A season will make his side even sharper next week.
While Juan Manuel Vargas gave Fiorentina an early lead, they were
pegged back by goals from Simon Vukčević and Miguel Veloso, before Alberto Gilardino struck to leave the UEFA Champions League tie slanted in the Italian side's favour when the play-off concludes in Florence. Midfielder Zanetti also feels that his side will be even sharper at the Artemio Franchi Stadium.
The Italian season kicks off at the weekend, and the 32-year-old – newly returned to Fiorentina after a 13-year absence – told uefa.com: "That could be a great help for us as we didn't have their pace for sure. With Saturday's match we will have 90 more minutes in our legs and that will be positive for the return match. The first leg was even in terms of chances but I think Fiorentina deserved the draw."
Goalscorer Gilardino agreed: "Sporting had some good movements in the first half but didn't really cause us big problems. In the second half we were a little withdrawn; we let them play too much. In the last 20 minutes we showed that we are a great team and, with Sporting playing with ten men, we created four or five chances that could have completely killed the game. "
Moment of madness
Sporting found themselves a man down after Vukčević received his second booking of the night for removing his shirt while celebrating his 58th-minute equaliser. Captain João Moutinho went easy on the Montenegrin, saying: "These things happen in moments of euphoria. We don't have to make anyone feel guilty. We have to congratulate the whole team as we played a great game. It's not over yet. We have shown that we can go to Florence and settle this tie."
Brazilian right-back Pedro Silva will have more reason than most to battle in the second leg having taken the blame for conceding Vargas's opener, with the Peruvian beating him before firing past Rui Patrício. "Things are complicated now but we have keep our heads up," said the 28-year-old. "Fiorentina are an excellent team but we played well and that the tie is wide open for the second leg."
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