ACF Fiorentina have qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the second successive season after coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Sporting Clube de Portugal, going through on the away-goals rule.
Following a 2-2 draw in last week's first leg in Lisbon, Sporting knew they had to score to progress. João Moutinho did just that with a trademark free-kick ten minutes before the break, but the introduction of Stevan Jovetić changed the face of the game and the Montenegrin international levelled soon after coming on. The Viola were the better side after that and held on to go into the hat for Thursday's group-stage draw.
After a tense opening spell, the game sparked into life when Adrian Mutu had a shot blocked as he tried his luck from just outside the box. At the other end Yannick Djaló somehow contrived to drag a fine chance wide after being put through on goal, and the 23-year-old's darting runs were to prove a major factor in the first half, stretching Fiorentina's back four to their limit. However, for all their possession, Sporting could not make it count. It was no real surprise, therefore, that the opening goal came from a set-piece after Yannick was caught by Riccardo Montolivo on the edge of the box. Sporting skipper Moutinho curled a fine free-kick around the wall and beyond Sébastien Frey.
Fiorentina continued to look disjointed leading up to the break, prompting coach Cesare Prandelli to bring on Jovetić in place of Massimo Gobbi and allowing Mutu to play in a more advanced role. The Viola immediately looked confident and sharp, creating a succession of chances. The equaliser came in the 54th minute when Jovetić picked up Alberto Gilardino's cross, shrugged off his marker and hit an angled shot past Rui Patrício from just inside the box.
With Cristiano Zanetti doing a good job anchoring the midfield, Fiorentina began to turn the pressure up. Juan Manuel Vargas and Jovetić ran at the Lions defence from the left, while Mutu and Gilardino linked up well through the middle. The latter came close to wrapping things up late on, only to nudge a Vargas cross wide. Sporting could make no further inroads and will enter the UEFA Europa League group-stage draw; Fiorentina return to Europe's top table.