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Two first-half strikes by Stevan Jovetić earned ACF Fiorentina a memorable victory against Liverpool FC and their first points in UEFA Champions League Group E
Without the suspended Alberto Gilardino, the weight of the Italian side's attacking expectations rested on the Montenegrin's young shoulders. The 19-year-old responded superbly, beating the offside trap and Pepe Reina on 28 minutes and then, before half-time, turning Juan Vargas's driven cross past the Spanish goalkeeper.
The opening exchanges were tentative, two packed midfields taking their time to feel each other out, but the match sprang to life on the quarter-hour mark when Jovetić raced on to a fine through-ball by Riccardo Montolivo down the left. The No8 reached the area but as he shaped to shoot Martin Škrtel made a crucial covering tackle. The visitors failed to clear the ensuing corner and Jovetić's inviting cross was met by a spectacular Marco Marchionni scissor-kick which fizzed narrowly over.
Marchionni caused Liverpool problems throughout with his pace and movement and was at the hub of all things Viola, for whom Cristiano Zanetti and Montolivo were also laying down a marker in midfield. Another move instigated by Marchionni resulted in Jovetić chancing his arm from distance. On that occasion the forward's aim was awry, but just before the half-hour it was true as Cristiano Zanetti picked out the teenager, played onside by Emiliano Insúa, who rolled the ball past Reina.
Liverpool charged forward in a bid to end the sustained pressure but that only left them exposed at the back, Montolivo finding the room to play a diagonal pass to Vargas, who, in spite of an unfavourable angle, forced a fine save out of Reina with a vicious 20-metre shot. Perhaps buoyed by that effort, the home side were celebrating a second goal eight minutes before the interval. Another fine run and cross by Marchionni down the right was headed into the path of Vargas by Škrtel and the Peruvian's fierce centre was expertly flicked in by Jovetić.
Liverpool began the second half with purpose, producing three goal attempts within five minutes of the restart. Yossi Benayoun led the charge, testing Sébastien Frey at his near post after anticipating Gianluca Comotto's misplaced header. Lucas sent a thudding header over a minute later and Frey saved from Dirk Kuyt as the Premier League side took the game to the Viola.
As the half wore on the pressure increased, Torres denied twice by the determined Alessandro Gamberini, one a last-ditch tackle in the area which demanded precision timing. The striker sent another other opportunity over the bar after meeting Škrtel's right-wing cross first time, and with it went Liverpool's slender hopes of a comeback as they lost in the group stage for the first time since October 2007 and a 2-1 defeat by Beşiktaş JK.
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