Adrian Mutu earned ACF Fiorentina a slender advantage over Rosenborg BK in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 as his first-half strike secured a 1-0 win to take back to Florence for the second leg in a week's time.
If much of the pre-match talk had surrounded the in-form Giampaolo Pazzini, celebrating his 100th game for the Viola, strike partner Mutu was not to be eclipsed. Back from a knee injury, the Romanian international struck the only goal on 16 minutes, dispatching the loose ball after Rune Almenning Jarstein had saved a Massimo Gobbi shot. It was reward for a vibrant start by the visitors, but they could not find a second as Rosenborg escaped with a narrow deficit.
Fiorentina may yet rue their inability to kill the tie off although coach Cesare Prandelli could not fault his side's endeavour. The match was less than a minute old when Franco Semioli's dangerous corner forced Vadim Demidov to clear off his line, then it took a brave block from Andreas Nordvik to deny Martin Jørgensen. The pressure soon told, however, as Mutu made it 1-0. Pazzini may be making the headlines but the former Juventus man has hardly lost his touch either – this his ninth goal in his last nine games in all competitions for the Viola.
Mutu might have doubled the advantage two minutes later when he sent a free-kick the wrong side of the upright, before he blazed another effort over the bar. Zdravko Kuzmanović was similarly impressive for the Serie A outfit, if equally profligate, and the visitors had reason to be grateful to goalkeeper Sébastien Frey who twice denied Marek Sapara with notable stops.
Although Fiorentina continued to dominate, aside from a long-range Mutu attempt they struggled to fashion clear chances and were almost left to regret their wastefulness. Substitute Didier Konan Ya shot narrowly wide for the Norwegian club, while Sapara saw his strike saved. Then, with eight minutes left, Konan Ya came within a whisker of equalising, rattling the post as Fiorentina resisted the late rally.