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Fiorentina pull the rug from under Pandurii

CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu 1-2 ACF Fiorentina
Ryder Matos and Borja Valero struck late on to propel the Viola into the round of 32 and eliminate their Romanian hosts.

Borja Valero (left) and Ryder Matos celebrate Fiorentina's victory in Romania
Borja Valero (left) and Ryder Matos celebrate Fiorentina's victory in Romania ©AFP/Getty Images

Juan Cuadrado laid on goals for Ryder Matos and Borja Valero late on as ACF Fiorentina confirmed their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and brought an end to CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu's hopes of getting through Group E.

Matos had the simple task of directing the ball into the net on 85 minutes after Cuadrado's ball from the right took a telling nudge into his path, with Borja Valero's trundling strike in added time adding insult to injury. It was a cruel double blow for European debutants Pandurii, after Eric Pereira's extraordinary 32nd-minute opener had given them some hope of having something to play for on matchday five.

The first notable incident of the game came on 24 minutes, when injured Pandurii goalkeeper Răzvan Stanca had to make way for Pedro Mingote, but that was soon forgotten when Eric Pereira met Alin Buleică's cross from the left with an enthusiastic scissor kick, and the ball looped into Gustavo Munúa's net. It was a significant deviation from the script, and had he showed more composure when Pandurii surged forward four minutes later, the Brazilian might have made it 2-0.

Shaken but not overly rattled, Fiorentina roared back into the game after the break, Alberto Aquilani sending a dipping shot over the crossbar before substitute Valero missed the target with only the goalkeeper to beat after a ball dropped invitingly at his feet. Nonetheless, salvation seemed to be in sight for Pandurii until Matos intervened, and while Mingote made a brilliant save to fend away a powerful Valero shot soon afterwards, the Spaniard's added-time strike gave him the last word.

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