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Bernardeschi puts brake on Tottenham in draw

Fiorentina 1-1 Tottenham
The Viola were grateful to Federico Bernardeschi for rescuing them a draw after Spurs had led through Nacer Chadli's first-half penalty.

Highlights: Fiorentina 1-1 Tottenham

Nacer Chadli puts Tottenham in front from penalty spot in 37th minute
Fiorentina without shot on target in first half
Federico Bernardeschi brings Fiorentina level with 30-metre strike close to hour
Like last year, this repeat tie goes into second leg tied at 1-1
Unlike 12 months ago, return leg takes place at White Hart Lane on 25 February

Fiorentina and Tottenham Hotspur are back where they were a year ago after sharing a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie for the second season running.

Tottenham were quicker to settle with Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli tying the Viola defence in knots as they looked intently for the killer ball. It was Christian Eriksen who found that space for the first effort on goal midway through the first half, but Ciprian Tătăruşanu raised his arms to turn it behind.

The pressure grew and Fiorentina capitulated only moments after their first opening had been squandered by Mauro Zárate. Nenad Tomović fouled Ben Davies inside the penalty area, with Nacer Chadli sending Tătăruşanu the wrong way to give Spurs their reward.

Son had a goal ruled out for offside early in a second period which saw the hosts gain more of the possession yet struggle to make much of it. Chadli brought a fine save out of Tătăruşanu down at his near post and there was little to suggest an equaliser would come – until it actually did.

Federico Bernardeschi, who had seemed a little lost out wide, found some rare room in the centre and that was his invitation for a 30-metre shot that looped over Michel Vorm and grazed the underside of the crossbar on its way in.

Efforts from Harry Kane and Bernardeschi followed before Gonzalo Rodríguez headed wide, with nothing between these teams once again after the first 90 minutes.

Struggling to deal with Dele
Midfielder Alli was the man Tottenham were looking for all the time – but he was somewhat harder for Fiorentina to keep tabs on. The 19-year-old's excellent close control and trickery was confounding the Viola, all the while creating space for his team-mates as he drew opponents towards him.

Bernardeschi on Conte's radar
Bernardeschi is one player being monitored by Italy coach Antonio Conte for eventual inclusion in his UEFA EURO 2016 squad, and this was a perfect moment for him to impress. With Conte watching from the stands, the 22-year-old showed with his spectacular goal why he is earning rave reviews this season – and inviting Conte's attention.

Rankings race
With Italy's Serie A pursuing England's Premier League in UEFA's rankings, this fixture had extra significance. A repeat of last term's European club competition results would see Serie A snatch an additional UEFA Champions League berth off the Premier League from 2017/18. This draw was therefore a missed opportunity for Fiorentina to help bridge that gap, or for Spurs to make it wider.