Magical Mutu takes Fiorentina forward

PSV Eindhoven 0-2 ACF Fiorentina (agg: 1-3)
Adrian Mutu rifled in a brilliant first-half free-kick and scored again after the break to seal a last-four berth.

Adrian Mutu delights in his opening goal
Adrian Mutu delights in his opening goal ©Getty Images

Positive approach
With the Serie A side having to score to stay in the tournament after a 1-1 first-leg draw, they started in an adventurous 4-3-3 formation. This duly paid dividends when Mutu hammered in an unstoppable long-range free-kick seven minutes before half-time. Eight minutes into the second half the Romanian international registered his sixth goal of this UEFA Cup campaign to end any lingering hopes PSV had of mounting a comeback. Sébastien Frey saving Timmy Simons' penalty on 80 minutes summed up what was a frustrating night for Sef Vergoossen's men.

Early chances
The first attempt on goal came from PSV on five minutes, when Danny Koevermans fired in a low drive from outside the box, forcing Frey to make a one-handed save. Fiorentina had an even better opportunity soon after, but the unmarked Alessandro Gamberini headed Mutu's deep cross wide. Ten minutes later Mario Alberto Santana had a clear sight of the PSV goal from near the penalty spot, yet Heurelho Gomes got down smartly to deny the forward.

Evident relief
The visitors were enjoying territorial supremacy, with Mutu in particular seeing a lot of the ball, but the final delivery into the PSV area was often disappointing. However, the Dutch title-holders survived a real scare after 25 minutes when Carlos Salcido diverted a low centre from Riccardo Montolivo fractionally over his own bar to the player's evident relief. Ten minutes later 19-year-old PSV defender Slobodan Rajković made an excellent block on a goalbound shot from Santana.

Marvellous Mutu
On 38 minutes the Viola finally forced the breakthrough. Fabio Liverani rolled a free-kick to Mutu who drilled a marvellous swerving strike into Gomes's top right-hand corner from 20 metres. PSV looked shell-shocked and, at the break, centre-forward Danko Lazović was brought on for the subdued Otman Bakkal. If that was the cue for a second goal, it came at the wrong end for Vergoossen as Fiorentina soon doubled their advantage.

Second goal
Gomes did well to keep out an attempt from Giampaolo Pazzini, who had broken clear, only for Mutu to calmly stroke in the rebound with his left foot from just outside the box, leaving PSV needing to score twice. Claudio Prandelli's men nearly added an instant third but Gomes tipped Montolivo's effort around the post. Minutes later Lazović missed from close range and Gomes also had a miraculous escape when he was caught out by a lob from Marco Donadel but tipped the ball on to the crossbar and then, lying on his back, gathered before Mutu could tap in for his hat-trick.

Penalty save
PSV saw a glimmer of hope with ten minutes remaining when Fiorentina captain Tomáš Ujfaluši was adjudged to have fouled Lazović when going for a Balazs Dzsudzsák cross. But to complete a miserable evening for the Eindhoven side, Simons' spot-kick was saved by Frey. Fiorentina now face Rangers FC, although an early booking means Donadel will be suspended for the first leg of the rematch of the inaugural UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final from 47 years ago, on 24 April at Ibrox.

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