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Fiorentina rounded off their UEFA Europa Conference League Group A campaign with a 3-0 victory over FK Rīgas Futbola Skola, though it wasn’t enough to knock İstanbul Başakşehir’s off top spot and avoid a play-off match against one of the eight sides dropping down from the UEFA Europa League.
La Viola’s progression to the knockout stages was already assured, but first place in the group would be theirs if they could better Başakşehir’s result against Hearts. Fiorentina started like a house on fire, with Riccardo Saponara’s delivery headed home at the near post by Antonín Barák, although by that point their Turkish rivals were in front themselves. The hosts looked like they could score at will, with only RFS goalkeeper Pāvels Šteinbors keeping RFS in the game as he produced a smart stop to deny Jonathan Ikoné.
However, despite Šteinbors’ best efforts, he couldn’t stop the Italian outfit from racing into a three-goal lead at the interval. First, Arthur Cabral poked home Barák’s flick from Lorenzo Venuti’s delivery, before Saponara thundered a 30-yard effort beyond Šteinbors to effectively end the game as a contest before HT. In truth, Fiorentina’s work was done in the first half, and with Başakşehir’s 2-0 lead in the group’s other game making them unattainable, Vincenzo Italiano was able to shuffle his pack and rest some legs before Sunday’s game against Sampdoria.
Although Fiorentina’s victory would’ve been even more emphatic had Luka Jović converted a one-on-one, RFS did produce a late spell of pressure as they looked to make the scoreline more respectable. Pietro Terracciano was largely untested throughout between the Fiorentina sticks, but he had to be alert to deny Žiga Lipušček and preserve his clean sheet. Defeat brings the curtain down on a winless group campaign for RFS, while Fiorentina have a couple of months to prepare for the knockout rounds.