The last two days haven’t been the best for Italian soccer. After Juventus defeated Real Madrid 2-1 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday brought some bad news. The 1st leg of Europa League semi-finals took place on Thursday, with both Napoli and Fiorentina in action. Fiorentina travelled to Sevilla while Napoli hosted Dnipro at the San Paolo.
La Viola definitely had a night to forget. They lost to Sevilla 3-0; a stunning result and perhaps not truly indicative of play on the field. Montella’s side created a handful of great chances in the first half but their finishing was very poor. Mario Gomez, Mohamed Salah and Mati Fernandez all missed golden chances. That came back to hurt Fiorentina as they let up 3 goals against an attack-minded Sevilla side. It will certainly be a very difficult hole for Fiorentina to dig themselves out of.
Napoli will also be upset with their result. As strong favorites to beat the Ukrainians, Rafa Benitez’s side will be disappointed they drew 1-1. Napoli controlled almost the entire match, with Dnipro content playing with 10 men behind the ball. Napoli finally found the breakthrough in the 50th minute as David Lopez headed home a corner kick from Insigne?. Napoli missed several chances to add to their lead. Dnipro goalkeeper Denis Boyko made 6 saves, including 3 great ones against Gonzalo Higuain. In the 80th minute on a surprising attacking play, Dnipro’s Yevhen Seleznyov got on the end of a cross to tie the game. Unfortunately, the assistant referee made a mistake, as Seleznyov was clearly offside. It was a tough break for Napoli who dominated the match but were hard done by a poor officiating decision. Napoli will need to score next week in the return leg in hopes of advancing to the Final.
On Friday, UEFA announced verdicts on a total of 10 clubs who breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. Both Roma and Inter were fined and had their European squads limited.
If they qualify for the Europa League next season, Inter will only be able to name 21 players in their European squad, rather than the usual 25. The following season would see the Nerazzurri limited to 22 players and the restriction will be lifted in the 2017-18 season if certain targets are met. Inter were also fined €20 million but €14 million could possibly be waived if certain objectives are satisfied.
Roma will be limited to a squad of 22 in European competition next season, which would be lifted if they post a loss of €30 million or less for 2015 and 2016. The Giallorossi have also been fined €6 million but €4 million could be waived if certain objectives are met.
Other notable clubs sanctioned were French club AS Monaco, Portuguese club Sporting and Turkish club Beşiktaş.