Five things you need to know about Fiorentina v Udinese

1) The first meeting between Fiorentina and Udinese in Serie A dates back to 14 January 1951. It finished 1-1 with Sperotto giving the Viola the lead (63) before Forlani levelled for the visitors (67).

Prior to that, there had only been one Fiorentina v Udinese fixture, in Serie B, on 21 December 1930 – the same season the Viola earned promotion to Serie A for the first time. Fiorentina won 3-2 thanks to goals by Moretti and Sardoz (2), while Fornarola and Modotti (penalty) scored for the Friulians.

2) Fiorentina recorded their first top-flight victory over Udinese on 15 February 1953, when Magnini struck an 85th-minute winner for Fulvio Bernardini's side.

The Viola won by the same scoreline the last time Udinese visited the Franchi, on 2 September 2018: Marco Benassi notched the only goal from Federico Chiesa's brilliant assist.

Of the 43 total matches played in Florence, the Viola have won 28, drawn 10 and lost five, scoring 93 and conceding 40.

Fiorentina have actually beaten Udinese at the Franchi in each of the last 11 seasons, starting with a 4-2 success on 22 November 2008 – their longest winning streak against any team in Serie A. The Viola's previous longest winning run against a single side was 10, against Avellino, between 1978/79 and 1987/88.

3) Udinese's visits to Florence have proved to be a good omen for Giancarlo Antognoni over the years. The former Viola skipper only scored three headed goals in his entire career but two of them came against Udinese at the Stadio Franchi: the first in Fiorentina 1-1 Udinese (Antognoni 77, Gerolin 84) on 1 March 1981 and the second in Fiorentina 1-0 Udinese (again scoring in the 77th minute) on 20 April 1986.

Antognoni's only other headed goal came in the middle against another team in black and white, Juventus, in a 3-3 draw on 27 November 1983.

4) Friuli-Venezia Giulia has produced many great players and coaches down the years – Dino Zoff, Tarcisio Burgnich, Fabio Capello, Enzo Bearzot and Nereo Rocco, to name but a few.

However, the most noteworthy as far as Fiorentina and Udinese are concerned is arguably Giuseppe Virgili, better know as “Pecos Bill” (due to his love for the comic books of the same name).

Virgili was born in Udine on 24 July 1935 and made his Serie A debut with his hometown club in 1953/54, but it wasn't until he joined Fiorentina that he really made a name for himself, scoring 21 goals in 32 games as the Viola's centre forward in the year of our first Scudetto triumph (1955/56). Virgili went on to play for Torino, Bari and Livorno before ending his career at Taranto in 1965/66.

“Pecos Bill” also played seven times for Italy, famously scoring a brace in a 3-0 win against Brazil on 25 April 1956. He died in Florence on 10 June 2016 at the age of 81.

5) One of the most memorable Fiorentina v Udinese fixtures is undoubtedly the Viola's 1-0 win on 4 October 1998, partly because it was the inimitable Edmundo who grabbed the winner in the 92nd minute, partly because the driving rain made the occasion all the more epic, and partly because it was the Viola's fourth straight victory at the start of the season after Empoli, Vicenza and AC Milan, meaning they topped the table on 12 points after four games, ahead of Inter (10), AC Milan and Juventus (9).

Fiorentina have only won their first four league matches one other time, in 1969/70, the year after our second Scudetto.

Published: Fri, 04 Oct 2019 11:33:00 +0200

Source: Fiorentina Official website