Coppa Italia's semi-finals get their concluded this week, with its second leg ties to separate the finalists.
Fiorentina enjoys the advantage of securing a 2-0 lead against Cremonese. They will be looking to finish the job at Stadio Artemio Franchi this Thursday to face either Juventus or Inter Milan in the Italian Cup finals.
The Violets stand 10th in the Serie A standings, ushering a magnificent change during a season ridden with inconsistent results. Vincenzo Italiano managed to pull his team out of misery, winning nine games out of a possible ten, which translated well with their extended stay in the domestic cup.
Their bid for escaping the midtable spot is slowly fading away, as they are 12 points behind a European place. Now the only path they can take is to make the most out of their stay in the competition to land in an automatic spot for the same.
After losing to Juventus away in February, the side stitched an undefeated streak in the following months until Lech Poznan got the better of them in the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-finals.
That minor setback doesn't matter, as Fiorentina won the European tie with a 6-4 aggregate scoreline to secure a berth in the Conference League semi-finals against Basel.
Another unfortunate loss against Monza has pulled down their momentum again, and it's time for the side to regain the lost confidence by securing their finals participation. The Lilies' last prominent silverware came in with the Coppa Italia title 22 years ago. Italiano would be steadfast in winning the trophy for the club's seventh time.
Cremonese's run in the cup was eventful, as they conquered lopsided contests against Italian giants Napoli and Roma. The Gray and Reds have not translated their cup successes into their league form, having gotten stranded in the bottom half of the table in Serie A.
It's a concern for Davide Ballardini, who needs to steer the ship for a side sinking deep into the relegation zone. With seven games left in Serie A, they are eight points adrift of safety standing 19th. Even the last two impressive victories against fellow relegation-bound sides of Sampdoria and Empoli don't help the Tigers much as they still steer in limbo.
Though the second-leg tie against Fiorentina doesn't promise any surprising turnaround, if they pull off a miracle, achieving the gargantuan task will more than compensate for an otherwise underwhelming season.
The hosts will miss the availability of their second-choice keeper, Salvatore Sirigu, as both midfielders Giacomo Bonaventura and Josip Brekalo remain doubtful with their respective injuries.
Emanuel Aiwu was sent off in the first leg for the visitors, as he remains suspended. Vice-captain also Vlad Chiricheș remains absent.
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Expert Insight: Fiorentina might want to save legs, considering their tight schedule ahead of knockout games that will shape their success this season. They will look to draw out the game, keeping a defensive mindset about the whole affair. The challenge is almost too far-fetched for Cremonese, who can dampen the moods if they constantly barrage the hosts' defenses throughout the 90 minutes.