Esbjerg sunk by effective Italians
Esbjerg’s fairy-tale run in the Europa League looks to be coming to an end after they lost 1-3 at home to Italian outfit Fiorentina in the first leg of their last 32 clash last night.
The Italians went ahead after eight minutes through Alessandro Matri, but the Blue Water Arena came alive just a minute later thanks to an equaliser by Austrian forward Martin Pusic, playing in his first game for the west coast Jutlanders.
But the Danish delight was short lived. Five minutes after the equaliser, Josip Ilicic pounced on an error by Esbjerg's Ghanian-German defender Davidson Drobo-Ampem to put Fiorentina ahead again.
Esbjerg pushed hard to once again level the score, but the Italians held firm and then capitalised on yet another Drobo-Ampem mistake after he clumsily bundled into a Fiorentina player in the box. Former Roma and Liverpool player Alberto Aquilani made no mistake from the spot.
In the second half, Esbjerg once again tried to pressure the Italians and could have pulled one back after efforts from Pusic and Jonas Knudsen went close, but Fiorentina held firm and hold a commanding lead ahead of the second leg in Florence next week.
Aside from Pusic, defender Michael Jakobsen and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made their first starts for Esbjerg.
The Esbjerg police arrested eight football fans in connection with the match.