Fiorentina will face Atalanta in the Coppa Italia quarter-final after a dramatic 5-2 win away to Napoli in extra time, a game with three red cards, seven goals and Krzysztof Piatek scoring on his debut.
The Partenopei were missing Lorenzo Insigne, Piotr Zielinski, Victor Osimhen, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mario Rui, Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa and Adam Ounas, so Axel Tuanzebe was thrown into the starting XI for his full debut after arriving on loan from Manchester United. The Viola were fresh from a shock 4-0 Serie A defeat to Torino, with Lucas Martinez-Quarta and Sofian Amrabat unavailable, but Bartlomiej Dragoski and Matija Nastasic returned from long injury lay-offs.
David Ospina made the first save on a Dusan Vlahovic curler after 12 minutes, while Matteo Politano failed to make the most of a goalkeeping error and Nikola Milenkovic’s header thumped the crossbar on a corner.
Eljif Elmas stung Dragowski’s gloves at the near post and Politano fired wide, but Fiorentina took the lead just before half-time.
Riccardo Saponara got away down the left and rolled across for Vlahovic, who left Tuanzebe stranded with a shimmy to drill home with his left foot from eight yards.
However, moments later another poor Dragowski clearance was intercepted and Dries Mertens immediately curled a remote-controlled right-foot finish into the far top corner that could not have been hit any sweeter.
Dragowski completed his absolute nightmare comeback after three months out when he was caught way outside his penalty area on a Lorenzo Venuti header back, was totally stranded and body-checked Eljif Elmas for a straight red card.
Alex Meret came on for injured Ospina, with Mertens setting up Petagna to turn just wide, then Pietro Terracciano denied Diego Demme at full stretch on a Faouzi Ghoulam cross.
However, 10-man Fiorentina restored their lead when Cristiano Biraghi’s free kick went into the wall, came back to him for a left-foot curler in off the inside of the far top post.
It could even have been 3-1, Nico Gonzalez ballooning into the sky when relatively unmarked from 12 yards. Krzysztof Piatek made his Viola debut, but Chucky Lozano almost equalised with a solo effort kept out by the upright.
Moments later, Lozano got himself sent off for an extremely high and reckless tackle that landed studs-up on Gonzalez’s ankle. It was initially a yellow card, but the referee switched to red after the VAR on-field review, reducing both teams to 10 men.
It still wasn’t over, as after Petagna’s effort was deflected over, Fiorentina went on the counter and Fabian Ruiz received a second yellow card for taking down Lucas Torreira. The Viola were angry, as Jonathan Ikone was clear on goal and the referee stopped play for that card.
Incredibly, nine-man Napoli then equalised when Kevin Malcuit’s cross from the right went past everyone for Petagna to sweep in from seven yards, forcing extra time.
Meret made a double save on Youssuf Maleh and Biraghi, while in-between penalty appeals for a push on Jack Bonaventura were waved away.
Fiorentina did restore their advantage when Maleh’s cross from the left found Venuti unmarked at the back post for a cushioned volley off the inside of the right boot, making up for his earlier howler that got Dragowski sent off.
Venuti also added an assist, because he burst down the right and rolled across for Piatek to bundle over the line from six yards on his Fiorentina debut, complete with trademark Pistolero celebration.
Napoli visibly gave up at this point and conceded a fifth in the final moments with Maleh.
Napoli 2-5 Fiorentina aet
Vlahovic 41 (F), Mertens 44 (N), Biraghi 57 (F), Petagna 95 (N), Venuti 106 (F), Piatek 108 (F), Maleh 119 (F)
Sent off: Dragowski 45 (F), Lozano 84 (N), Fabian Ruiz 93 (N)