Federico Bernardeschi's wonderful free kick proved decisive for ACF Fiorentina as they defeated Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0 at Borussia-Park in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
La Viola didn't have many chances during the game but Bernardeschi produced the one moment of magic that the game desperately needed as he thundered a free kick into the top corner of the net on the stroke of half-time.
Die Fohlen though will feel that they had the chances to win the match as throughout they missed big chances which at this level proves decisive and now they are up against it away from home next week.
Hosts missed key chances early on to take the lead
It was a first half with very little chances but the ones that were created should have lead to more goals than the one that was scored just before half time.
The hosts, bristling with confidence after recent results, went closest to opening the scoring early on when Thorgan Hazard played a great ball into the box to Patrick Herrmann but the winger saw his shot brilliantly saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu.
After this chance the game went into a bit of lull as both sides cancelled each other out well until the hosts had two big chances in a matter of minutes but failed to take the lead.
The first chance fell the way of Lars Stindl but he blazed the ball over the bar after a great pass from Hermann found the striker in loads of space in the box.
Literally a minute later, Hazard picked the ball up on the right wing and played a great cross into the area to Fabian Johnson but he saw his goalbound header come back off the post and then Stindl hit the rebound wide of the goal.
Bernardeschi's wonderful free kick saw the visitors take an undeserved lead
They were punished for these misses though as just before half time the visitors were awarded a free kick outside the box. Bernardeschi stepped up to take it and he hit a brilliant left foot piledriver into the top corner of the net to give the Italians a crucial away goal.
The hosts didn't have much time to respond to the goal as they went in at half time 1-0 down after playing so well throughout the half but were undone by a moment of magic.
Once again the start of the second half saw the hosts take control of possession but they kept missing chance after chance throughout.
Johnson was given the ball in space inside the box but instead of putting the ball into the back of the net he pulled his shot wide of goal when he should have done so much better.
Borja Valero had the visitors only chance of the second half which he should have done much better with as he put a shot over the bar when he should have at least hit the target.
The hosts had further chances before the end but didn't take them
The hosts had further chances to win the game including Jannik Vestergaard, who had a massive chance from a free kick in stoppage time but he saw his header well saved and that proved the last big moment of the game as the Italians now will be confident of going through in the second leg which takes place next week.