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Fiorentina 4, MetroStars 0

May 25, 1996

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Italian Cup champion AC Fiorentina scored four goals in the final 25 minutes Friday night for a 4-0 victory over the New York-New Jersey MetroStars, who announced the resignation of coach Eddie Firmani earlier in the day.

Anselmo Robbiati scored a pair of second-half goals, and Gabriel Batistuta and Giacomo Banchelli added goals for Fiorentina, which beat the New England Revolution 2-0 on Wednesday.

The MetroStars, who are 3-5 in the MLS, announced just hours before the game that assistant coach Ralph Perez would coach the team on an interim basis.

``It was a difficult situation from an emotional standpoint,″ Perez said. ``We were playing a very good team and we were shorthanded. We weathered the storm in the first half but this was our fourth game in eight days and it showed in the second half.″

Fiorentina, which finished tied for third in Italy’s premier league this season, outshot the MetroStars 20-3. The game was scoreless until the 65th minute when MetroStars defender Nicola Caricola, a veteran of the Italian Serie A, bumped Batistuta in the penalty box.

The veteran striker went down and referee Paul Tamberino signaled for a penalty kick, which Robbiati knocked past goalkeeper Tony Meola.

``It was not a popular call with the crowd,″ said Fiorentina coach Claudio Ranieri. ``There were two fouls in the first half that were more like penalties. But we had so many opportunities I don’t believe it really changed the game.″

Meola, who played brilliantly in the first half, felt the penalty turned the game around.

``It opened the doors,″ said Meola. ``Only in America do you get calls like that.″

Eight minutes later Batistuta headed in a cross from Alberto Malusci and then two minutes after that Banchelli touched in a cross from Robbiati.

Robbiati closed the scoring in the 85th minute.

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