Saturday, 25 April 2015

Torino v Juventus Preview

Twenty years after their last victory against city rivals Juventus go into tomorrow's Derby Della Mole against the bianconeri as clear underdogs.

But this is arguably the best Granata team within those twenty years, undoubtedly so in the decade that I have been a supporter.

Whilst this Toro squad does not have the individual talents of an Alessio Cerci or a Ciro Immobile as they did last season, they have the team spirit and grinta which has Toro fans dreaming of finally beating their hated rivals.

They came close in the reverse fixture at the Juventus Stadium back in November, after Bruno Peres' sensational equaliser, it was Torino who had the better chances to claim a historic victory. However, in the third minute of injury time, Andrea Pirlo struck from long range to break Granata hearts.

Despite that setback, it has been an excellent season to be a Toro fan. League victories at the San Siro and at home to Napoli combined with European successes in Copenhagen, Bilbao and at home to Zenit will live long in the memories of Torino supporters.

But a derby victory would top all of those successes.

The home side come into the game in reasonable form, unbeaten in their last five matches and they can welcome back the tricky Omar El Kaddouri to the squad.

Juve have had a busy week after making it through to the semi finals of the Champions League after a 1-0 aggregate victory over Monaco on Wednesday. Turin born midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss the game through suspension, whilst Angelo Ogbonna who has yet to feature against his former side, should once again miss out.

Predicted Teams, courtesy of Gazzetta


Forza Toro

Monday, 20 April 2015

Sassuolo 1-1 Torino

It was a tale of two penalties on Sunday afternoon as Torino dropped valuable points in the race for a Europa League place.

With perhaps one eye on the derby next week, Giampiero Ventura left Bruno Peres, Alessandro Gazzi and Maxi Lopez on the bench, with Cristian Molinaro, Giuseppe Vives and Josef Martinez preferred.

Marco Benassi capitalised on a slip from Saphir Taider, but his long range effort was diverted wide by Andrea Consigli. Josef Martinez was looking dangerous upfront, and the Venezuelan first effort hit the side netting, and then moments later his curling strike also forced Consigli into action.

The former Young Boys striker was then guilty of missing Toro's best chance of the half, as he blazed over the bar despite striker partner Fabio Quagliarella being better placed.

On the stroke of half time, the hosts were controversially awarded a penalty when Antonio Floro Flores conned the refereed by running into Kamil Glik, and theatrically diving to the ground. Domenico Berardi converted the spot kick to give Sassuolo the lead.

On the hour mark, Toro were awarded a penalty of their own, and coincidentally it was the same two players involved, with Floro Flores catching Glik with a wild attempted clearance. Fabio Quagliarella stepped up, and sent Consigli the wrong way to equalise.

Minutes later, substitute Maxi Lopez was through on goal after an exquisite pass from Quagliarella, but Consigli denied the Argentine striker. In the dying seconds of the match, Andrea Consigli saved his best save til last as he turned a Fabio Quagliarella snap shot round the post.

Given their dominance, Toro will look at this as two points lost in their quest for the Europa League, but will have an opportunity to make amends next week - in the derby against Champions elect Juventus.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sassuolo v Torino Preview

Torino will look to capitalise on Sampdoria dropping points, when they travel to Reggio Emilia on Sunday.

The Granata can reduce the gap to 5th placed Samp to four points if they manage to win their seventh away game of the season against Sassuolo.

Toro will be without the suspended Omar El Kaddouri, so Alexander Farnerud is likely to deputise, and after scoring against Roma last weekend, Maxi Lopez is likely to start up front.

Sassuolo are twelve points above the bottom three, and should have already done enough to secure their Serie A status for another season. The neroverdi have won their last two home matches, but have lost six of their last eight games overall.

Prediction
Sassuolo 0-1 Torino

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Torino 1-1 Roma

Torino continued their fine recent form as they earnt a 1-1 draw against Champions League chasing Roma on Sunday afternoon.

As expected, Matteo Darmian came back into the starting eleven whilst perhaps surprisingly, Josef Martinez was preferred to Maxi Lopez up front.

Juan Iturbe had the first two opportunities from distance in the early stages, but the Argentine winger was unable to find a breakthrough.

Roma were awarded a penalty on the hour mark when Daniele De Rossi was seemingly upended by Emilano Moretti. Alessandro Florenzi stepped up to convert the penalty, as the Giallorossi took the lead.

However, that lead only last for seven minutes, as substitute Maxi Lopez tapped home after excellent work from Giuseppe Vives.

Roma had the better chances to win the game, but Daniele Padelli produced an excellet save to deny Alessandro Florenzi his second goal of the game. Toro are now six points away from 6th placed Sampdoria, but eight games remaining, the Granata still have time to overturn that deficit.

Forza Torino

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Torino v Roma Preview

If Torino manage to record a third consecutive victory on Sunday afternoon than Toro fans may start to dream of another European campaign next season.

After victories against Parma and Atalanta, the Granata are 5 points behind 6th placed Napoli in the chase for Europa League places.

Matteo Darmian should return to the starting eleven for Toro, but Migjen Basha is suspended after his late red card against Atalanta last weekend.

Roma's title challenge has fallen apart in recent weeks, and the Giallorossi still have work to do to ensure Champions League qualification. City rivals Lazio, who were the last team to beat Torino, are now only one point behind Rudi Garcia's men.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Roma

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Atalanta 1-2 Torino

Torino continued their quest for a place in Europe with an important 2-1 victory over Atalanta on Saturday afternoon.

Matteo Darmian, who featured twice for Italy in the past week, started on the bench - whilst Maxi Lopez and Fabio Quagliarella cemented their place as Ventura's first choice front two.

Toro took the lead mid-way through the first half when Fabio Quagliarella smashed a sensational free kick past Marco Sportiello in the Atalanta goal.

Atalanta almost responded immediately, but Daniele Padelli made a smart save to deny Davide Zappacosta's long range effort. However, six minutes before half time, Toro doubled their lead after Kamil Glik volleyed home Omar El Kaddouri's corner,

That was the Polish defender's seventh goal this season, and the Torino captain showed excellent technique to score it.

The Granata had opportunities to extend their lead in the second half, but both Giuseppe Vives and Omar El Kaddouri had efforts saved by Sportiello. With fifteen minutes remaining, Atalanta reduced the deficit in incredible fashion as Maxi Moralez's free kick found an unmarked Mauricio Pinilla, and the Chilean striker scored with a bicycle kick.

In injury time, an off the ball incident resulted in both Pinilla and Toro substitute Migjen Basha being red carded, although the Albanian international will feel his punishment was rather harsh. Toro held on to record a second consecutive victory, and the Granata are now just five points away from 6th placed Napoli.

Forza Toro

Friday, 3 April 2015

Atalanta v Torino Preview

After a two week break due to international fixtures, Torino return to Serie A action on Saturday afternoon with a trip to Bergamo.

The Granata are currently seven points behind Fiorentina in 6th position, which makes European qualification unlikely - but beating last season's tally of 57 points is still a realistic target.

A number of Toro players featured for their countries in the international break, but Giampiero Ventura has no injury concerns. January signing Alvaro Gonzalez is included in the squad, and could make his long awaited first start for his new club.

Atalanta are only one place above the bottom three and have drawn their last three games, the last of which was an impressive 1-1 draw away to Napoli. However, the Bergamo side have not won since early February so will be eager to change that statistic.

Prediction
Atalanta 1-1 Torino