Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Roma 4-1 Torino

Torino's terrible away form continued as they were thumped by an impressive Roma side 4-1 at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

Full back Lorenzo De Silvestri was preferred to Arlind Ajeti in the unfamiliar role of central defence, as Davide Zappacosta also regained his place in the starting eleven.

The home side took the lead after only ten minutes as Edin Dzeko curled a low shot past his former Manchester City team mate Joe Hart from just outside the area. That lead was doubled just four minutes later as Mohamed Salah volleyed home after Antonio Barreca failed to clear.

Salah was causing the Toro defence all kinds of problems, and it was almost 3-0, but his left foot strike struck the post.

Toro were having a reasonable amount of possession, but were unable to create clear cut chances, with Serbian midfielder Sasa Lukic going closest with a long range shot that went narrowly wide.

Leandro Paredes added a third goal for Roma mid-way through the second half with a sensational strike from distance after Toro failed to clear a corner.

Maxi Lopez came on to make a rare appearance in the closing stages for Toro, and the Argentine scored his first goal of the season with five minutes remaining as he beat the offside trap and finished well beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

However, there was still time for Roma to score again with Radja Nainggolan adding a fourth in injury time to seal a convincing victory.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Roma v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to the capital hoping to improve their miserable away record, with the Granata win less on the road since November.

Daniele Baselli and Mirko Valdifiori have both returned to the squad following suspension, whilst Davide Zappacosta could replace Lorenzo De Silvestri at full back.

Roma have a 100% home record this season, winning all eleven of their games at the Stadio Olimpico, and come into this game off the back of an impressive 4-0 victory at Villarreal in the Europa League on Thursday.

However, Toro did win the earlier meeting between these two sides 3-1 back in September which was probably the Granata's best performance of the season so far.

Prediction
Roma 2-1 Torino

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Torino 5-3 Pescara

Torino finally won their first game of the New Year after an eight goal thriller against Pescara on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata made a stunning start and were ahead after only two minutes when Iago Falque volleyed home his tenth goal of the season. Toro made it 2-0 moments later as Arlind Ajeti capped his home debut with a goal as the Albanian international found the net with the aid of a deflection.

With only fifteen minutes on the clock Andrea Belotti added a third after an excellent individual effort which culminated in scoring with a low shot from outside of the area.

Joe Hart made an outstanding save to deny Gianluca Caprari and ensure Toro made it to half time with their three goal lead in tact.

Adem Ljajic ended his goal drought early in the second half with a curling effort which Pescara keeper Albano Bizzarri would have been disappointed not to save.

Belotti added his second goal of the game on the hour mark as he headed home Falque's cross to put Toro 5-0 up.

When Arlind Ajeti put through his own net with twenty minutes remaining it seemed to just be a consolation, which in fairness, the away side had deserved. However, moments later, former Manchester City midfielder Ahmad Benali struck from close range to make it 5-2.

And there were a few Toro fans sitting uncomfortably when Benali beat his former team mate Joe Hart again as the Granata defence failed to clear their lines. Toro were able to hold on to claim all three points, but it really should have been a much more convincing margin of victory.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Torino v Pescara Preview

Torino will look to win their first game of 2017 at the seventh attempt when they host bottom club Pescara on Sunday afternoon.

After an impressive start to the season, the Granata have struggled as of late with a number of absences in the defence and midfield not helping their cause. Luca Rossettini and Leandro Castan miss out once again, whilst Mirko Valdifiori and Daniele Baselli are both suspended.

This could mean a rare start for young Serbian midfielder Sasa Lukic, whilst Afriyie Acquah has returned to the squad following participation with Ghana at the African Cup of Nations.

Pescara are rooted to the bottom of the Serie A table, and have only won one game all season - a match which was awarded to them after Sassuolo fielded an ineligible player.

Prediction
Torino 4-0 Pescara

Monday, 6 February 2017

Empoli 1-1 Torino

Torino's miserable record from the penalty spot continued on Sunday afternoon as the Granata were held to a 1-1 at Empoli.

Arlind Ajeti made his Toro debut at centre back, whilst Daniele Baselli was also recalled to the starting eleven.

Torino made the perfect start and were ahead after only eleven minutes when Adem Ljajic's excellent free kick was diverted goal wards by Andrea Belotti - his fifteenth league goal of the season.

Empoli were close to scoring a spectacular equaliser, but Georgian striker Levan Mchedlidze saw his acrobatic effort go narrowly wide of the post.

On the stroke of half time, the dreadful Tuscan conditions proved costly for Toro as Arlind Ajeti's back pass held up on a puddle just outside the area and Manuel Pucciarelli nipped in to round Joe Hart and equalise.

The Granata had an excellent chance to equalise ten minutes into the second half when they were awarded a penalty when Ljajic was tripped in the area after a jinking run. However, Toro's poor record from the spot continued as Iago Falque became the third player to miss a penalty this season as he was denied by Lukasz Skorupski.

The poor conditions made it difficult for both sides to create clear cut chances and that meant Toro had to settle for a point, and their search for a first win of the new year continues.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Empoli v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Empoli on Sunday afternoon looking to improve their poor away record and also earn their first victory of 2017.

An injury crisis at the back for Toro means that Albanian international Arlind Ajeti is likely to make his debut, whilst seventeen year old Primavera defender Alessandro Buongiorno has been called up to the squad for the first time.

Former Granata midfielder Omar El Kaddouri could make his Empoli debut after signing for the Tuscan side last week, and it is felt that the Moroccan's creativity will help a side who have only scored 13 goals in 22 league games this season.

Prediction
Empoli 0-1 Torino

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Grazie Giuseppe

The overriding image from Sunday's 1-1 draw with Atalanta occurred after the final whistle, as veteran midfielder Giuseppe Vives said an emotional goodbye to the Granata fans ahead of his move to Pro Vercelli.

At 36 years old, Vives has experienced most things in his football career, but even the former Lecce man seemed a little overawed with his reception from the Curva Maratona.

This was a touching and genuine moment between a player and his supporters, which showed mutual gratitude and respect, something which is unfortunately lacking from the modern game. Vives was certainly not one of the most gifted players to pull on the Torino shirt, but he exemplified the Granata spirit and gave absolute everything in each of his 164 appearances for the club.

After arriving in July 2011, Vives helped the club win promotion to Serie A in his first season, and his departure now means that every player from that promotion winning squad has now left the club.

Vives' versatility and reliability was an invaluable asset for the Granata in their return to Serie A, and this was perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that he played as a libero in a back three in the crucial fixture against Fiorentina in the 2013/14 season.

Torino's seventh placed finish in that campaign meant that Vives would get to play European football for the first time in his career, and he continued to perform admirably and he played the whole match as Toro recorded a historic victory against Athletic Bilbao in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The midfielder also chipped in with five goals throughout his Toro career, the best of which this incredible 'billiard shot' effort against Bologna last season, in a game perhaps better remembered for Andrea Belotti scoring his first goal for the club.

After the arrival of Mirko Valdifiori this season, Vives found first team opportunities limited, and it was mutually agreed to allow him to leave the club to continue his career.

Thanks for the memories Giuseppe and bocca al lupo!