Football really is a funny game. Just thirteen days ago, Torino seemed to be in crisis, they had just suffered their fourth consecutive defeat against Frosinone, and coach Giuseppe Papadopulo was sacked eleven days after being given the job. However, the decision to re-appoint Franco Lerda as coach may prove to be a masterstroke, as Torino have now won both of their games since his return, and a position in the playoffs at the end of the season now look more realistic.
However, on Friday night, it was Grosseto who had the first opportunity to open the scoring, but Rubinho made a miraculous save from Ferdinando Sforzini's header to keep the scores level. The away team had started the game brightly, and Rubinho was forced into another save, this time from on loan Juventus striker Ciro Immobile's long range shot. Torino's first chance of the game came via Andrea Gasbarroni's long range effort, but Grosseto keeper Antonio Narciso proved he could also make a fine save when called upon. In an entertaining first half, it was Dejan Lazarevic who should have opened his goalscoring account for Torino, but his shot hit the side netting.
Torino had the first meaningful chance of the second half, and it was that man Lazarevic who should have scored again, but blazed his shot high over the bar from just ten yards out, albeit at a difficult angle. Just as it began to look like it would be one of those days, where Torino would be unable to capitalise on their dominance, they got their breakthrough, with just fifteen minutes remaining. A diagonal ball from Alessandro Budel found his central midfield colleague Giuseppe De Feudis in the area who took the ball down with consummate ease and slid a pass to Mirco Antenucci to tap into an unguarded net from eight yards out.
Despite a few nervous moments towards the end of the game, Torino were able to hold on to give them a vital three points. Saturday's results were also kind to Toro, as playoff rivals Livorno were beaten at home and Reggina only managed to draw, and although Vicenza were victorious, Torino find themselves just one point away from the final playoff position.
As one Italian match report stated after the game - Il Toro sta crescendo, The Bull is Growing. That certainly does seem to be the case.