Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Torino Goal of the Season 2010/11

As an attempt to forget about the disappointment of Torino's failure to reach the playoffs, watch the video below and then vote for you favourite Torino goal from this season.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Torino 0-2 Padova

Torino succumbed to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Padova, and thus ensured that they would remain in Serie B for a third consecutive season, with it being their opponents who now go on to the playoffs.

In a game that Torino needed to win in order to prolong their season, coach Franco Lerda made a brave decision as he left striker Mirco Antenucci on the bench, in order to revert to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation that Torino often used at the start of the season.

Torino had the better of the opening exchanges, and it looked as though Lerda's gamble may pay off, as Rolando Bianchi and Guiseppe De Feudis both had opportunities to give Toro the lead. However, just as it looked that the teams would go into half time level, Padova delivered the ultimate sucker punch. Once again it was a set piece that was Torino's undoing, and when Rubinho failed to claim an inswinging corner, Matias Claudio Cuffa rose highest to head into an unguarded net.

In all honestly, after going in at the break behind, Torino never really looked as though they would stage the comeback that they desperately needed. Mirco Antenucci was introduced at half time, perhaps an admission by the coach that he had got his initial team selection wrong, but it was not until the introduction of Andrea Gasbarroni in the 71st minute, that Toro had their best opportunity of the match.

With almost his first touch, Gasbarroni delivered a fantastic cross to the far post to find Bianchi, whose header hit the base of the post when it seemed certain he would equalise. Whilst their was some suspicion that the former Manchester City striker was being fouled, it was a chance that the Captain would normally take, and was perhaps an indication that it was not going to be Torino's day.With just ten minutes remaining, Padova sealed the victory and therefore their place in the playoffs, as with Torino going forward in search of an equaliser, Marcos De Paula was able to go into the Torino box unopposed and score with a neat left footed finish.

Despite a slight resurgence towards the end of the season, it cannot mask what has been an undeniably disastrous campaign, and drastic changes must be made next season in order for Torino to return to Serie A. Whilst this was also said last season, the fact that this team, that on paper should have been challenging for the automatic promotion places, has finished the season in eighth position, is almost unforgivable.

It will be interesting to see whether President Urbano Cairo will vacate his position, as he declared that he would when he reappointed Franco Lerda as coach in March, and it is almost certain that Torino will begin next season with yet another coach in charge.

It will also be difficult to convince Rolando Bianchi and Angelo Ogbonna to spend yet another season in Serie B, when both are likely to be coveted by a number of clubs in Serie A, and therefore they may have just played their last games in a Torino shirt.

Forza Torino 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Torino V Padova Preview

On the eve of the 1938 World Cup Final, Benito Mussolini sent the Italian football team a telegram with the message “Vincere o morire” - Win or Die.

Whilst the Italian dictator did not mean this literally and instead wanted his team to go out and do their best, this sentiment is an adequate one ahead of Torino’s fixture against Padova on Sunday. Although the term ‘must win’ is often overused (including many times on this blog) that is the only way that Sunday’s match can be described. A victory will guarantee Torino a place in the end of season playoffs and therefore keep their dreams of a return to Serie A alive.

However, anything less than a victory would mean that Torino would be playing in the Italian second tier for a third successive year, and instead of facing glamorous fixtures against the likes of Milan, Inter and Juventus next season, Toro would be facing the not so glamorous prospect of newly promoted Gubbio, a team who were in the Eccellenza (Italian Sixth Division) as recently as 1997.

Torino and Padova head into the game with long unbeaten records, with both sides not having tasted defeat since March. However, it is Padova who have the better form, winning their last three games, whereas Toro have drawn five of their last six matches, and they know that if this game ends level, then it will be their opponents who will reach the playoffs.

Whatever happens, Sunday will be a tense affair, but victory in a game that is effectively a playoff for the playoffs, would certainly give Torino momentum for the actual post season that begins on Thursday, and in the playoffs, momentum could lead to promotion.

Forza Torino

Monday, 23 May 2011

Empoli 1-1 Torino

Torino took the lead after just three minutes, but were unable to hold on to what would have been a vital victory, and therefore means they must beat Padova on Sunday in order to compete in the playoffs at the end of the regular season.

Torino could not of made a better start, as after just three minutes, Mirco Antenucci's exquisite pass found the on running Antimo Iunco, whose side footed shot narrowly crawled over the line. Empoli's goalkeeper Alberto Pelagotti did get a hand to the shot, which was in all honestly a tame effort, and should therefore be disappointed that he did not prevent the goal.

Empoli dominated the rest of the first half as they attempted to get back into the game, a game they needed to win in order to keep alive their own hopes of reaching the playoffs. Like so many times this season, Toro were thankful to their goalkeeper Rubinho, who made a number of good saves, including tipping a Diego Fabbrini half volley over the bar.

However, Empoli were level three minutes into the second half via Mirko Valdifiori's stunning volley from 25 yards after a Torino failed to clear a corner. Both sides had half chances to get a winner, as both Luciano Zavagno and Valerio Di Cesare came close for the Granata.

In the dying seconds, Torino had the best chance to gain all three points, but Alessando Sgrigna's left footed shot was well saved by Pelagotti, who made amends for his earlier mistake. In the other crucial game in the race for the playoffs, Padova beat Livorno 3-2, meaning that only a victory will suffice for Torino, when they meet Padova next Sunday.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Empoli V Torino Preview

With just two games remaining in the regular Serie B season, Torino know that victories in both games will guarantee their place in the end of season playoffs, and maintain their hopes of a return to Serie A.

Therefore, tonight's game against playoff rivals Empoli is arguably Torino's most important since last season playoff final against Brescia, because a defeat against the Tuscan club would almost certainly end their promotion dreams.

Torino are currently unbeaten since the return of Franco Lerda as coach, and whilst that does sound impressive, they have only won four of those eight matches, though they were victorious last time out against Triestina. Meanwhile, Empoli know a victory would catapult themselves above Torino into sixth place, and have won their last two fixtures.

Torino have included speedy winger Dejan Lazarevic in the squad, and he could return to the starting line up after missing a few games due to injury.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Torino 2-0 Triestina

Torino returned to winning ways with a convincing 2-0 victory over relegation threatened Triestina, to keep their hopes of participating in the end of season playoffs alive.

One of the biggest criticism of this Torino side is their tendency to make a slow start in games, however it took just six minutes for them to take the lead on Saturday. The goal arrived after sloppy play by the Triestina defence, who gifted the ball to Mirco Antenucci who finished calmly with his left foot from 18 yards out. That goal was Antenucci's first in over a month, and he nearly had a second soon afterwards, but his header was well saved by Sergio Viotti in the Triestina goal.

After dominating the first half, Toro began the second half in similar fashion, and should have extended their lead via Angelo Ogbonna, but once again Viotti produced a fine save. Rolando Bianchi also had a chance to continue his great run of form, but directed his header straight at the away goalkeeper. Just when it seemed Torino would not find a second goal, Bianchi headed down a cross from the right hand side into the path of Guiseppe De Feudis who chested it down and scored his first goal for the club with a left footed volley.

The match finished 2-0 and Torino got the three points they desperately needed, albeit against a poor Triestina team. However, as there were also victories for Empoli, Livorno and Padova, it means just two points separate the four sides, with Torino continuing to occupy the treasured 6th place.

Next weekends set of fixtures will be particularly interesting, because Torino visit Empoli on Friday evening, whilst Padova face Livorno on the Saturday, meaning that the playoff picture will become a lot clearer this time next week.

Forza Torino

Friday, 13 May 2011

Torino V Triestina Preview

Despite being unbeaten in their last seven fixtures, Torino have not won any of their last four games, therefore tomorrow's home match against Triestina has to be classed in the 'must win' category in order for Toro to keep their playoff destiny in their own hands.

As things currently stand, Torino occupy 6th place, but the race for the final playoff position could not be tighter, with no less than four sides hypothetically being able to overtake Toro should they fail to win on Saturday. Therefore, nothing less than three points will do, in a fixture, which is on paper at least, Torino's easiest remaining match. The reason for that is because their opponents, Triestina, currently find themselves in one of the three automatic relegation places, and have only won three matches away from home all season.

Torino's habit to concede the first goal (which has happened in the last four matches) is becoming an increasing worry, and whilst the team have shown battling qualities in order to fight back and gain a draw in each of these fixtures, Toro must get off to a quick start against Triestina. In fact, the last time Torino scored within the first ten minutes, they went on to win the match 4-0 (against Ascoli), thus emphasising how beneficial a good start can be.

Mirco Antenucci's lack of goalscoring form is a worry, and could perhaps see Franco Lerda revert back to a 4-2-3-1 formation, whilst it will be interesting to see whether Angelo Ogbonna will return to his normal centre back position, or whether he will continue to be deployed as a full back.

Forza Torino

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Siena 2-2 Torino

Torino fought back from behind twice to gain a point against Siena, but continue their run of consecutive draws which now stretches to four matches.

It was league leaders Siena who started quickest, knowing that a point would be enough to secure their return to Serie A at the first attempt. They took the lead after just ten minutes, and it was a man who started his career at Torino, Emanuele Calaiò who scored the goal. Torino failed to deal with a short corner routine, that allowed Reginaldo to drive into the area unchallenged and deliver a cross to find Calaiò, who scored with a fantastic bicycle kick.

Despite that early setback, Toro were level less than fifteen minutes later, and finally it was someone other than Rolando Bianchi who found the net. Alessandro Sgrigna picked up the ball on the left hand side and unleashed a fierce low shot with his right foot from just outside the area to beat home goalkeeper Ferdinando Coppola and level the scores.

Torino would have taken the lead soon afterwards, if it wasn't for an unbelievable save from Coppola as he somehow kept out Rolando Bianchi's ferocious 35 yard free kick. Instead, it was Siena who would take a lead into the half time interval, and again, it was that man Calaiò with the goal, as his header from Roberto Vitiello's cross narrowly beat the dive of Rubinho.

After the break, Torino had opportunities to equalise with both Bianchi, and Mirco Antenucci coming close, and when Francesco Pratali was fouled by Simone Vergassola in the area, Torino had a great opportunity to level the scores. However, that opportunity was not taken when, Bianchi, who is usually so reliable from the penalty spot, put his effort wide of the post. Just three minutes later however, Torino were level, as the captain made amends when he fired in from just five yards after Biagio Pagano's low cross.

The game finished level and gave Siena the point they needed to secure promotion, and as other results went their way the point was a valuable one for Toro and kept them in the top six. The race for the playoffs is one of the closest in recent history with just two points separating six teams. As they currently occupy one of those playoff positions, Torino know their destiny is in their own hands, but a victory at home to next week to Triestina is vital, because if not, four teams are waiting behind them to capitalise.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Siena V Torino Preview

It would be a fitting tribute to the memory of Il Grande Torino if the current Toro team could be victorious, just three days after the 62nd anniversary of the Superga disaster, however, they could not ask for a more difficult game as they face league leaders Siena away.

Siena look to be certainties for a return to Serie A at the first attempt, something Torino were unable to do last season, as the Tuscan side only need one more point to be guaranteed a place at Italian football's top table next season. Whilst in normal circumstances, Torino would probably take a point against one of the division's elite teams, as the race for a place in the end of the season playoffs becomes more competitive, it looks as though they will require all three points in order to keep their place in the top six.

In fact, by the time Torino take to the field on Saturday, they could find themselves out of the playoff positions, as two of their rivals, Pescara and Livorno take part in the Friday evening game later today. A victory for Pescara would put them two points clear of Toro, whereas a victory for Livorno would put them level on points with the Turin side.

Torino have included Angelo Ogbonna and Giuseppe De Feudis in the squad for tomorrow's game as both players have now returned from suspension and are likely to reclaim their places in the starting line up.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the Superga tragedy, an event that changed the history of Torino Football Club forever.

For those that don’t know, May 4th 1949 is a date that is etched in the memories of all Torino fans, and sadly it so for all the wrong reasons. It was on this day that the famous Il Grande Torino team perished in a airplane disaster when the team were returning from a friendly match in Lisbon. Il Grande Torino were a team truly befitting of their name, as they won an incredible five consecutive league titles and were undefeated at their home stadium Filadelfia in four of those seasons. Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the team was the fact that in a friendly match between Italy and Hungary, Torino provided all ten outfield players for the Azzurri, a feat that will almost certainly never be repeated. Led by their captain Valentino Mazzola, Il Grande Torino dazzled their supporters with attacking football, at a time when the Italian people needed uplifting in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Sadly however, the story of Il Grande Torino has a tragic ending, but one that cemented the teams almost mythical status. Returning from a farewell match for Benfica player Francisco Ferreira in Lisbon, the plane carrying the players and officials crashed into the Basilica of Superga, situated on a hill near Turin. There were no survivors. In the aftermath of the tragedy, an estimated 500,000 people lined the streets of Turin to pay their respects for the players who had perished, with nobody quite being able to comprehend what had happened. Torino have never been able to replicate the success they achieved in the 1940s, and have only been able to win one Scudetto since, in 1976, and currently find themselves in the second tier of Italian football, a world away from the accomplishments of Il Grande Torino.

On my recent trip to Turin, I was lucky enough to visit the Torino museum in Grugliasco, a town on the outskirts of Turin. Whilst it is officially known as the ‘Museo Grande Torino’ the museum features exhibits from all aspects of Torino’s history. Whether that be memorabilia from the team’s run to the Uefa Cup Final in 1992 or a match worn shirt belonging to current captain Rolando Bianchi. However, it is the exhibits relating to Il Grande Torino that are most intriguing, and really enable the visitor to gain a real insight to how the tragedy affected not only the supporters of Torino, but the whole of Italy.

As a Torino fan, I may be biased, but after visiting the Museo Grande Torino, the other football museums that I have visited, those belonging to both AC Milan and Barcelona really do pale in comparison. Part of the reason for this is the fact that unlike at the two museums I have mentioned, where almost all of the artifacts are hidden behind glass cases, and the visitor is left to their own devices, at the Museo Grande Torino, that is not the case. Instead, I was given a tour around the museum by a guide (who thankfully spoke English, thanks again Amleto) and many of the exhibits can be touched and in some cases smelt. That brings me nicely to what was in my opinion the most remarkable exhibit in the museum, a medicine box that had been recovered from the wreckage of the plane after the Superga disaster. The incredible thing was, that whilst the impact of the crash had led to the death of 31 people, the contents of the box showed little damage, and remained pretty much intact. The box included a container of a liniment, that would of been used to treat muscle injuries, and despite being 62 years old, had still managed to retain its smell, that immediately engulfed the room and almost succeeded in transporting me back to the days of Il Grande Torino.

The museum also includes an area dedicated to former player Gigi Meroni, whose tale is once again one of immense sadness. Meroni’s style of play and playboy lifestyle led to comparisons with George Best, however in 1967, his life and career came to a premature end when he was hit by a car whilst crossing the road. He was only 24.

The history of Torino has certainly been an eventful one, but the legends of Il Grande Torino should never be forgotten, and thankfully, due to the existence of Museo Grande Torino, their achievements will continue to be acknowledged and therefore live on. Recently, every new Torino signing has embarked on a trip to the museum, and this is an appropriate step to ensure that each current player knows what it means to represent Torino.

Whilst the museum certainly is a fitting tribute to the players of Il Grande Torino, sadly despite many promises regarding its rebuilding, Filadelfia continues to be left in ruin. However, recently there has been talk of the old stadium finally being rebuilt, if only to be used as a training facility, and hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.

Forza Torino

All pictures and videos are copyright of ‘Museo Grande Torino’, please if you have the opportunity, please visit the museum. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can find their official website here.

Video advertising the museum -

Outside the Museum.

Trumpet belonging to Oreste Bolmida, known as 'The Trumpeter of Filadelfia'.

Stands from the old stadium at Filadelfia.

A suitcase belonging to Valentino Mazzola, recovered from the wreckage of the crash.

Ticket stub from the last game played by Il Grande Torino - Against Benfica.

Car that once belonged to Gigi Meroni.

Winners medal from Torino's 1976 Scudetto Victory.

Rolando Bianchi's captain's armband - translation - I am the captain of my soul.
Here are a few pictures of what Filadelfia looks like today.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Torino 1-1 Piacenza

Torino extended their unbeaten run to six games, but could only manage yet another 1-1 draw, against a Piacenza team who played the last thirty minutes of the game with ten men.

In a first half of few chances, once again it was Torino's opponents who took the lead, ten minutes before half time, when Daniele Cacia crossed for Tomas Guzman who couldn't miss from just three yards out.Torino started the second half brightly, and after having one good penalty shout turned down, were given one soon afterwards after Carlo Gervasoni handled Rolando Bianchi's goal bound effort.

It was the captain who stepped up to take the spot kick, and although the keeper dived the right way, the penalty was successful, to give Bianchi his 18th goal of the campaign. Toro's hopes of going on to gain all three points were boosted when Piacenza were reduced to ten me, Daniele Cacia was given his marching orders after an of the ball incident where he appeared to elbow Francesco Pratali.

Torino had many chances in the last half an hour, with Valerio Di Cesare, Rolando Bianchi and Alessandro Pellicori all going close but Toro were unable to get find a winner, with opposition keeper Mario Cassano making a number of decent saves.

This result means that Torino have drawn their last three games 1-1, and in all three of the games they have conceded the first goal. Rolando Bianchi has also scored the equaliser on each occasion, and whilst it would perhaps be unfair to suggest that Torino are a one man team at the moment, other players will surely have to contribute if they are to be successful in the playoffs.

However, Torino's place in the playoffs is far from secure, as although they are currently in sixth position, they are just one point clear of Pescara. With just four games left, Torino's run in is not the easiest, and next week's game is perhaps, on paper, the toughest possible, away to league leaders Siena. However, as I'm sure we have all established by now, football is not played on paper.

Forza Torino