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.