Monday, 10 October 2011

Hellas Verona 1-3 Torino

For the first time in their history, Torino have won five consecutive away games after Torino's 3-1 win in Verona. Incredibly, this means that this current Torino side (albeit in Serie B) has achieved a record, that even 'Il Grande Torino' did not manage.

In the absence of Angelo Ogbonna who is away on international duty, Francesco Pratali came into the side for his first start of the season. Toro captain Rolando Bianchi also made a return to the starting line up, and Juan Surraco also made his first start for the club.

The first chance of the match fell to the home side, and it was former Torino striker Sasa Bjelanovic who met Massimiliano Scaglia's cross, but his header was a tame one and Ferdinando Coppola saved it with ease.

After fifteen minutes, Toro took the lead when Alessandro Parisi delivered a fantastic cross from the left wing that found Rolando Bianchi, who scored with a typically powerful header from twelve yards.

Torino almost doubled their lead soon afterwards, when a clever free kick routine resulted in Manuel Iori delivering an inch perfect pass to Mirco Antenucci, but the strikers volley was turned over the bar by Hellas goalkeeper Rafael.

Ten minutes before half time, Toro did extend their lead after an exquisite pass by regista Manuel Iori found Alessandro Sgrigna in the box, and although his initial shot was saved, he knocked in the rebound to give Torino a 2-0 lead.

On the stroke of half time, Verona got a goal back after Mirco Antenucci lost possession on the edge of his own box, and the ball fell to Matteo Abbate who unleashed a fantastic long range shot from 25 yards, to give the home side a way back into the match.

Mirco Antenucci had two chances before the half time whistle to re-establish a two goal lead, but he was unable to make amends, as Toro went in at the break with a narrow lead.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Giampiero Ventura replaced Alessandro Sgrigna with Giulio Ebagua, and the Nigerian born striker made an immediate impact.

The former Varese player picked the ball up from 40 yards out and dribbled past the Verona defence, before finishing calmly with his left foot into the top corner of the net. The goal has been described in some match reports as being 'Messi-like' and it certainly was a goal the Argentine player would have been proud of.

Unfortunately, a small section of Hellas fans lived up to their unsavoury repuatation by racially abusing Giulio Ebagua during the match, and Hellas Verona have since been fined €7000 because of the conduct of their fans.

In the last half an hour, Hellas had chances to get a goal back, but Coppola made good saves to deny both Matteo Abbate and Emanuele Berrettoni, as Torino held on for the victory that kept them three points clear at the top of the table.

The day ended on a sad note, as on their way back to Torino, the team coach was involved in a road accident, as a truck collided with a car that became wedged underneath the coach.

No players or staff were injured, but sadly two people lost their lives - Lorenzo Ghedi, 25 and Fabio Massimo Pozzo, 31.

R.I.P Lorenzo and Fabio, our thoughts are with your friends and family.

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