Thursday, 22 December 2011

Torino FC Christmas Quiz 2011

As it is Christmas, I thought it would be fun to get into the festive spirit by having a quiz. Email your answers to and whoever gets the most correct answers will receive a prize in the New Year. Competition closes on December 31st.

Good Luck.

1. In what year were Torino FC founded?
2. At which club did Angelo Ogbonna once have a loan spell at?
3. How many goals did Valentino Mazzola score for Italy?
4. Which current Torino player began his career at Chelsea?
5. Who did Torino lose to in the 1992 UEFA Cup final?
6. Who is the only man to have managed both Torino and Southampton?
7. Who scored Torino’s first goal of the 2011/12 league season?
8. How many goals did current Juventus player Fabio Quagliarella score for Torino?
9. Which current Torino player once had a spell at Derby County?
10. Which three teams have Torino lost to this season?
11. In which season did Torino have a scudetto revoked?
12. How many times was Paolo Pulici Serie A top scorer?
13. Which Italian World Cup Winner signed for Torino in 2006?
14. Former Torino winger Gigi Meroni was often compared with which player?
15. What nationality was former Torino midfielder Enzo Scifo?
16. How many times have Torino won the scudetto?
17. Which team played Torino in the aftermath of the Superga disaster in order to raise money for the victim’s families?
18. How many goals did Rolando Bianchi score for Torino in Serie A in the 2008/09 season?
19. Who is the odd one out and why? – Gaby Mudingayi, Andrea Mantovani and Alessandro Matri
20. How many goals did Former England defender Tony Dorigo score for Torino?
21. Why was Torino’s match against Padova abandoned earlier this season?
22. In the 2007/8 season, Torino drew 4-4 having been 4-1 down against which team?
23. And who scored two goals in this match for Torino?
24. Which team did ‘Il Grande Torino’ beat 10-0 in the 1947/48 season?
25. When did Torino last beat Juventus?
26. Which current Torino player was born in Varese?
27. How many goals did Nottingham Forest flop Andrea Silenzi score for Torino?
28. Who is Torino’s all-time appearance maker?
29. Against which country did Alessandro Rosina make his Italy debut?
30. Which former Torino player was named African footballer of the year on three occasions?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Mid-Season Review - Player Ratings

As we have nearly reached the half way stage of the Serie B season, I thought it would be appropriate to rate how each member of the Torino squad has done so far this season. Let me know if you disagree with any of the ratings.

Ferdinando Coppola - 6

Coppola has had a mixed start to his Torino career, and he has certainly been at fault for a number of goals this campaign. That being said, it is hard to be too critical of a goalkeeper who has only conceded eleven goals in 20 matches this season.

Danilo D’Ambrosio - 6.5

After a disappointing 2010/11 season, D’Ambrosio has bounced back this campaign and has looked a much better player. There have previously been question marks over his defensive capabilities, but he has improved in that part of the game, and also popped up to score a vital winning goal against Reggina.

Matteo Darmian - 7

Darmian’s score would undoubtedly be much higher had he not suffered an injury against Bari in November. A solid right back who is a defender first and an attacker second, he also chipped in with a winning goal against Empoli in October.

Angelo Ogbonna - 8.5

Angelo finally made his long-awaited Italy debut in November, and if he continues his impressive performances in a Torino shirt there will certainly be many more to come. The talented centre back has hardly put a foot wrong this season, and was outstanding when Torino beat Sampdoria away from home in September.

Valerio Di Cesare - 6.5

The former Vicenza defender hasn’t always been an automatic starter in the team this season, but he has always done well when called upon. In the second half of the season, I would expect to see Di Cesare establish himself as a first choice centre back alongside Angelo Ogbonna.

Francesco Pratali - 6

One of the few players who remain from Torino’s Serie A days, Francesco Pratali is very much a reserve squad player nowadays. That being said, despite only appearing for 307 minutes so far this season, he hasn’t let anybody down when called upon.

Kamil Glik - 6

If I was compiling this list a week ago, Kamil Glik would probably have a higher score than this, but sadly his mistake against Modena is still fresh in the memory. A no-nonsense defender, the Polish defender did provide a valuable assist for Rolando Bianchi's winning goal against Juve Stabia.

Luciano Zavagno - 6

The experienced Argentinean has been second choice left back for much of this season but did provide a vital assist for Danilo D’Ambrosio’s winning goal against Reggina.

Alessandro Parisi - 6

The former Bari full back had a slow start to the season, as he took a while to regain his match fitness. However, he has improved with every game, and even scored the winning goal against Livorno.

Migjen Basha - 7.5

Albanian-Swiss midfielder Migjen Basha signed on loan from Atalanta in the summer, and he has proven to be a fantastic acquisition. A tough tackling player with boundless amounts of energy, Basha’s central midfield partnership with Manuel Iori has been one of the key factors in Torino’s success so far this season.

Manuel Iori - 7.5

It may be unfair to describe Manuel Iori as ‘a poor man’s Andrea Pirlo’ but it would be an accurate description for the deep-lying playmaker. His impressive performances have resulted in him being linked with a move to Fiorentina, so Toro will have to hope that they can keep a hold of him in January.

Biagio Pagano - 5

The former Livorno midfielder missed pre-season due to injury, and has hardly featured for Torino so far this campaign. Therefore, it may be a little unfair to give the winger such a low grade, but he hasn’t done anything of note in his 109 minutes on the pitch this season.

Alen Stevanovic - 7

The Serbian winger has been a revelation this season, and looks a different player to the one who was loaned out to Toronto last year. His incisive wing play has been one of the highlights of the season so far, and in the last game of 2011, he scored a goal of the season contender against Modena.

Giuseppe Vives - 6

The former Lecce captain has struggled to command a regular starting birth since signing in the summer. However, he has still made a vital contribution to the team when Giampiero Ventura has decided to play a 4-3-3 formation, and Vives was particularly impressive against Pescara in December.

Stefano Guberti - 6

Much was expected of Stefano Guberti when he signed on loan from Roma in the summer, but unfortunately, he suffered a serious injury after just four games of the season. The winger should return at some point in 2012, and his quality could be vital in the run-in.

Sergiu Suciu - 6

Romanian midfielder Suciu impressed on loan at Gubbio last season, and this campaign, he has finally been given a chance in the Torino first team. After scoring a vital equaliser against Sampdoria in September, he unfortunately suffered an injury in that match that sidelined him until recently. Whilst he probably won’t be a regular in the second half of the season, he could prove to be a useful member of the squad.

Juan Surraco - 5.5

The Uruguayan winger impressed on loan at Livorno last season, but has failed to replicate that form in a Torino shirt since he signed in the summer. However, it can be said that he has rarely looked fully fit, and the Winter break could give him an opportunity to regain his fitness.

Nnamdi Oduamadi - 6

Pacey winger Nnamdi Oduamadi signed on loan from AC Milan in the summer, and he had a perfect start to his Torino career by scoring the winner against Ascoli on the opening day. Since that game, the Nigerian has struggled with injuries, but could prove to be an important player in 2012, especially by using his blistering pace against tiring defences.

Giuseppe De Feudis - 5.5

One of the few players who impressed last season, De Feudis was re-signed towards the end of the transfer window, but has had to make do with being a reserve player this campaign. The former Cesena player has only appeared in two matches this season, and may look to move on in January

Mirco Antenucci - 6

The former Catania player has found himself playing on the Left Wing on occasion this season due to a number of injuries and has done well in that position. However, he will probably be disappointed with his tally of just two goals in 19 matches, and will look to improve these statistics in the New Year.

Rolando Bianchi - 6.5

So far this season, Toro Captain Rolando Bianchi has been unable to find the net as regularly as he has done in the previous two seasons. However, he has still managed to score vital winning goals against Sampdoria, Vicenza and Juve Stabia, although the fact he hasn’t scored since October 15th continues to be a worry.

Alessandro Sgrigna - 6.5

After being used as a winger for much of last season, Sgrigna has finally been deployed in his favoured position this season. The former Vicenza striker has scored four goals so far this season, including a brace in the impressive 4-1 victory against Pescara.

Giulio Ebagua - 6

Much was expected of Giulio Ebagua when he signed for his boyhood club in the summer, and although he has scored three goals for the club, there is still plenty of room of improvement. One of the most impressive aspects of his game is his hardworking nature, and on occasion, he could perhaps be guilty of trying too hard - although it is a little unfair to criticise any striker who does that.

Simone Verdi - 6

Much like Oduamadi, Simone Verdi had a bright start to his Torino career as he won a penalty in the opening day victory at Ascoli. However, since that match, he has struggled to earn a regular place in the starting eleven. But the former AC Milan winger is still young and has plenty of time to improve.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Modena 2-1 Torino

Despite taking the lead thanks to Alen Stevanovic's wonder goal, Torino lost concentration and conceded two late goals to suffer their third defeat of the season.

Toro made just one change from the side that convincingly beat Pescara last weekend, as Simone Verdi replaced Giuseppe Vives, as the away side reverted to their normal 4-2-4 formation.

It was the home side who made the better start, and within the opening couple of minutes, Francesco Stanco was unlucky to see his diving header hit the bar. Torino responded well as they also hit the woodwork from Simone Verdi's curling free kick.

Alessandro Sgrigna - who scored two goals against Pescara last Saturday, showed some nice footwork outside of the area before unleashing a fierce left footed shot that was well saved by Modena keeper Nicholas Caglioni. And Sgrigna came close to opening the scoring moments later, but his header from Alessandro Parisi's cross was tipped over the bar.

The former Vicenza striker was having a great first half, and he turned provided for Torino's next opportunity. His fantastic left footed cross found strike partner Rolando Bianchi, but his header was off target. The form of Torino's captain is becoming a worry, as Toro's top scorer for the past two seasons has not scored since mid-October.

Ten minutes before half time, Torino took the lead with an early contender for goal of the season. Manuel Iori found Alen Stevanovic with an inch-perfect cross field pass, and the former Inter winger fired a magnificent curling shot into the top corner from 30 yards. Torino had chances before half time to extend their lead, especially through Simone Verdi who could have done better when well placed. Modena also had a chance before the break, but Angelo Ogbonna did well to block Davide Di Gennaro's shot.

Torino were in control of the second half without really creating any clear goalscoring opportunities until the 75th minute, when a mix up between Kamil Glik and Ferdinando Coppola resulted in Giuseppe Greco being brought down and a penalty being awarded. However, for some inexplicable reason, it was Coppola who sent off despite it being quite clear that it was the Polish defended who had committed the foul.

Greco picked himself off the floor to convert the penalty, as he sent Toro's substitute goalkeeper Davide Morello the wrong way. And incredibly, with five minutes remaining, the home side got a winning goal against Torino's ten men when Maurizio Ciaramitaro's scuffed shot somehow found its way into the bottom corner.

Torino will certainly be disappointed to lose their last match of 2011, especially after taking the lead. At half time in this match, Torino had a seven point lead at the top of the table, but it could now just be one point if Hellas Verona beat Varese on Sunday afternoon. That being said, Torino have had a fantastic start to the season, and are certainly on course to gain promotion in 2012.

Forza Torino

Friday, 16 December 2011

Modena V Torino Preview

Torino will be looking to end 2011 on a high with as they face a trip to Modena in their last game before Serie B takes a break for the festive period.

The city of Modena is perhaps best known for being the 'Supercar Capital' of the world, as well as being the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti and Panini football stickers. In recent times their football team has not enjoyed much success, and they have not been in Serie A since 1964.

This season, the home side find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle having only won three games all season. Modena have also lost their last three home games, which included heavy defeats to both Sassuolo and Vicenza, so Toro should fancy their chances of victory.

The away side will be without Valerio Di Cesare who is suffering from flu , whilst Angelo Ogbonna, Alessandro Parisi, Migjen Basha, Alen Stevanovic, Alessandro Sgrigna and Rolando Bianchi should all return to the starting eleven after they all missed the "defeat" to Padova in the 14 minute match on Wednesday.

Forza Torino

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Padova 1-0 Torino (Last 14 Minutes)

Finally, eleven days after these two sides first met - the Padova v Torino saga was finally completed as the home side managed to hold to their advantage from the first match to claim a 1-0 victory.

As you will remember, the original match was abandoned after 76 minutes due to floodlight failure, and it was eventually decided that the remaining fourteen minutes would be played on Wednesday afternoon.

Giampiero Ventura resisted the temptation to play a team full of attacking minded players - and instead lined up in his usual 4-4-2 (or 4-2-4) formation with Simone Verdi, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Guilio Ebagua and Biagio Pagano leading the line.

Torino had a number of chances to get an equaliser, with Valerio Di Cesare coming close, but he could only volley Manuel Iori's free kick over the bar. Padova also came close to extending their lead, but former Toro loanee Dejan Lazarevic had his shot blocked by a defender.

In the closing stages of the mini match, Torino brought on Kamil Glik as an auxiliary striker, but despite a number of half-hearted penalty appeals, Toro could not find an equaliser.

Whilst Toro will be disappointed to lose their second match of the season, although given the unusual circumstances surrounding this match, they shouldn't lose any momentum from this defeat and should be able to continue their good form. And Torino can now concentrate on there next match against Modena on Saturday - the last game before the winter break.

Forza Torino

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Padova 1-0 Torino (Last 14 Minutes) Preview

On Monday afternoon, Torino's appeal to have a 3-0 victory awarded in their favour (after the original match between the two teams was abandoned due to floodlight failure) was turned down.

That means that on Wednesday afternoon, Torino will travel to Padova in order to play the last 14 minutes of the match, that currently stands at 1-0 to the home side.

So what tactics does a team employ for a 14 minute game of football? With Torino 1-0 down they may decide that they have nothing to lose and go all out in search of an equaliser. Whilst Padova may be content to defend their lead and attempt to hit Torino on the counter attack.

The fact that Giampiero Ventura has not even included Alen Stevanovic, Angelo Ogbonna and Rolando Bianchi in the squad for this 'mini' match suggests that Toro are not willing to risk serious injuries to key players in a match the players will spend more time on the coach to Padova than on the football pitch.

Instead Torino have turned to the younger and less established members of the squad such as Simone Verdi and Nnamdi Oduamadi in order to get something from this match. Primavera products Abou Diop, Emanuele Gatto and Marco Chiosa have also been included in the squad and their eagerness to impress could be vital.

The three players who were originally suspended for this match, Parisi, Vives and Basha are all ineligible for this game, as are Mirco Antenucci and Alessandro Sgrigna as they had already been substituted by the time the floodlights failed - yet Abou Diop, who wasn't even in Padova at the time of the original match, is eligible.

Without having to conserve energy for an entire 90 minutes we should expect a high tempo encounter, that at times, could resemble a basketball match than a game of football.

Whilst it is farcical that Torino find themselves in this situation, lets hope Toro have enough time to get something out of this match, and earn a vital point in their quest for promotion. And if nothing else, I'm sure this saga will provide an intriguing trivia question for years to come.

Forza Torino

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Torino 4-2 Pescara

Torino recorded their most impressive victory of the season, as they thrashed Pescara 4-2 to maintain their four point lead at the top of Serie B.

Torino made three changes from the abandoned match against Padova, as the three players who were suspended for that match - Alessandro Parisi, Migjen Basha and Giuseppe Vives came into the starting eleven. The inclusion of Vives meant that Torino did not play their usual 4-4-2 formation, and instead lined up in a 4-3-3 in order to match up with their opponents.

In the opening stages, Torino had a very good case for a penalty turned down when Giuseppe Vives made a run into the area and the midfielder seemed to be upended by Damiano Zanon, but for some reason the referee did not point to the spot. It was then the visitors turn to feel aggrieved when Ciro Immobile had a goal disallowed for offside, but replays showed that the goal should have stood.

Thanks to the open attacking game that the visitors were playing, Torino were able to create numerous chances, with Rolando Bianchi, Alessandro Sgrigna and Alen Stevanovic all going close. Then seven minutes before the break, Torino took the lead when Manuel Iori's floated cross found Migjen Basha, whose deft touch diverted it into the net - his first goal for the club.

Minutes later, Torino should have doubled their lead when Alen Stevanovic got to the byline and crossed for Rolando Bianchi, but somehow, the Torino captain failed to make contact with the ball from two yards out, and instead he could only collide with the post.

It looked as though that miss could prove to be crucial for Torino, as just three minutes into the second half, Pescara were level. On loan Juventus striker Ciro Immobile ran past Kamil Glik with ease before opening out his body to curl the ball into the bottom corner.

However, Pescara were not on level terms for long, as just five minutes later Torino regained the lead in bizarre circumstances. A long ball by Danilo D'Ambrosio was intercepted by a diving header from the onrushing Pescara keeper Luca Anania, but the ball fell to Giuseppe Vives, and with the goalkeeper off his line, Vives kept his cool and side footed the ball into the empty net from 35 yards.

Ten minutes later, Torino extended their lead, this time Danilo D'Ambrosio found Alessandro Sgrigna, who broke the offside trap and was given time and space before calmly finishing past Anania. And the former Vicenza striker scored again to put the result beyond any doubt, when Migjen Basha's through ball exploited the high line of the Pescara defence one more, and Sgrigna rounded the keeper to claim his second goal of the match.

Toro will be disappointed that their concentration levels dropped in the closing stages, as in injury time, a careless back pass from D'Ambrosio was intercepted by Immobile, as he scored his eleventh goal of the season. However, Torino can be pleased with the performance as they convincingly beat one of their promotion rivals, although they were aided by some terrible defending by the visitors.

Forza Torino

Friday, 9 December 2011

Torino V Pescara Preview

After the controversy surrounding last weekend's abandoned match against Padova, Torino will be wanting to return to normality on Saturday afternoon when they face Pescara at home.

A decision has still not been made regarding the conclusion of the Padova match, and although tentative arrangements have been made to play the remaining fourteen minutes of that match on December 14th, although that may be postponed if Torino's appeal is successful, and we should know more on Monday.

It is a shame that last weekends abandonment could overshadow a fascinating encounter against third placed Pescara, who are coached by Zdeněk Zeman. The Czech tactician is one of the most recognisable figures in Italian football, and his teams are famed for their ultra attacking style. That has certainly been the case this season, as Pescara have already scored 38 goals this season (Torino have only scored 20), with 27 of those goals coming from strike trio Marco Sansovini, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.

After being suspended last weekend, Giuseppe Vives, Migjen Basha and Alessandro Parisi will all return to the squad and all three could come into the starting eleven. Rolando Bianchi, who returned from his own suspension last weekend, will be looking to find his scoring boots once again, as il capitano has not scored since October 15th.

Forza Torino

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Padova 1-0 Torino (Abandoned after 76 Minutes)

Torino's match against Padova finished prematurely and in farcical circumstances on Saturday afternoon, as the game was abandoned after 76 minutes due to continued floodlight failure, with the home side 1-0 up.

Whilst match began in torrential rain, the first half was able to start without any problems, with Torino including Rolando Bianchi in the side after suspension, and Giuseppe De Feudis was given his first start of the season in midfield.

Padova started the match brightly, and Daniele Cacia twice should have opened the scoring for the home side, especially on the second occasion when he was one on one with Ferdinando Coppola but somehow managed to put it wide.

The problems first arose at the beginning of the second half, as just before the two teams came out onto the pitch, the floodlights turned off for the first time. However, after a slight delay the second half resumed, although soon afterwards, play was halted again as the floodlights turned off for a second time.

And it was in these uncertain circumstances that Padova took the lead, as Francesco Ruopolo diverted Francesco Renzetti's cross past a helpless Coppola. Although due to the constant interruptions, it was perhaps understandable that Torino conceded at this time.

Torino made two changes as they looked to get back on level terms, with Giulio Ebagua and Simone Verdi coming on, and within seconds they combined to set up Rolando Bianchi, whose shot was well saved by Mattia Perin. And the home side's young goalkeeper also did well to deny Angelo Ogbonna from the resulting corner.

With fifteen minutes remaining, the pitch was plunged into darkness once again, and this time the floodlights did not regain power and the match was abandoned. Initially, the original plan was to play the remaining fifteen minutes on Sunday afternoon, although Torino were unhappy with this idea, as they believed that the whole second half should be replayed as that was when the floodlight problems arose.

Therefore, the decision on when the remainder of this match will be replayed has been delayed, and there has even been some discussion that Torino could be awarded a 3-0 victory because it was the home side who had the problems. This does seem a little unlikely, as well as being a little unfair on Padova - although to be honest, I don't think any Toro fan would complain too much if they were awarded the points.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Padova V Torino Preview

In the final game of last season, it was Torino's defeat to Padova that ended their hopes of gaining promotion via the playoffs. This season, Torino are aiming for automatic promotion and will be looking to maintain or even extend their five point lead at the top of Serie B, with victory against Padova on Saturday.

Torino are boosted by the return of Rolando Bianchi, who is back with the squad after serving a two match suspension. However, Toro will be without midfield duo Migjen Basha and Giuseppe Vives, who will have to serve their own suspensions after both having gained their fourth yellow cards of the season against Livorno last Saturday.

Padova are currently seven points behind Torino in fourth place, and head into this game on the back of an impressive 1-0 away win against fellow promotion contenders Sassuolo.