Sunday, 15 January 2012

Torino 2-1 Ascoli

Torino returned to the top of the Serie B table as Mirco Antenucci's brace was enough to see of his former side Ascoli on Saturday afternoon.

Toro had moved down to 2nd place after Sassuolo's narrow 1-0 victory against Nocerina on Friday night, and many pundits wondered how Torino would respond to losing their place at the top. Giampiero Ventura decided to counter Ascoli's 5-3-2 formation by playing a 4-3-3, with Giuseppe De Feudis earning a rare start in the absence of the suspended Manuel Iori.

Torino had the first chance of the match after Migjen Basha's cross found the head of Rolando Bianchi, but the captain struggled to get much power behind the header, and it was easily saved by Ascoli keeper Enrico Guarna. Just before the twenty minute mark, Torino took the lead when Mirco Antenucci received the ball outside the area and curled a fantastic shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

However, Ascoli levelled just ten minutes later after Alex Pederzoli's corner found its way to Matteo Ciofani at the far post who stabbed the ball past Ferdinando Coppola, who was returning to the side after suspension. Torino had a chance to regain the lead, but Rolando Bianchi's poor form in front of goal continued as he headed Mirco Antenucci's cross five yards wide of the post.

Torino started the second half brightly, and midfielder Migjen Basha let fly with an ambitious shot from 35 yards, that was nervously palmed away for a corner. With 25 minutes remained, Torino took the lead for a second time, and once again it was Mirco Antenucci who got the goal. The former Ascoli striker dribbled into the area before unleashing a scuffed shot that somehow found its way underneath away keeper Guarna.

Torino had opportunities to extend their lead when Valerio Di Cesare hit the bar from six yards, whilst Mirco Antenucci came close to scoring his third goal of the afternoon, but his shot went narrowly wide. The visitors nearly made the home side pay for their missed chances, but Papa Waigo's shot was well parried by Coppola, and Alessandro Sbaffo's follow up went wide of the target.

Torino held on for a vital three points that quickly re-established their position as league leaders, ahead of two difficult away games against Cittadella and Varese. With much speculation surrounding the impending arrival of striker Riccardo Meggiorini, it was perhaps expected that Mirco Antenucci would choose this game to remind Giampiero Ventura of his ability. Lets hope that if Meggiorini does arrive, it will also motivate Rolando Bianchi to find his scoring boots.

Forza Torino

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