Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Torino 1-4 Hellas Verona

Torino had a night to forget on Monday as they lost their unbeaten home record with an unexpected 4-1 defeat to Hellas Verona.

Toro made just the two changes from the side that beat Grosseto last weekend, as Valerio Di Cesare came in for the suspended Kamil Glik and Rolando Bianchi replaced Riccardo Meggiorini upfront.

The away side started brightly, almost as if they knew that a victory in this match was vital to keep their chances of automatic promotion alive. Therefore, it was not a surprise when Hellas took the lead on twenty-four minutes, when Panagiotis Tachtsidis' back heel took four Toro defenders out of the game and allowed Juanito Gomez to score from fifteen yards out.

Torino had a half chance to equalise immediately when Alessandro Parisi's cross found Rolando Bianchi, but his header was off target. Instead, it was Hellas who nearly scored a spectacular second goal when Matthias Lepiller's audacious 30 yard volley forced a good save from Francesco Benussi.

However, just eight minutes before half time, Hellas did double their lead when Tachtsidis' fine left footed cross was stabbed past the on rushing Benussi by Nicola Ferrari. Toro made one change at half time as Alessandro Sgrigna replaced Nnamdi Oduamadi, but that made little difference, and just eleven minutes after the break Hellas added a third when Lepiller's free kick was headed home by Gomez.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Hellas defender Domenico Maietta scored a spectacular fourth goal as he intercepted the ball in his own half before continuing his run, he then knocked the ball past substitute defender Francesco Pratali before finally lobbing Benussi from 30 yards. Whilst it was certainly a 'Goal of the Season' contender, questions could be asked why the Toro keeper was so far off his line.

Torino got a late consolation goal towards the end of the match, when Giuseppe Vives' wayward shot was diverted goal wards by substitute Sgrigna who finished well. However, there was to be no miraculous comeback and Toro lost by more than a one goal margin for the first time this season, and Hellas closed the gap between the teams to just two points.

Whilst this embarrassing defeat is undoubtedly a major blow to Torino's promotion hopes, the fact that it was such a surprise speaks volumes about Toro's consistent performances this season. Hopefully, the team will be able to forget this performance as quickly as possible, and remember that it is just one game. Toro will have a chance to make amends on Saturday when they face Juve Stabia, and that should tell us a lot more about the character of this Torino team.

Forza Torino

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