Monday, 30 April 2012

Livorno V Torino Preview

Torino's busy week continues as they face their third match in six days when they travel to Livorno on Tuesday evening.

Alessandro Parisi has not travelled with the squad because he is in need of a rest, so Luciano Zavagno should deputise. Elsewhere, captain Rolando Bianchi will be looking to start after once again being on the bench against Crotone.

Opponents Livorno have had a difficult couple of weeks following the tragic death of their midfielder Piermario Morosini. Unsurprisingly, with the squad still coming to terms with the loss of a teammate, Livorno's form has dipped since the incident - losing against both Cittadella and Ascoli. Those defeats have left the Tuscan side in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle, and although they should have enough to avoid the drop, they will need to start winning soon.

Livorno 1-3 Torino

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Torino 2-1 Crotone

Torino recovered from the disappointment of losing three points in the courts on Friday evening by claiming a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Crotone.

The controversial decision to award Torino a 3-0 victory after December's match against Padova (that was abandoned due to floodlight failure) has now been overturned, so Torino went into this match level on points with Sassuolo who were victorious last night.

Torino made a few changes from the team that beat Reggina on Wednesday, with Alessandro Sgrigna, Stefano Guberti and Nnamdi Oduamadi coming into the team. Torino had the perfect start after just three minutes when Sgrigna's corner was met by a thumping header from Kamil Glik, as the Polish international scored his second goal for the club.

The visitors had a fantastic opportunity to equalise soon afterwards, but French defender Kevin Vinetot missed the target despite having a free header from a set piece. Crotone were made to pay for that miss six minutes before Half Time as Mirco Antenucci crossed perfectly for striker partner Alessandro Sgrigna to head home from six yards.

On the hour mark, Crotone were given a lifeline when the referee pointed to the spot after Angelo Ogbonna was adjudged to have fouled Brazilian striker Caetano Calil. It seemed to be an extremely harsh decision to award a penalty as it looked as though Ogbonna had lost his footing before unintentionally bumping into the player. However, despite the bewildered Italian international protesting his innocence, Calil stepped up to take the penalty himself and he sent Francesco Benussi the wrong way to reduce the deficit.

That goal meant the momentum was with the Calabrians, and Calil almost scored again moments later, but his 20 yard strike was palmed away by Benussi. Crotone's goalkeeper Vid Belec almost gifted Toro a third goal when his attempted pass was intercepted by Giuseppe Vives, but the Slovenian stopper made amends to deny the experienced midfielder.

Torino were able to see out the rest of the match without any serious scares, and this victory puts them two points clear of 2nd placed Pescara. Toro will have an opportunity to extend their lead on Tuesday evening, although they face difficult looking fixture away to Livorno.

Forza Torino

Friday, 27 April 2012

Torino V Crotone Preview

Torino will look to extend their lead at the top of the table when they face in-form Crotone at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.

Wingers Alen Stevanovic and Juan Surraco will miss out through injury, so Stefano Guberti could be recalled to the starting eleven. If Giampiero Ventura decides to revert to a 4-2-4 formation, then Cristian Pasquato could finally earn his first start in a Torino shirt.

Visitors Crotone will make the long journey north to Turin confident of gaining a positive result after picking up impressive victories against Padova, Sampdoria and Hellas Verona in recent weeks. That run of good form under the stewardship of caretaker manager Massimo Drago has seen the Calabrians move away from the relegation zone.

Torino 2-1 Crotone

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Torino 1-0 Reggina

Torino extended their lead at the top of the Serie B table to four points as they held on to beat Reggina 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon.

The original match was abandoned almost three weeks ago at Half Time with Torino leading 1-0 thanks to Kamil Glik's header, therefore only the Second Half needed to be played. Toro lined up in an attacking formation with three genuine strikers - Mirco Antenucci, Rolando Bianchi and Riccardo Meggiorini leading the line.

The home side nearly extended their lead in the early stages of the half, but both Mirco Antenucci and Rolando Bianchi were denied by away keeper Emanuele Belardi. At the other end, Reggina had a half chance to deny Torino the three points, but Gabriele Angella's looping header went harmlessly wide.

In the end, Torino seemed happy with holding on to their advantage from the First Half that was played on April 6th, and they managed to do that with relative ease. Although Toro currently have a four point advantage over nearest rivals Hellas Verona, that could change on Friday when Padova seek to get a 3-0 victory that was awarded to Toro earlier in the season overturned. If Padova are successful, then Torino's advantage would just be a point, meaning that Saturday's home match against Crotone would be even more significant.

Forza Torino

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Torino V Reggina (2nd Half) Preview

After being abandoned at Half-Time due to torrential rain on April 6th, Torino and Reggina will finally get the opportunity to finish their match on Wednesday afternoon.

As Toro fans will already know after the Padova debacle earlier in the season, Serie B rules state that any matches that are abandoned should be resumed from when the game was stopped. Therefore, Torino will go into the match with a 1-0 advantage given to them by Kamil Glik's header almost three weeks ago.

It will be interesting to see how Torino approach a match that will only be 45 minutes long, and they will hopefully not just defend and attempt to hold on to their lead. Giampiero Ventura has hinted in his pre-match press conference that the team will line up in a 4-3-3 formation as they did in the original match, and will probably name the exact same starting eleven.

Perhaps for the first time in football history, a team will have a different manager for the Second Half of a match than they did for the First Half, as Reggina sacked Angelo Gregucci on April 15th and replaced him with former coach Roberto Breda. That change seems to have worked as the Calabrians recorded an impressive 4-0 victory at Nocerina on Saturday to keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive.

Torino 1-0 Reggina

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bari 0-0 Torino

Torino moved a point clear of Hellas Verona at the top of the Serie B table,after a 0-0 draw with mid-table Bari.

Giampiero Ventura resisted the temptation to give on loan Juventus winger Cristian Pasquato his first start for the club, as Toro lined up with Rolando Bianchi, Mirco Antenucci and Alen Stevanovic as their attacking outlets.

The home side made a bright start, and after a short corner, Adrian Stoian fooled two Toro defenders, but no Bari players were able to divert his drilled cross goalwards. At the other end, a clever free kick routine gave Mirco Antenucci an opportunity to open the scoring, but he was denied by a stunning save from Eugenio Lamanna.

However, the young Romanian Stoian continued to be a threat for Bari, and the on loan Roma midfielder glided past Kamil Glik before curling his shot narrowly wide of the post. In an open first half, Toro also created chances, and Lamanna was forced to make another great save from Rolando Bianchi's overhead kick that was set up by an imaginative flick from Antenucci.

Former Bari player Alessandro Parisi had Torino's first chance of the second half, but his fierce 30 yard free kick went just wide. Substitutes Danilo D'Ambrosio and Alessandro Sgrigna both had half chances to open the scoring, but Lamanna wasn't made to repeat the heroics of the first half and he easily saved both shots.

In the closing stages, neither side could find a breakthrough and in the end, both teams seemed relatively happy with the draw. With Hellas Verona and Sassuolo both losing, it meant that Torino were able to extend their lead at the top of the table ahead of an important week in which they can move a step nearer to promotion.

On Wednesday, Toro will play the remaining 45 minutes of the match against Reggina that was abandoned due to rain a fortnight ago. With Torino 1-0 ahead they will certainly be looking to gain maximum points, and on Saturday, the home fixture against Crotone looks winnable, despite the Calabrian sides impressive home win against Verona.

Forza Toro

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bari V Torino Preview

Torino will make the long journey south to Bari on Saturday afternoon to face Giampiero Ventura's former side, as they look to cement their position at the top of the Serie B table.

Toro have not completed a match for three weeks after the home match against Reggina was abandoned at half time due to torrential rain, whilst last week's fixture against Sassuolo was postponed after the tragic death of Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini.

After playing a 4-3-3 formation against Reggina, Toro may revert back to Ventura's favoured 4-2-4 formation against Bari, and Cristian Pasquato may be included in the starting eleven for the first time since arriving in January.

Bari have endured a difficult season following their relegation from Serie A, and their campaign has also been disrupted by their rumoured involvement in the Calcio Scomesse match fixing scandal that has rocked Italian football.

On the field, Bari are currently in ensconced in mid-table with little hope of reaching the playoffs. Interestingly, the club has actually fared much better away from home this season - although there was little evidence of this in their last outing, a 4-1 defeat at Hellas Verona.

Bari 1-2 Torino

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Torino 1-0 Reggina (Match Abandoned at Half Time)

For the second time this season Torino started a game but didn't finish it as their game against Reggina was abandoned at half time due to torrential rain with the home side leading at 1-0.

Kamil Glik, Giuseppe De Feudis, Alen Stevanovic and Rolando Bianchi came into the starting eleven with Toro lining up in a 4-3-3 formation.

Torino took the lead after fifteen minutes thanks to Kamil Glik's bullet header from Alessandro Parisi's free kick from the right wing.

However that goal spurred the away side into life, and Francesco Benussi had to make good saves to deny Nicolas Viola and Emiliano Bonazzoli. Antonino BarillĂ  also came close to getting an equaliser, but his long range shot hit the post before being cleared away by Matteo Darmian.

However, an incredible downpour of rain in Turin before the start of the second half left the pitch unplayable, and the referee abandoned the match at half time. As the rules state in Italian football, the game will be restarted for the second half with the home side 1-0 ahead, and although their was speculation that the match would be rearranged for Saturday, it is more likely to be replayed in May.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Torino V Reggina Preview

Torino have yet to suffer successive defeats so far this season, so after being beaten in their last outing at Empoli, history suggests they should get a result at home to Reggina on Friday evening.

Manuel Iori is suspended so should be replaced by Giuseppe Vives, whilst Kamil Glik, Alen Stevanovic and Rolando Bianchi are also expected to start. Torino won the reverse fixture in November thanks to a late goal by Danilo D'Ambrosio, and he could come into the starting eleven if Giampiero Ventura wants a more attacking option at right back.

Reggina are currently in ninth place, five points away from the final playoff position so will be looking to win in order to keep their dreams of promotion alive. Torino's opponents have struggled on the road recently, losing their last 3 away matches, but the fact that their last away win was against promotion contenders Pescara shows that they are a good side.

Torino 2-0 Reggina

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Empoli 1-0 Torino

Torino's hopes of gaining automatic promotion suffered another set back on Saturday afternoon as they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against struggling Empoli.

Valerio Di Cesare and Manuel Iori came back into the starting eleven, and in a surprise move, Riccardo Meggiorini was preferred to Rolando Bianchi upfront.

The home side had the first half chance of the match when Massimo Maccarone's scuffed shot nearly found the bottom corner but was cleared away from goal by Alessandro Parisi.

Toro should have taken the lead soon afterwards as Mirco Antenucci went on a fantastic run down the left wing, but his finish let him down and his shot went wide of the post. And the away side were made to pay for that miss as Empoli took the lead on 24 minutes when former Middlesbrough striker Maccarone found the bottom corner with a fierce low strike from distance.

Stefano Guberti should have scored an instant equaliser for Torino, but his curling shot from just outside of the area once again went wide. Riccardo Meggiorini also came close to scoring just his second goal in a Toro shirt, but his header was well tipped over the bar by Empoli keeper Renato Dossena.

Empoli nearly went in at the break two goals ahead when Torino failed to deal with a free kick, but Francesco Benussi produced a fine save to deny Antonio Buscè.

After bringing on Alen Stevanovic at Half Time, Giampiero Ventura also brought on Cristian Pasquato and Rolando Bianchi in order to find a breakthrough, but Toro were only creating half chances, with Antenucci probably coming the closest with a long range shot.

Toro nearly got their equaliser in bizarre circumstances when Cristian Pasquato's tame shot from 25 yards was dropped by Dossena, but luckily for him, the ball went out for a corner and not into the net. The home keeper made amends for that mistake when he made good saves from both Rolando Bianchi and Pasquato in the closing stages, and that was enough for the Tuscan side to gain a vital victory.

Whilst Torino's form continues to be a worry (4 points from a possible 12), they still find themselves top of the table, as once again rivals Pescara and Sassuolo failed to capitalise. With two home games on the horizon, including one against Sassuolo, Toro will know that a return to their early season form is a must if they are to avoid the agonising pain of the playoffs.

Forza Torino