Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Torino FC Goal of the Season 2011/12

After a fantastic season that concluded with Torino finally gaining promotion to Serie A, a number of fantastic goals were scored by Toro players.

Watch the video below, and then vote for your favourite goal on the poll. Enjoy.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Torino FC Player of the Season Awards 2011/12

It is has been a great season to be a Torino fan, as they finally succeeded in gaining promotion back to Serie A - and it is now your chance to have your say on which Toro player has performed the best.

There are three categories on which to vote - Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season and Signing of the Season - and the nominations are below.

Player of the Season

Angelo Ogbonna  

After finally making his Italy debut in November, it is no surprise that Angelo Ogbonna is one of the nominations for Torino Player of the Season. Arguably the most consistent player in the team, you would probably be able to count the number of costly mistakes he has made this season on one hand. His outstanding performance in September’s victory away at Sampdoria cemented Toro’s position as promotion contenders, and despite playing over 3700 minutes this season, he has only received three yellow cards.

Migjen Basha 

It is difficult to pick just one of Torino’s regular central midfielders to be nominated for this award, but it is the Swiss-Albanian Migjen Basha who gets the nod. A hardworking but talented player, Migjen has impressed in his debut season and became a big fan favourite – as illustrated by the Undici Basha (Eleven Basha’s) banner that has been seen at many games this season.

Mirco Antenucci 

Despite scoring six goals last season after arriving in January, there were still question marks regarding whether Mirco Antenucci was worthy of the Toro shirt. However, those critics have been proved wrong, as ten goals and numerous assists - from a player who began the season on the wing have proved vital. His magnificent goal in April against Padova showed what he is capable of, and he will be looking to demonstrate that in Serie A next season.

Alen Stevanovic 

After spending last season on loan at Toronto FC in the MLS, it looked as though Alen Stevanovic’s days at Toro were numbered. However since returning in the summer, the Serbian winger has flourished in Giampiero Ventura’s 4-2-4 formation, so much so that he was briefly linked with an unlikely transfer to Manchester United.

Rolando Bianchi 

Many may disagree with this final nomination, but I have decided to nominate Rolando Bianchi - perhaps not for his performance this season, but for his displays in the previous two campaigns. His tally of eight goals this season is disappointing by his high standards, but he did score important winning goals against Ascoli, Vicenza, Sampdoria and Juve Stabia. Bianchi’s contributions in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons should also not be forgotten by Toro fans, as without his 43 goals in those campaigns, I dread to think where Torino would have finished.

Young Player of the Season (23 or under)

Nnamdi Oduamadi 

When Nnamdi Oduamadi arrived on loan from AC Milan in the summer, not much was expected from the Nigerian winger - with many believing fellow signing Simone Verdi to be the better prospect. However, ‘Odu’ has looked good whenever he has been called upon, with his pace troubling many a full back - and his tally of three goals in just eleven appearances is very impressive.

Danilo D’Ambrosio 

After signing in January 2010, it has taken a while for Danilo to fulfil his obvious potential – however this season has undoubtedly been his best in a Torino shirt. Despite not being first choice, he has done well when called upon at full back, and scored a vital winning goal at Reggina in November.

Matteo Darmian 

Matteo Darmian has been one of Torino’s most consistent performers this season and is a throwback to the full backs of yesteryear, whose ability to defend outweighs their ability to attack. The former Milan defender also chipped in with one goal against Empoli, and also impressed towards the end of the season when forced to play at centre back.

Alen Stevanovic 

The only player to be nominated in two categories, it is difficult to believe that Alen Stevanovic is only 21 years of age. Whilst a big money move away from the club looks unlikely on the basis of just one full season, his magnificent goal against Modena showed what he is capable of.

Sergiu Suciu 

Perhaps the surprise inclusion in this category, Romanian midfielder Suciu only made four appearances for Toro in a season curtailed by injury, but his contribution in one of those matches justifies his nomination. Because it was Suciu who (against the run of play) scored the equaliser against Sampdoria in September and provided the platform for Toro to win that match and announce themselves has serious promotion challengers.

Signing of the Season

Giuseppe Vives 

Many eyebrows were raised when Giuseppe Vives moved to Torino in the summer despite being Lecce’s captain and a regular in Serie A. Those eyebrows were raised even higher (almost to Carlo Ancelotti proportions) when he struggled to nail down a place in the Toro starting eleven. However in the second half of the season, Vives’ quality came to the fore, and a number of excellent performances and crucial assists were a vital factor in Torino gaining promotion. 

Manuel Iori 

Manuel Iori began the season in fine form after signing on loan from Chievo, and his assist to Mirco Antenucci away to Nocerina illustrated his potential as a regista. Unfortunately his form did tail off towards the end of the season, but that was possibly due to the fatigue after playing so many matches.

Kamil Glik 

The term ‘uncompromising defender’ is probably the best description of Polish international Kamil Glik, and he formed a fantastic defensive partnership with the more elegant Angelo Ogbonna this season. Towards the end of the season he used his fantastic heading ability to score two important goals, and whilst he will be disappointed that he has not been included in Poland’s 23 man squad for the Euros, that should not take anything away from a magnificent season.

Alessandro Parisi 

Experienced full back Alessandro Parisi has had some troubling times on and off the field this season, but the fact he was one of only five men to play over 3000 minutes for Toro this season justifies his nomination. Although he is not the player he once was, on occasion he did display the quality that helped him earn a solitary Italy cap in 2004.

Stefano Guberti 

Many fans were excited when Torino were able to acquire Stefano Guberti on loan from Roma in the summer, but unfortunately injuries have prevented him from becoming a regular member of the team. However, despite playing just eight matches – he was able to assist two goals and undoubtedly would have contributed more had he not been unlucky with injury.

How to Vote

Now the important part, if you would like to vote in for these awards - all you need to do is send an email to torinoblogger@hotmail.co.uk and rank the five players from 1-5 in each category. The player who is ranked 1st will be awarded 5 points, and the player ranked 5th will be awarded 1 point - this should hopefully be the best and easiest way to crown a winner for each award.

E.G - If you believe that Alessandro Parisi has been the 'Signing of the Season' and Stefano Guberti is the least worthy of the players nominated - then your email may look like this.

1. Alessandro Parisi
2. Giuseppe Vives
3. Kamil Glik
4. Manuel Iori
5. Stefano Guberti

Hopefully I've made this as uncomplicated as possible, and remember to vote for all three categories in your email. The voting will end after the Serie B Playoff Final 2nd Leg on June 9th.

AlbinoLeffe 0-0 Torino

Torino could not find a breakthrough against AlbinoLeffe in their last league game of the 2011/12 season, which meant that Pescara were crowned Serie B champions.

As expected, Toro made a number of changes from the team that secured promotion last Sunday - with Lys Gomis and Salvatore Masiello both making their Torino debuts.

Toro came close to opening the scoring almost immediately, but Alessandro Sgrigna's shot hit the bar from Simone Verdi's low cross. Towards the end of the half, it was Sgrigna who nearly scored a fantastic long range goal, but his shot was tipped over the bar by AlbinoLeffe keeper Daniel Offredi.

Despite creating numerous goalscoring chances, the half ended on a sour note for Toro as Sergiu Suciu - who has struggled with injury all season - was stretchered off and replaced by Giuseppe Vives.

After the break, Toro continued to dominate, and Simone Verdi twice came close to scoring - but on both occasions he was denied by Offredi. Mirco Antenucci had three great chances in the closing stages - the best of which a free header from Juan Surraco's cross, but a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing meant this match would remain goalless.

A draw was almost enough for Toro to become league winners, but a late goal from Riccardo Maniero in Pescara meant that is was Zdeněk Zeman's side, who were (probably deservedly) crowned champions. However, this slight disappointment should not take anything away from a fantastic season for Torino in which they have gained promotion to Serie A after a three year absence.

Forza Torino

Ci Vediamo in Serie A (See you in Serie A) 

Friday, 25 May 2012

AlbinoLeffe V Torino Preview

The 2011/12 season has been a fantastic one for Torino, and if they beat AlbinoLeffe on Saturday evening, they will be crowned Serie B champions and end the season in style.

With promotion already secured, Giampiero Ventura will use this match as an opportunity to thank the members of the squad who have not played regularly this season - with Lys Gomis, Salvatore Masiello, Francesco Pratali, Sergiu Suciu and Simone Verdi all expected to start. With Captain Rolando Bianchi injured, and vice-captain Angelo Ogbonna on international duty, it will be interesting to see which player is given the honour of captaining the team.

AlbinoLeffe have already been relegated, so this match has little significance to them - although they will be eager to give their home fans (albeit not many of them) a good performance in what could be their last Serie B fixture for a few years.

AlbinoLeffe 1-2 Torino

Monday, 21 May 2012

Torino 2-0 Modena

Torino will be playing Serie A football for the first time in three seasons after their 2-0 victory over Modena on Sunday afternoon secured promotion.

Captain Rolando Bianchi was injured so Mirco Antenucci and Riccardo Meggiorini led the line, whilst Migjen Basha's absence gave Nnamdi Oduamadi a rare start.

In front of a sold out Stadio Olimpico, Toro made a bright start knowing that it was essential to get an early goal to ensure that the fans did not get nervous. Mirco Antenucci's had a great chance to add to his tally of ten goals, but Modena keeper Nicholas Caglioni did well to deny him.

Riccardo Meggiorini, Nnamdi Oduamadi and Juan Surraco all came close to scoring within the opening twenty minutes, but a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing meant that it remained scoreless. However, midway through the first half, Torino did get the goal that their domination deserved as Meggiorini's shot rebounded into the path of Oduamadi who scored at the second attempt.

At the other end, a quick counter attack gave Modena their first chance of the match, but Matteo Ardemagni's shot was well saved by Francesco Benussi.

In the second half, Mirco Antenucci should have put the result beyond doubt, but he was only able to divert Juan Surraco's cross over the bar.  Danilo D'Ambrosio also had a great chance to score for the second game in a row, but his header was saved by Caglioni.

However, with seven minutes remaining, Torino finally confirmed that they would be playing Serie A football next season, as Giuseppe Vives' clever cut back was side footed in by an unlikely source - substitute Giuseppe De Feudis.

That goal sparked wild celebrations in the stadium, and although Pescara's victory against Sampdoria sealed their promotion as well, Torino will be confirmed as Serie B champions next weekend if they beat Albinoleffe next Sunday.

Instead of playing against the likes of Crotone, Cittadella and Gubbio like they did this season - next season, Torino will now be facing Milan, Inter and Juventus - with the derby being the fixture most Toro fans are  looking forward to the most.

Forza Torino

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Torino V Modena Preview

After three seasons in Italy's second tier, Torino can confirm promotion to Serie A if they beat Modena on Sunday afternoon.

Toro will be without the injured Rolando Bianchi, so Mirco Antenucci and Riccardo Meggiorini are expected to start upfront. Alen Stevanovic and Cristian Pasquato have both returned to the squad, and the latter will be looking to start against his former side.

Modena are firmly ensconced in mid-table, and have little to play for in the two remaining games of the season - apart from their own personal pride. However, they were victorious in the reverse fixture back in December, so they are definitely capable of ruining Torino's promotion party.

Torino 2-0 Modena

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Torino 3-0 Sassuolo

Torino are on the verge of returning to Serie A after an impressive 3-0 victory against promotion rivals Sassuolo on Tuesday evening.

Once again Giampiero Ventura made a number of changes from the side that were beaten at Pescara, as Alessandro Parisi, Giuseppe Vives, Juan Surraco, Rolando Bianchi and Riccardo Meggiorini all came into the starting eleven.

After Hellas Verona failed to beat Albinoleffe on Monday, both sides knew that victory would put them within touching distance of promotion. It was the home side who started the brightest, with Rolando Bianchi volleying wide in the opening ten minutes. However, Torino's top scorer for the last two seasons was later forced off with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Mirco Antenucci.

Experienced midfielder Giuseppe Vives who has impressed in recent weeks came agonisingly close to opening the scoring, but his curling shot from 30 yards out hit the post. However, on the half hour mark, Torino did take the lead when Vives' corner was headed in by Danilo D'Ambrosio to score his sixth goal for the club - five of which have been with his head.

The away side almost levelled before half time, after a rare mistake by Angelo Ogbonna put Gianluca Sansone through on goal, but his shot was saved by Francesco Benussi. And Sassuolo were made to pay for that miss, as five minutes after the break Torino doubled their lead - and incredibly it came from a long range Alessandro Parisi's drilled free kick.

Parisi has taken the majority of Toro's set pieces this season with no goals coming to fruition, but on this occasion, his strike could only be parried by Alberto Pomini - and after good work from Mirco Antenucci, Migjen Basha was on hand to score. Fifteen minutes later the away side had a fantastic opportunity to get back into the match when they were awarded a penalty after Basha had fouled Carl Valeri.

However, Sassuolo striker Gianluca Sansone could not take that opportunity as he blazed his penalty over the bar. And with ten minutes remaining, Torino put the result beyond any doubt after good work from Giuseppe Vives down the left wing allowed Riccardo Meggiorini to score for the second consecutive home game.

The importance of this victory was not lost on either the players or the fans (some of whom invaded the pitch after the final whistle) as it now means that Torino are just two points away from promotion. Toro's long-awaited return to Serie A can be sealed with a victory at home against Modena on Sunday, and should that victory be forthcoming then Turin will once again be painted Granata in celebration.

Forza Torino

Monday, 14 May 2012

Torino V Sassuolo Preview

Torino face yet another massive game in the race for promotion as they face third placed Sassuolo on Tuesday evening.

Alessandro Parisi and Giuseppe Vives have returned to the squad following suspension and should return to the starting eleven. However, Alen Stevanovic has been rested, and Cristian Pasquato is absent due a fever, so there will certainly be changes in the attacking third.

Opponents Sassuolo have shocked many this season by being promotion challengers, and their success has largely been built off the back of a solid defence. By conceding just 28 goals, Sassuolo have the joint-best defence in the division (along with Torino and Sampdoria), and have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three matches.

Torino 1-0 Sassuolo

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Pescara 2-0 Torino

Torino's hopes of achieving automatic promotion were dented after they were beaten 2-0 by an in-form Pescara on Saturday evening.

Torino made five changes from the team that were victorious against Padova, with Matteo Darmian, Valerio Di Cesare, Cristian Pasquato, Mirco Antenucci and Alessandro Sgrigna coming into the team.

However, in front of a sell out crowd at the Stadio Adriatico, Torino made the worst start possible and were behind after just ten minutes. Marco Verratti's accurate long pass found Lorenzo Insigne who was narrowly onside, and he rounded Francesco Benussi to give Pescara the lead.

Torino responded well and came close to an equaliser via Cristian Pasquato's free kick, but it was turned round the post by Riccardo Ragni. The on loan winger, making his first start for the club, came close once again moments later when he intercepted the ball in the final third, but his speculative volley went over the bar.

The home side were playing the type of football that is synonymous with their coach Zdeněk Zeman, and Ciro Immobile, Emmanuel Cascione and Matti Nielsen all came close to adding a second.

On the stroke of half time, just when it looked as though Torino would go in at the break just the one goal behind, Pescara did score their second goal. Simone Romagnoli's cross from the right was headed in by Ciro Immobile - his 27th goal of an incredible season.

Torino made one change at half time as Juan Surraco replaced Alen Stevanovic, but it was the home side who looked more likely to score the next goal, and Lorenzo Insigne should have doubled his individual tally after a mistake by Manuel Iori.

With ten minutes remaining, Torino had their best chance of the match through Alessandro Sgrigna, but his shot was well saved by Ragni, and although the ball then bounced off Marco Capuano, it hit the post and not the back of the net, an incident which summed up Torino's evening.

This defeat, against probably the best team in the division is certainly disappointing, but Torino will know that promotion is still in their own hands. If Torino can get seven points from their remaining three games, that will be enough to seal a return to Serie A, perhaps even as champions as current leaders Pescara have a difficult run in.

Forza Torino

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pescara V Torino Preview

Pescara and Torino will face off on Saturday evening in arguably the biggest game of the Serie B season, and the winning team will be well placed to secure a place in Serie A.

Toro will be without Giuseppe Vives and Alessandro Parisi who are both suspended, whilst Kamil Glik is injured so Valerio Di Cesare - a goalscorer on Monday, should deputise. The two other scorers in that match, Mirco Antenucci and Riccardo Meggiorini should also start after impressing against Padova.

Opponents Pescara have been the most entertaining team in Serie B this season, as coach Zdeněk Zeman has once again charmed the neutrals with his brand of ultra-attacking football. Pescara have scored an incredible 84 goals this season (32 more than Torino), and the impressive performances of Ciro Immobile, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne have helped the team to 2nd position. However, as highlighted in the reverse fixture (Torino won 4-2), Pescara can be vulnerable at the back, and therefore the away side may fancy their chances of gaining a positive result.

Pescara 3-2 Torino

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Torino 3-1 Padova

Torino recorded their fourth successive victory on Monday night as goals from Riccardo Meggiorini, Valerio Di Cesare and Mirco Antenucci gave them an impressive 3-1 victory over Padova.

Giampiero Ventura made just the one change from the team that beat Livorno, as Alessandro Parisi came in to replace the suspended Matteo Darmian.

Torino made a bright start, perhaps eager to get revenge on the team that ruined their hopes of promotion last season, and they took the lead after just twelve minutes.  Alen Stevanovic, cut the ball back from the right wing, and his cross found Riccardo Meggiorini whose stunning volley went into the bottom corner.

Stevanovic continued to give emergency Padova full back Michele Marcolini a torrid time, and he almost doubled Torino's lead, but his shot was well saved by Mattia Perin. Just eight minutes into the second half, Toro did get their second goal thanks to substitute Valerio Di Cesare.The former Vicenza defender came on in the first half to replace the injured Kamil Glik, and he calmly converted Alessandro Parisi's excellent cross - although replays did show that he may have been offside.

However, Padova reduced the deficit just five minutes later when a slight defensive mix-up between Di Cesare and the normally reliable Angelo Ogbonna allowed Daniele Cacia to score with a fine volley. And the playoff hopefuls almost scored an equaliser soon afterwards when Michele Marcolini's stunning thirty yard strike clipped the crossbar.

Torino also had chances to extend their lead, and substitutes Stefano Guberti and Mirco Antenucci combined well, but the latter missed his kick when well placed. That miss was soon forgotten about three minutes from time as Antenucci scored a fantastic individual goal to seal the points for Toro.

The former Catania striker received the ball near the half way line and knocked the ball past the full back, before continuing his run and curling a low shot into the far corner.

This victory puts Torino two points clear at the top of the table, ahead of a huge game on Saturday evening against 2nd place Pescara - arguably the Granata's biggest match since being relegated in 2009.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Torino V Padova Preview

After Pescara, Sassuolo and Hellas Verona all recorded victories, Torino must beat Padova on Monday evening in order to return to the top of the table.

The race for promotion is tighter than ever as just one point separates the four teams, and with Padova looking to gain a place in the playoffs, this match promises to be an entertaining affair. If that wasn't enough, there is already some ill feeling between Toro and Padova after the reverse fixture was abandoned due to floodlight failure, and although Torino were initially awarded the victory, that decision has since been reversed.

Torino will be without the suspended Matteo Darmian so Danilo D'Ambrosio should replace him with Alessandro Parisi coming in at left back. Top scorer Mirco Antenucci should also return after starting to the bench against Livorno on Tuesday.

Opponents Padova appeared favourites to finish in the top six earlier this season, but after suffering defeats against Pescara and Sassuolo (two teams that Torino still have to play) they have slipped out of the playoff positions. In their last match against Sassuolo, both centre backs were sent off (Portin and Trevisan), whilst their two full backs (Legati and Renzetti) were booked which means Padova will arrive at the Stadio Olimpico with their first choice defence all suspended.

Torino 2-0 Padova

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Livorno 0-1 Torino

Torino maintained their lead at the top of the table after a hard-fought 1-0 win against struggling Livorno on Tuesday evening.

Toro made five changes from the team that beat Crotone on Saturday, as Danilo D'Ambrosio, Giuseppe Vives, Alen Stevanovic, Riccardo Meggiorini and Rolando Bianchi came into the starting eleven.

The away side started the game brightly, perhaps knowing that because of Sassuolo and Pescara's impressive victories earlier in the day, a win was absolutely vital. Captain Rolando Bianchi almost opened the scoring, but his volley was turned away for a corner by Francesco Bardi in the Livorno goal.

The home side came close to taking the lead direct from a Pasquale Schiattarella corner, but Francesco Benussi did well to deny him. Instead, seven minutes before half time, it was Toro who took the lead, when Giuseppe Vives' cross was met by Riccardo Meggiorini's diving header to net only his second goal for the club.

An uneventful second half was almost sparked into life by the lively Livorno striker Federico Dionisi, but his turn and shot was easily save by Benussi. Once again, despite their only being a one goal margin between the two teams, the Torino defence held out relatively comfortably in the closing stages to seal an important victory.

However, Torino's next three games will certainly let us know whether they can achieve their promotion dream this season, and if they can get positive results against three Top 7 sides - Padova, Pescara and Sassuolo, then those dreams could become reality.

Forza Torino