Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Torino 2-1 Atalanta

After eight long years of being a Torino supporter, I was finally able to witness a Granata victory in person, as Valter Birsa's late goal gave Toro a 2-1 victory over Atalanta.

Matteo Darmian came in for the suspended Danilo D'Ambrosio at right back, whilst Angelo Ogbonna returned after more than three months out through injury. Elsewhere, Alen Stevanovic was a shock inclusion on the left wing, and captain Rolando Bianchi was preferred to Riccardo Meggiorini up front.
football formations
In the opening stages, Paulo Barreto should have scored his first goal for the club after he combined well with Rolando Bianchi, but the Brazilian somehow blazed over the bar from only fifteen yards out. Torino continued their dominance throughout the first half, and goalkeeper Andrea Consigli had to react quickly to push Alessio Cerci's left footed strike over the bar.

Consigli continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers, and he had to make further saves from Bianchi and once again from Cerci in order to keep the scores level. However, three minutes before half time, an excellent pass from Paulo Barreto put Alessio Cerci through on goal, and the former Fiorentina winger curled the ball exquisitely into the corner of the net.

After celebrating his 30th birthday on Friday, Rolando Bianchi looked to be desperate to get on to the score sheet against his former club, and he came very close to doubling Torino's lead - however his long range shot went narrowly wide of the post. Paulo Barreto had an even better chance to end his three year wait for a Serie A goal, but this time from only eight yards out his shot grazed the crossbar. 

With fifteen minutes remaining Torino were hit with the ultimate sucker punch, as Atalanta were awarded a penalty with probably their first attack of the second half. Angelo Ogbonna was uncharacteristically caught out of position, and that allowed substitute Marko Livaja get into the area before he was upended by Jean-Francois Gillet. Argentine striker German Denis stepped up to take the penalty, and although the Belgian keeper got a hand to it, Atalanta were undeservedly level.

With time running out, it looked as though my run without seeing a Torino victory would continue, however in the dying minutes, Toro got the winning goal that their performance had deserved. The usually cautious Matteo Darmian provided good width down the right-hand side, and his cross was side-footed into the net by substitute Valter Birsa. 

This victory puts Torino just one point away from Parma in tenth place, and whilst survival is not yet mathematically certain, it would take a mammoth collapse (even by Toro standards) for the Granata to be relegated from here. Whilst my four day trip to Turin was excellent, being able to finally witness a Toro victory whilst standing in the Curva Maratona was certainly the icing on the cake.

My Player Ratings (Gazzetta Ratings in Brackets)

Gillet 6 (5.5)
Darmian 6 (6.5)
Glik 7 (6.5)
Ogbonna 6 (5)
Masiello 6 (6)
Vives 6 (6.5)
Gazzi 7 (6.5)
CERCI 8 (8)
Stevanovic 5.5 (5)
Bianchi 6.5 (6.5)
Barreto 7 (6.5)

Birsa 7 (6.5)
Jonathas n/a
Meggiorini n/a

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