Monday, 20 May 2013

Torino 2-2 Catania

Rolando Bianchi had a dream ending to his Torino career, as the Granata captain scored a late equaliser to earn Toro a point in the final game of the season.

Giampiero Ventura decided to start with the popular striker on the substitutes bench, although fringe players Ferdinando Coppola, Pablo Caceres and Marko Bakic were all given starts.

football formations
Alessio Cerci had the first opportunity for the home side, but his curling left footed strike from distance was well saved by Alberto Frison. The former Vicenza goalkeeper was once again forced into action, this time from even further out as he parried Cerci's free kick wide of the goal.

However mid-way through the first half it was the away side that took the lead, after a nicely worked goal allowed Lucas Castro to cut the ball back to experienced midfielder Sergio Almiron who made no mistake.

A poor mistake by Valerio Di Cesare almost allowed Almiron to score again early in the second half, but the Argentine blazed over the bar. Moments later Rolando Bianchi finally made his way on to the pitch, and there was a nice moment when Angelo Ogbonna handed over the captain armband for the striker to wear it for one final time.

And it was Bianchi and fellow substitute Matteo Brighi who were involved in the move for the Granata's equaliser, and the former Roma midfielder found an unmarked Alessio Cerci who slid the ball past Frison with ease. 

However, Catania regained the lead less then ten minutes later as a misunderstanding between Angelo Ogbonna and Guillermo Rodriguez presented the ball to Gonzalo Bergessio, and the big striker fired the ball past Coppola.

But this was to be Bianchi's night, and seconds after hitting the post he was able to score his 77th goal for the club as he turned in Cerci's cross at the near post. 

It was a fitting ending to an entertaining end of season match, and Torino will certainly find it difficult to replace Bianchi, who despite not always being a regular starter ended the season with eleven league goals.

Toro ended the season in 16th place, a satisfactory ending to their first season back in Serie A - although the fact they failed to win any of their last nine matches may be a worry for the next campaign.

Forza Torino


  1. This will not only be one of Torino's most important offseason/transfer periods in recent memory, but also of any Italian club not reinforcing for European commitments. It appears they are going all in on Ventura's fast paced counterattacking ideas. The more skillful, possession based style of Ogbonna, Brighi, and Bianchi would have their talents minimized, so they all will be with new clubs next season.

    Retaining Cerci and D'Ambrosio will be of utmost importance, but I fear this will come at the cost of putting more effort into replacing the ability of the aforementioned outgoing 3 players. Barreto and Meggiorini are both fast, but unfortunately, not very productive. Gazzi is fantastic at what he does, and will most likely allow a limited yet skillful player to flourish alongside him. Ogbonna was out for a while during the season and the team worked effectively during that time. Definitely a good sign, but this may have the club thinking too lightly about Ogbonna's importance. As good as Ogbonna is, Bianchi will be the most difficult to replace. Defensive units can step up and emerge, but very few teams have top level strikers. Granted, I mean 'top level' according to Torino's current status. He is at the top of the talent level for strikers that Torino can reasonably obtain. The best case scenario is now to find lightning in a bottle for a year, then try to do the same the year after. While this is clearly a financial based decision, it is just as much a short-sighted, short term strategy.

    I challenge you to name a consistently good club, who doesn't have some talent that has reached its maximum, and then maintains that consistency within the club. Bianchi could have been that consistent talent, at the top of Torino's ability peak. The point where the player is not quite talented enough to be desired by a currently more ambitious club, yet consistently productive. Very few teams manage to strike this balance. Even fewer (if any other) teams are fortunate enough to have a Di Natale type talent choose to stay. This may go down in Torino history as the year that the club attempted to play the lottery, instead of maintain consistency and build. I hope not.

  2. I just came back to check if there were any replies, and... realized that my previous post was really long winded. Sorry.

    Amazing site, I check it often, and I really hope you provide some detailed posts on the offseason.

    THANK YOU so much for all your hard work!

  3. Hi Frank,

    Thanks a lot for the kind words. Don't apologise for the long comment, it's a relief to know that someone at least reads the blog.

    I'd agree that this season is extremely important, especially when you consider we only just avoided relegation this season, if we went into the next campaign without Bianchi, Cerci and Ogbonna then it certainly would be a worry.

    I have a feeling Cairo may make one marquee signing, and then as always rely on free transfers and loans. It worries me if we were to start signing players specifically for Ventura's style of football though - even towards the end of the season we had changed from his 4-2-4 to the ridiculous 5-3-2 and the players didn't seem able to adapt. If we start next season poorly, Ventura will probably not make it the Christmas imo.

    I don't have unrealistic expectations with Toro, I don't expect cup wins or European football (although both would be nice) but expect to be a mid-table Serie A side who never really have to worry about relegation. The blueprint to do this has been clearly set out by teams like Udinese, who may sell the players who outgrow the club, but are consistently replaced by solid replacements.

    If Cerci and Ogbonna were sold for 25m in the summer, but we spent 20m ourselves on 4 or 5 players who could improve the first 11 - I doubt too many fans would complain that much....however I fear we won't.