Monday, 30 September 2013

Torino 0-1 Juventus

Torino once again tasted defeat in the Derby della Mole against city rivals Juventus, although there was once again controversy as Paul Pogba's winning goal should have been disallowed.

The Granata lined up as expected with Ciro Immobile alongside Alessio Cerci upfront, whilst Matteo Brighi, Omar El Kaddouri, Giuseppe Vives and Kamil Glik all returned to the starting eleven.

The opening 45 minutes was a largely forgettable affair, although Torino had two half chances via Danilo D'Ambrosio's off target header and Alessio Cerci's free kick. At the other end, whilst Juventus had a fair amount of possession, they struggled to make it count in the final third, with Giuseppe Vives in particular doing a fine job of keeping the bianconeri at bay.

Juventus should have taken the lead moments after the break, when Carlos Tevez neat pass gave Sebastian Giovinco an excellent chance, but his low shot was straight at Daniele Padelli. 

However the away side did not have long to wait, as they took the lead soon afterwards - and once again it was a set piece that proved to be Torino's downfall. Although Tevez somehow hit the bar with a header after Leonardo Bonucci's flick on, the opportunistic Paul Pogba was on hand to put the ball in the net. However, as the replays later showed Carlos Tevez was at least a yard offside when his header hit the bar, and therefore it should not have stood. 

However, disappointingly for Torino they failed to react to adversity after going behind, and were unable to alter a game plan that was designed to frustrate Juventus and then hope to score on the counter attack. Torino could have went further behind, but were thankful to Padelli who made an outstanding save to deny substitute Mirko Vucinic, but Toro were unable to create anything of note to even give their supporters a glimmer of hope of forcing an equaliser.

However the most disappointing thing from a Granata perspective was the fact that they lacked a Plan B after going behind, and that whilst going behind to an offside goal was certainly unfortunate - in some ways this almost gave the players an excuse to hide behind, and that any post match criticism would easily by diverted onto the officials.

An entertaining exchange did occur sometime after the full time whistle, as both sides were involved in an online argument that was instigated by Juve coach Antonio Conte's bizarre claim that his side had dominated possession for 70 minutes. Torino responded with a statement on their official website questioning Conte's mathematics skills, as league statistics proved Juve only enjoyed 52% possession. 

The official Juventus Twitter account responded to this with good humour, by stating that they were still able to count to 0 - the number of shots Torino managed on goal during the ninety minutes. But the Torino Twitter account managed to have last word with a humorous jibe about the number of scudetti their neighbours have won - with the number 29 being a contentious number amongst Juventus fans, who maintain that they have won 31 titles despite two being revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal.

If only football matches were won as easily as arguments on Twitter, then Toro may not have had to wait eighteen years for their last victory against Juventus.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Maratona and Elsewhere #15 : "Insert Shakespeare reference here"

Torino 2-2 Hellas Verona - 25.09.13

Hellas Verona have one scudetto to their name, that of 1984/5. That season was unique in that it was the only season when referees were chosen at random instead of being assigned to specific matches by a special commission, the 'designatori arbitrali'. The idea behind this was to improve the image of the game after the usual match-fixing and corruption shenanigans; to eliminate the (ahem) possibility that certain clubs were influencing the appointment of certain referees to certain games with a view to distorting the results.

One doesn’t need an IQ over 70 to see that something strange had been happening:
  • In the 1980/1 Serie A season, Venaria Town won the scudetto and Roma finished 2nd.
  • In the 1981/2 Serie A season, Venaria Town won the scudetto and Roma finished 3rd. 
  • In the 1982/3 Serie A season, Roma won the scudetto and Venaria Town finished 2nd. 
  • In the 1983/4 Serie A season, Venaria Town won the scudetto and Roma finished 2nd. 
  • In the 1984/5 Serie A season, under the new referee selection system, Verona and Torino occupied the top two places, while Venaria Town finished equal 5th and Roma 7th. How refreshing!
But Steve,” – I hear you ask – “what happened in 1985/6 when the old system was reintroduced?”
  • In the 1985/6 Serie A season, Venaria Town won the scudetto and Roma finished 2nd. 
When we arrived at the stadium there was no real sense of anticipation. There was an atmosphere of “What the hell are we doing here on Wednesday night? The derby’s Sunday lunchtime.” With all due respect to Verona (“Veronese, sei un figlio di troia! Pezzo di merda sei tu! Sei giallo blu! Sei giallo blu!”), this wasn’t the match we were interested in. To me it was like being led to one’s table by the maître d’hôtel, ordering the thick, juicy, dry-aged prime rib and the bottle of Barolo, and then having to sip tap water and nibble distractedly on a breadstick in the meantime.

[I was still recovering from having to watch our first win in Bologna in thirty-three years on a dodgy live stream at my better half’s nephew’s 7th birthday party, surrounded by anklebiters, their sickeningly proud parents, squadrons of tiger mosquitoes and not nearly enough alcohol. I usually react badly to children and mosquitoes at the best of times. Other than penicillin, my only other allergy is to country and western music, and I was subjected to two hours of that in a classroom this week. “Stand By Your Man” three times, FFS. There are times in a man’s life when deafness would be a blessing. But I digress.]

So was Toro vs. Verona the calm before the storm? Well, there were some frayed tempers here and there, particularly on the concourse at half-time, but we didn’t have the all-out-brawl silliness of the Milan game. We’re anxious about Sunday, certainly, but I wasn’t aware of that anxiety affecting the players. I got into a conversation with a woman from the Red Cross having missed our second goal whilst on beer duty. She didn’t know who’d scored either, but the chant of “Alessio è! Alessio Cerci!” solved that problem. He later talked himself into a yellow card, more’s the pity. The fact that Kamil Glik spent the entire game on the bench avoiding a yellow card and suspension for the derby should have been a big enough hint for Cerci to keep his trap shut, but no. That Luca Toni’s a big lad, isn’t he?

The players left the pitch to our applause and an exhortation for Sunday: “UCCIDETELI!”

And so to more pressing matters. The gentle reader who believes that things come in threes will no doubt be aware that Cerci has converted penalties in our last two matches and that Glik was sent off in both last season’s derbies. There is no statistical law that states that these events cannot be repeated. However, though a card or two for our captain would not be a surprise, I simply can’t see us getting any change out of the hunchbacks in the penalty department, even with the aid of my bleach-and-cockroach-encrusted crystal ball (details available on request as always). The appointed referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni (an antique dealer from Bergamo, it says here) isn’t one I know, but we will have Daniel Orsato (an electrician from Vicenza) and our old friend Paolo Tagliavento (professional clown from Terni) as goal-line officials, so anything could happen. Incidentally, Tagliavento refereed the Bologna vs. Milan game last week, in which Milan were two goals down in the 88th minute and managed to draw in injury time. Does that sound familiar?

If we are to enjoy the benefit of a red card and a penalty, a not-unpleasant scenario would be Ciro Immobile scoring from the spot after (welcome home) Angelo Ogbonna takes an early bath. Personally, however, I would prefer the red card to be for Giorgio Chiellini, for whom I have a dislike bordering on the pathological.

My predictions? Well, it’s always better to be circumspect in situations such as these, so I’ll go for a poisonous atmosphere, Cerci marked and/or kicked out of the game, some dubious officiating and a defeat, our noses to be rubbed in it by the striped half of the stadium (yes, half – the ticketing arrangements have bordered upon risible). Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

Now to invoke the curse of my fantacalcio team (it’s called fastnbulbous!, Beefheart fans) upon as many of their players as possible.

A presto, tutti.


Steve is a season ticket holder who moved to Torino in 2009 after meeting a Torinese lady called Raffaella on Facebook - you can follow Steve on Twitter here.

Torino V Juventus Preview

Torino will be heading into the 228th Derby Della Mole in an optimistic mood having only lost one of the opening five Serie A fixtures.

However, recent history has not been kind for the Granata against their city rivals and Toro fans will be tired of reading the same statistics in their morning newspapers. However, in case anybody needs reminding - Torino have not beaten Juventus for eighteen years (April 1995) and have not scored a goal against them since 2002.

The above statistics certainly show that Toro will have their work cut out for them tomorrow to gain a positive result, but looking back at last seasons two fixtures against Juventus, Torino had their opportunities in both games. In the first derby at the Juventus stadium, Toro were very much in the game before Kamil Glik was harshly sent off before half time. And in the last fixture between the two teams, Torino were denied a blatant penalty when Jonathas was tugged back by Leonardo Bonucci, before they then succumbed to two late goals.

Captain Kamil Glik, who has a 100% record of being sent off in this fixture is expected to return to the starting line up after being rested in midweek. Meanwhile, the first choice midfield of Matteo Brighi, Giuseppe Vives and Omar El Kaddouri should also return. Ciro Immobile recovered from illness to play twenty minutes against Hellas on Wednesday, and he should therefore be fit enough to face his former side.

Having scored five goals in as many games this season, Alessio Cerci is Torino's obvious danger man and he will be the man the Juventus defence will have to watch out for. That Juve defence may include former Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna who has featured in their last two games since signing for the club in the summer.

With Juventus facing a Champions League game against Galatasaray on Wednesday there is speculation that Andrea Pirlo may be rested, and if the Bianconeri do have one eye on this fixture, it may give Torino an opportunity to capitalise and clinch a memorable victory.

Forza Torino

Friday, 27 September 2013

Torino 2-2 Hellas Verona

Torino maintained their unbeaten home record as an Alessio Cerci brace earnt them a draw against Hellas Verona.

With the derby against Juventus coming up on Sunday, Giampiero Ventura made four changes to the side the beat Bologna, as Guillermo Rodriguez, Nicola Bellomo, Alexander Farnerud and Migjen Basha came into the eleven.

It was Nicola Bellomo, making his Serie A debut, who had Torino's first opportunity when his long range effort forced Hellas keeper Rafael. An action less first half was then brought to life ten minutes before the break, as Hellas midfielder Romulo needlessly handled Alessio Cerci's corner to give Torino a penalty.

The former Roma winger stepped up himself to score his third goal in as many games, and that looked as though it would be enough to give Toro a half time lead. However, on the stroke of half time, Hellas equalised when an acrobatic assist from Luca Toni allowed Juanito Gomez to convert from close range.

However, Toro did not have long to wait to retake the lead, as just after the restart Rafael failed to deal with a weak shot from Riccardo Meggiorini and Alessio Cerci was on hand to continue his fine goalscoring form.

And moments later Torino had an opportunity to put the result beyond doubt, but Rafael redeemed himself by tipping Meggiorini's long range effort onto the post. Toro were made to pay for not extending their lead as they then conceded a penalty of their own, when Guillermo Rodriguez pulled former Juventus striker Toni to the ground, and Brazilian midfielder Jorginho scored from the spot.

Both teams seemed to be content with a point, although Torino had valid shouts for a penalty in the dying seconds when Danilo D'Ambrosio was brought down, but the referee waved the claims away. After taking the lead twice, the Granata will be disappointed that they were unable to hold on to the victory. However, they have still made a fine start to the season, and with Alessio Cerci in excellent form, Sunday's derby with Juventus could prove to be more competitive than it has been in recent seasons.

Forza Toro!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Maratona and Elsewhere #14 : 'Adding insult to injury'

Torino 2-2 AC Milan - 14.09.13

As John Lydon said to the audience as he closed the final Sid Vicious-era Sex Pistols concert at San Francisco's Winterland in January 1978: "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

Ignore songs about Berlusconi going to prison. Ignore fighting in the Maratona. Ignore excellent goals from Danilo D’Ambrosio and Alessio Cerci. Ignore being 2-0 up against the mighty Milan with 87 minutes on the clock and deservedly so. Ignore Milan’s first goal, for which there was some doubt about offside. Ignore Milan’s Nigel De Jong splitting Marcelo Larrondo’s lip with his elbow, and Mario Balotelli aiming first a kick and then a slap at our goalkeeper Daniele Padelli – well, the officials did, so why can’t we? Are we sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

We’re playing added time at the end of the game. Toro are winning 2-1. Marcelo Larrondo is sitting on the turf with an injury which turns out to be a broken 5th metatarsal which requires surgery. He is shouting to all and sundry that he has a broken foot and requires medical attention. Milan’s goalkeeper Christian Abbiati engages in conversation with Larrondo, but chooses for whatever reason not to alert the referee or the medical staff. No Good Samaritan, he. The Torino bench have asked for play to be interrupted to allow treatment to and substitution of the injured player. The 32-year-old referee Davide Massa - a banker (sic) by profession - allows play to continue. Why, exactly? Because he thinks that Larrondo is pretending that he has a broken foot? Because he doesn’t know what he is doing, as evidenced by his subsequent 3-match suspension from refereeing in Serie A? Because he has been told that Milan aren’t allowed to lose?

The ball remains in play and in Milan’s possession. That is, until the ball goes out for a Milan throw.
At this point, regardless of the referee’s competence or lack of, one of the unwritten rules between professional football players is that the team in possession of the ball stops play to allow their injured opponent / fellow professional to receive medical attention.

Instead of allowing fair play to rear its ugly head, Milan allenatore Massimiliano Allegri – who had the sheer chutzpah to say in a post-match interview that we were “a little unfortunate” not to win – orders Philippe Mexès to take the throw-in before we can substitute Larrondo, and the resultant play leads to Giovanni Pasquale upending Andrea Poli for the penalty that gives Milan an undeserved draw with the last kick of the game.

Compare and contrast this scenario with an excerpt from Massimo Fini’s excellent article, “La slealta del Milan è un riflesso del mondo morale di Berlusconi” (“Milan’s unfairness is a reflection of Berlusconi’s moral world”), which can be found in its entirety without my inexact translation at

(Cue wavy lines)

It’s January 21st, 1990. Atalanta versus Milan in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia. Milan are losing 1-0 in the 88th minute. Their attacker Stefano Borgonovo is laying - apparently injured - in Atalanta’s penalty area. Atalanta’s Glenn Strömberg puts the ball out of play to allow Milan to treat their injured player. However, the sporting Frank Rijkaard (he of spitting-in-Rudi-Völler’s-hair fame, lest we forget), instead of returning possession, throws the ball to his team-mate Daniele Massaro, who crosses the ball back into the penalty area, where the now miraculously healthy Borgonovo hits the deck and the referee points to the spot. Arrigo Sacchi orders Franco Baresi to not do the decent thing – to miss the unjust penalty - and Milan draw the game and progress to the semis.

Fini’s article goes on to criticise the cynical “money-and-power-are-everything” nature of Silvio Berlusconi and how the club he bought in 1986 manifests his personality on the field of play. An inability to lose with dignity. I would add that said infantile world view (Exhibit 94:  his current threats to withdraw his PDL party from the coalition and bring down the government should he be sent to prison by those nasty “communist” judges), vast wealth and – shall we say – some interesting connections allow for petulance and intimidation both on and off the pitch... well, the Maratona didn’t sing “voi siete come la Juve!” just for the sake of something to do on a Saturday evening.

I have seen the broadcaster Mediaset – like AC Milan, a subsidiary of Berlusconi’s Fininvest - rechristened “Mafiaset” on at least one occasion, possibly due to his membership of the P2 Masonic Lodge and his historic connections to the fragrant (or should that be flagrant) Bettino Craxi, who allowed him to create his national commercial television network when RAI was the only national broadcaster permitted by law. Even his hair is dubious. And as for the tax evasion and underage girls... But, again, this is not supposed to be a political blog, so if this sort of thing is grist to your personal mill please feel free to investigate elsewhere.
So, the general consensus of opinion is that we were shafted on the pitch: only internet trolls such as menomalexsilvio on The Guardian website have suggested otherwise, to my knowledge. Off the pitch? I need to retain some bile for the derby, so I’ll merely provide a list:

Torino FC was fined €4000 for a flare being thrown on the pitch, which didn’t happen. A flare was thrown from the Maratona in the second half, but it landed about five metres behind the goal we were defending.
Kamil Glik was fined €1500 as captain of the “offending” team.
Sporting Director Gianluca Petrachi was fined €3000 for being overheard in the dressing room after the game - by an employee of the Procura Federale – criticising the officials and using a blasphemous expression.
General Secretary Pantaleo Longo was temporarily suspended from the Italian football federation for insulting the fourth official for not allowing us to substitute Larrondo.
Milan’s Philippe Mexès slapped our Head of Ticketing, Fabio Bernardi, and was photographed so doing by Nicolò Campo (see No sanction, to my knowledge.

After the final whistle, the Maratona chanted “Venite sotto la Curva!”, but most of our players had left the pitch by that point, clearly angry and sickened. Il Capitano Glik and a few others applauded in thanks and acknowledgement, but were obviously – like us – not really in any mood to be consoled. I myself took a detour for a numbing drink and got home at two in the morning, still shaking my head. But it wasn’t exactly a mood of disbelief; we’ve been here many times before. As Toro fans we’ve had (too) much experience of the rough end of the footballing pineapple. These injustices permeate the collective memory and one becomes able almost to predict what will happen next, with a turn of the stomach and a tiny voice saying “here we go again”.

Lessons to be learned? Kakà and Robinho left much to be desired. That’ll teach them to be in my fantasy team. Will use the same technique for the derby. ;-)


Steve is a season ticket holder who moved to Torino in 2009 after meeting a Torinese lady called Raffaella on Facebook - you can follow Steve on Twitter here.

Torino V Hellas Verona Preview

Torino are back in action once again on Wednesday evening as they face newly promoted Hellas Verona at the Stadio Olimpico.

Guillermo Rodriguez is available selection once again after missing the last two matches, and Ciro Immobile is included in the squad but may still miss out on the match due to illness. With the derby coming up on Sunday, those players who may not be able to play three matches in a week - primarily Giuseppe Vives and Matteo Brighi could also be rested.

Hellas have made a promising start in their return to Serie A, and have won two of their four fixtures so far. However, despite this bright start they have lost both of their away games - although they were against Roma and Juventus.

The last time these two sides met was in March 2012 and the Granata were embarrassed with a 4-1 home defeat, and will therefore be looking to gain some revenge.

Torino 1-1 Hellas Verona

Bologna 1-2 Torino

Torino continued their fine start to the season as they won in Bologna for the first time in 33 years thanks once again to goals from Danilo D'Ambrosio and Alessio Cerci.

The Granata made the one enforced change as Ciro Immobile was unwell, so he was replaced in the starting eleven by Riccardo Meggiorini. Toro made an ideal start and were ahead within two minutes, as home goalkeeper Gianluca Curci was only able to punch Matteo Darmian's cross into the path of Danilo D'Ambrosio who headed into an empty net.

Alessio Cerci almost doubled Toro's lead from long range, but he was denied by Curci who made amends for his earlier error by turning his shot round the post.

On the half hour mark, Bologna equalised thanks to a former Torino player, but it was not the one you may have expected - Rolando Bianchi, who most of the pre-match attention was focused upon. Once again Toro failed to deal with a set piece, and Cesare Natali's initial header was saved by Daniele Padelli, but the rebound fell to the big defender who was literally able to walk the ball over the line.

Bologna almost took the lead moments later, when defender György Garics's long range shot rebounded off the crossbar. Just before the break, Torino also hit the woodwork as Alessio Cerci's free kick from 40 yards out also hit the crossbar.

However, in the aftermath of that incident Omar El Kaddouri was fouled by Francesco Della Rocca in the away and Toro were awarded a penalty. Cerci stepped up to take the penalty himself, and although Curci got a hand to hit, the ball still found the back of the net.

A strange incident occurred at the beginning of the second half, as it transpired that Bologna's goalscorer Cesare Natali was sent off for dissent towards the referee at the interval. Despite having an extra man advantage, Toro failed to extend their lead in the second half - although Omar El Kaddouri twice came close to scoring his first goal for the club.

Torino held on to record their second victory of the season, ahead of a big week for the club that will culminate in the Turin derby next Sunday.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Bologna V Torino Preview

After conceding a heartbreaking last minute equaliser against AC Milan last weekend, Torino will come up against a familiar face in Sunday's match at Bologna.

Rolando Bianchi scored 77 goals in 180 appearances during his five years at the club, but left in the summer after his contract expired to join the Rossoblu. The former Toro captain has yet to score for his new club, and Toro fans will be hoping that he doesn't open his account for Bologna on Sunday.

The Granata are expected to stick with the same side that came so close to beating Milan last weekend, as Guillermo Rodriguez has not yet recovered from injury so Cesare Bovo will continue to play in the middle of the back three.

Marcelo Larrondo will also miss out after being injured in the draw at Milan, so Toro's striking options look a little bit lightweight with only Alessio Cerci, Ciro Immobile and Riccardo Meggiorini to choose from.

Bologna 1-1 Torino

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Torino 2-2 AC Milan

Torino were seconds away from securing their first Serie A victory over Milan in over a decade but conceded a controversial last minute equaliser from the penalty spot.

As expected, Alessio Cerci returned to the starting eleven whilst Cesare Bovo replaced the injured Guillermo Rodriguez in defence. For AC Milan, Kaka started to behind a front two of Mario Balotelli and Robinho in his first appearance in Italian football for four years.

The Granata made the brighter start, with Giuseppe Vives and Alessio Cerci both going close from long range. Cristian Zapata went closest for Milan just before the break, but his header from a free kick went narrowly wide.

Two minutes after half time, the home side took a deserved lead when Cerci's pass found D'Ambrosio and the wing back cut inside on his favoured right foot to fire a shot past Christian Abbiati. And with twenty minutes remaining, an exquisite through ball from Ciro Immobile found the outstanding Cerci and the Italy international kept calm to double Torino's lead.

And when Daniele Padelli miraculously denied Mario Balotelli from close range, it looked as though Toro were on course for a memorable victory. But with three minutes remaining, Milan got a goal back in bizarre circumstances as Padelli's punch fell to Sulley Muntari and the Ghanaian's scuffed shot found the bottom corner. However, Toro felt that this goal should have been disallowed due to Balotelli being offside in the build up, despite not obviously interfering with play.

Then in injury time, substitute Giovanni Pasquale fouled Andrea Poli in the penalty area to give Milan the chance to rescue a point - and Mario Balotelli continued his excellent record from the spot to deny Toro a famous victory. However, Torino also had complaints regarding the equaliser as in the build up to the penalty incident, they were not allowed to substitute the injured Marcelo Larrondo despite the ball going out of play.

This will feel like a defeat for Torino, but it is important to remember how well they played for 88 minutes, and the fact that it took two controversial decisions to deny them a famous victory. The performance of Alessio Cerci was an obvious high point, but once again the midfield trio of Giuseppe Vives, Matteo Brighi and Omar El Kaddouri also impressed.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Torino V AC Milan Preview

Torino will be looking to end their miserable run against AC Milan when they face the Rossoneri on Saturday evening at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Granata have not beaten Milan in over a decade, and Toro lost both games against last season including a 4-2 home defeat last December.

Guillermo Rodriguez has been struggling with injury, so Cesare Bovo could deputise - whilst Alessio Cerci should return to the starting eleven after only being on the bench for the defeat at Atalanta.

The returning Kaka is expected to start for AC Milan, whilst former Juventus striker Alessando Matri could also be included alongside Mario Balotelli.

Torino 1-2 AC Milan

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Atalanta 2-0 Torino

Torino fell to their first defeat of the season as they lost 2-0 at Atalanta on Sunday evening, despite the Granata hitting the woodwork on two occasions.

Toro made three changes to the side that beat Sassuolo last weekend, with Migjen Basha, Omar El Kaddouri and Marcelo Larrondo all coming into the eleven. The omission of Alessio Cerci from the starting line up was certainly a surprise, but the Italy international was apparently struggling with an injury.

The home side started brightly, as firstly Giacomo Bonaventura and then German Denis went close for Atalanta, with the latter forcing a good save from Daniele Padelli. At the other end, Omar El Kaddouri almost scored a memorable goal on the counter attack after running from his own half, but he was denied by Andrea Consigli.

From the resulting corner, Torino went even closer as Matteo Darmian stabbed the ball onto the crossbar. And it took a miraculous save from Consigli to deny Toro's other wing back, as Danilo D'Ambrosio almost headed Torino into the lead from close range.

At the start of the second half, an inch-perfect pass from D'Ambrosio put Larrondo through on goal, but the Argentine striker could only hit the side netting with his shot. Moments later, the former Siena man had another excellent chance to give Torino the lead from the edge of the area, but on this occasion he ballooned the ball over the bar.

With Toro missing so many clear cut chances, the inevitable happened after 57 minutes when Toro failed to deal with a free kick and the ball fell kindly to Guglielmo Stendardo who struck it past Padelli to give the home side the lead. However, there were question marks regarding whether the goal should have stood as fellow defender Mario Yepes was clearly standing in an offside position which left Padelli unsighted.

Giampiero Ventura acted immediately as he took captain Kamil Glik off and brought on Alessio Cerci as the team switched to a 4-3-3 formation. Moments after that switch, Toro came narrowly close to an equaliser as  Omar El Kaddouri struck an excellent free kick but it rebounded off the crossbar.

But Toro's inability to defend set pieces was their downfall once again, as Atalanta doubled their lead ten minutes from time when an unmarked Stefano Lucchini powered a header past Padelli.

This was a difficult loss for Toro to take considering they were the better team for much of the contest, but they learnt a valuable lesson regarding the importance of defending set pieces properly. However, there were a number of positives also - the performance of Omar El Kaddouri especially - and the fact that they were able to create so many chances, but unfortunately were unable to convert any of them.

Forza Torino