Monday, 28 October 2013

Napoli 2-0 Torino

Torino were punished by two controversial refereeing decisions as a brace of Gonzalo Higuian penalties gave Napoli a 2-0 victory over the Granata.

Kamil Glik returned to the back three after suspension, whilst there were also rare starts for Salvatore Masiello and Nicola Bellomo.

Things got off to a bad start after only fifteen minutes, when Bellomo was adjudged to have fouled Belgian winger Dries Mertens in the area. On first look it seemed like a fair decision, but on the replay it seemed as though the former PSV player had wrapped his leg around the Torino midfielder's leg in order to initiate contact. Former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuian stepped up to take the penalty, and the Argentine made no mistake, as he blasted the ball into the top corner.

Higuian had a great chance to double Napoli's lead after linking up with Mertens, but he was denied by a great save from Danielle Padelli. However, after some help from the additional official behind the goal, referee Andrea De Marco awarded Napoli another penalty, after Kamil Glik was adjudged to have handled - despite the fact he was only inches away from Federico Fernandez's strike. And just as he had done a quarter of an hour previously, Higuain stepped up to convert the penalty, this time sending Padelli the wrong way.

The home side should have extended their lead moments later, as Padelli came rushing out of his goal to make a clearance, but failed to make any contact with the ball. However, Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne was unable to get the ball past the two covering Toro defenders.

Torino's first opportunity of the half was a long range free kick by Alessio Cerci, that was tipped over the bar by Jose Reina. Whilst from the resulting corner, captain Kamil Glik narrowly volleyed over the bar with Toro's best chance of the game.

With an important game against Livorno coming up on Wednesday, Giampiero Ventura took the opportunity to rest a few key players as it became obvious there was no way back for Toro in the second half - and Alessio Cerci, Alessandro Gazzi and Danilo D'Ambrosio were all replaced.

Substitute Riccardo Meggiorini came close to opening his account for the season, however his left footed shot from distance was comfortably saved by Reina. Daniele Padelli continued his reputation of being a good shot stopper (just a shame about his inability to claim crosses), as he made fine saves from Dries Mertens and then Jose Callejon.

In the dying moments, Migjen Basha was harshly sent off as he cynically fouled Goran Pandev, and was adjudged to be the last man - although it looked as though Torino had at least one defender covering.

That incident summed up a miserable afternoon for the Granata, and after going behind early, their attention seemed to be diverted to Wednesday's fixture at Livorno. That game is now crucial for a Torino side that has not won in five matches, with their only two victories this season coming against Sassuolo and Bologna - both of whom are in the bottom three.

Forza Toro!

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