Monday, 22 December 2014

Torino 2-1 Genoa

Torino found an unlikely hero as captain Kamil Glik scored two second half goals to end a run of six Serie A games without a win.

Giampiero Ventura once again left Bruno Peres on the bench, whilst Alexander Farnerud returned to the midfield and Amauri was surprisingly preferred to Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

The away side who were unbeaten on their travels all season were creating a number of chances, with Andrea Bertolacci drilling a shot wide of Gillet's goal. At the other end, Alexander Farnerud rattled the crossbar with a free kick from fully 30 yards.

Toro were beginning to create chances with ease, as Venezuela international twice went close, firstly with a volley, and then moments later with a header which went over the bar.

The home side were made to pay for giving the ball away in their own half three minutes before half time, as they were punished by former Juventus winger Iago Falque whose low shot from just outside the area found the bottom corner.

The Granata were level just seven minutes into the second half as Farnerud's deep free kick found Kamil Glik who poked home at the far post. And the comeback was complete ten minutes later as although Emiliano Moretti was initially denied by Eugenio Lamanna's fine save - Glik was on hand to head home from a yard out.

Torino held on for only their fourth Serie A win of the season, and they go into the winter break in 14th position knowing that much improvement is still needed to replicate last season's top half finish.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Torino V Genoa Preview

Torino face Genoa at the Stadio Olimpico in their last match of 2014 looking to end a run of six league matches without a win.

Pontus Jansson is suspended after being sent off against Empoli on Monday, so Kamil Glik, who was surprisingly dropped for that game should return. Giuseppe Vives and Bruno Peres will also be looking to return to the starting eleven.

Opponents Genoa have been in excellent form this season and are currently in 6th position in the Serie A table and have not yet lost a game on their travels this season.

This fixture had a dramatic ending last season, as Ciro Immobile and then Alessio Cerci scored in injury time for Toro to clinch an important victory.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Genoa

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Empoli 0-0 Torino

Torino's winless run in Serie A stretched to six games as they were unable to find a breakthrough against newly promoted Empoli on Monday evening.

Giampiero Ventura surprised many by dropping captain Kamil Glik, with Pontus Jansson taking his position in central defence, whilst Cristian Molinaro and Cesare Bovo also started.

It was the home side who came closest to scoring in the early stages, but Matias Vecino's long range shot went wide of the target. Simone Verdi, who is on loan at Empoli from Torino, forced Jean Francois Gillet into making a save from a free kick.

On the stroke of half time, in form Josef Martinez had the Granata's best chance of the half, but he was denied by home goalkeeper Luigi Sepe. Verdi was continuing to impress against his parent club, and Gillet had to be at his best to deny the former AC Milan winger.

In the early stages of the first half, Fabio Quagliarella had a great opportunity for Toro but was unable to make good contact with an overhead kick. In the final ten minutes, Cesare Bovo had a great opportunity to win it for Toro, but he blazed over the bar.

Pontus Jansson received a red card in the dying seconds for a second yellow card, as Toro's poor domestic form continued.  With just one game remaining until the winter break, Torino next fixture at home to Genoa is becoming increasingly more important.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Empoli V Torino Preview

Torino will travel to newly-promoted Empoli on Monday evening looking to end a run of five matches without a win.

After scoring twice in the Europa League in midweek, Josef Martinez should partner Fabio Quagliarella upfront, whilst Alexander Farnerud and Antonio Nocerino return to the squad.

Empoli have surprised many since being promoted in the summer, and are currently four places and two points above the Granata in the Serie A table. Torino loanee Simone Verdi scored his first goal of the season in the impressive draw against Napoli last weekend.

Prediction
Empoli 1-1 Torino

Friday, 12 December 2014

København 1-5 Torino

Torino qualified for the last 32 of the Europa league after a sensational 5-1 in Denmark over 9 men København on Thursday evening.

The Granata only needed a point to ensure qualification so Giampiero Ventura chose a strong line up, with Josef Martinez partnering Amauri up front, and Cesare Bovo in an unfamiliar midfield role.

Toro had a terrible start and were behind only five minutes in comical fashion as Gaston Silva's poor back pass lead to Kamil Glik's clearance ricocheting off Daniel Amartey and flying over Daniele Padelli and into the net.

However, Toro were level less than ten minutes later as Nikola Maksimovic's ball found Josef Martinez in space, and the Venezuelan international fired a powerful volley past Stephan Andersen in the home goal.

The game turned on the half hour mark, as Martinez, who was causing the København defence a number of problems, was fouled by last man Mikael Antonsson who received a red card and the Danish side were down to ten men.

Five minutes before half time, København were reduced to nine men when Amauri was bundled over in the area by Matthias Jørgensen. Amauri stepped up and scored the penalty to give Toro a lead going into half time.

The game was over as a contest within eight minutes of the second half, as Torino scored three quick fire goals. Firstly Omar El Kaddouri's through ball found Josef Martinez who neatly clipped the ball over the goalkeeper. Toro then scored a fourth goal when Matteo Darmian volleyed home Gaston Silva's cross from just inside the area. Gaston Silva scored his first Torino goal moments later, as he also volleyed home from El Kaddouri's inadvertent flick on.

Torino gave youngster Giovanni Graziano a debut for the last 25 minutes, as Toro cruised to a victory that put them through to the last 32.

Club Brugge scored a last gasp winning goal against HJK Helsinki to top the group, so the Granata will be unseeded for Monday's draw.

Forza Torino

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

København v Torino Preview

Torino will qualify for the last 32 of the Europa league if they avoid defeat against København in Denmark on Thursday evening.

In fact, Toro could even qualify even if they were lose tomorrow's match, as Finnish champions HJK must beat Club Brugge in Belgium to have any chance of going through.

The Granata have included three Primavera players in the squad, as Federico Caronte, Giovanni Graziano and Simone Rosso could all make their debuts.

The home side have endured a miserable Europa League campaign so far, winning only one game, and they lost their last home game in this competition 4-0 to Club Brugge.

Prediction
København 0-1 Torino

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Torino 2-2 Palermo

Torino twice came from behind to earn a point against Palermo, but had a late goal controversially ruled out for offside.

Giampiero Ventura gave Josef Martinez only his second Serie A start, whilst Alexander Farnerud was preferred to Alessandro Gazzi in midfield.

Toro made a poor start, perhaps still feeling the effects of their heartbreaking defeat against Juventus, and were behind after only fifteen minutes. Omar El Kaddouri gave the ball away in midfield, and the ball made its way to Paulo Dybala, whose cross found an unmarked Luca Rigoni who finished past Jean Francois Gillet.

The Granata levelled twenty minutes later, as Josef Martinez collected Emiliano Moretti's chipped pass and spun his defender before finishing past former Toro keeper Stefano Sorrentino.

However, on the stroke of half time Palermo took the lead for a second time as Bruno Peres' poor clearance enable Paulo Dybala to collect Achraf Lazaar's pass and finish past Gillet.

Josef Martinez had a chance from a difficult ange to double his individual tally, but this time he was denied by Sorrentino. However, just after the hour mark, Kamil Glik headed home Omar El Kaddouri's corner to equalise.

The home side looked the most likely side to get a winner, and thought they had one in the dying minutes as a Palermo defender bundled the ball into his own net, but that goal was disallowed as Matteo Darmian was adjudged to be offside.

After a terrible first half performance from the Granata, the second half was much more encouraging, but in reality, this is a game Toro should have took all three points from.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Torino v Palermo Preview


Torino will try and move on from their derby disappointment when they face Palermo at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening.

The Granata have lost their last three Serie A fixtures, and have not won a game in any competition since the end of October.

On the flip side, opponents Palermo are in decent form and are unbeaten in their last five games - winning three of them.

Palermo have a number of familiar faces in their squad, and goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino made 106 appearances for the Granata and is likely to get a warm reception from the home fans.

One player who will not get a welcome reception is experienced midfielder Enzo Maresca who angered Toro supporters by mocking Marco Ferrante's bull celebration after scoring for Juventus against the Granata in 2002.

Prediction
Torino 1-0 Palermo

Monday, 1 December 2014

Juventus 2-1 Torino

Torino suffered an agonising defeat in the dying seconds, as Andrea Pirlo's last gasp winner broke Granata hearts.

Giampiero Ventura made a brave selection ahead of the game, as he chose two former Juve strikers, Amauri and Fabio Quagliarella to lead the line for Toro.

The away side feared the worst when after just fifteen minutes, Juventus were awarded a penalty when Omar El Kaddouri was penalised for handball as he attempted to block an Andrea Pirlo free kick. Arturo Vidal was forced to take the spot kick twice by referee Daniele Orsato, after there was encroaching on the first attempt, but the Chilean midfielder made no mistake to give Juventus the lead.

However, just seven minutes later, Torino ended their 12 year (or 4662 days) wait for a goal in the derby, as Brazilian wing back Bruno Peres smashed that unwanted record in sensational fashion. After picking the ball up on the edge of his own area, the former Santos man sprinted ninety yards past three Juventus players before unleashing a fierce strike past Marco Storari.

At the start of the second half. the two former Juve strikers combined but Fabio Quagliarella' effort from Amauri's through ball went narrowly wide of the post. Jean Francois Gillet made a good save to deny Leonardo Bonucci, whilst Toro twice went close on the counter attack through Marco Benassi and then Omar El Kaddouri.

With twelve minutes remaining Stephan Lichtsteiner was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, and that gave Toro added hope that a first Derby Della Mole victory since 1995 was within grasp.

However, with literally seconds remaining, Marco Benassi lost possession and the ball was fed to Andrea Pirlo whose sensational low drive from 30 yards out beat Jean Francois Gillet and crushed Torino hearts.

As hard as it is to say after such a heartbreaking defeat, there were plenty of positives to take from this performance, as Toro finally scored a goal in the derby, and undoubtedly deserved at least a point.

However, defeats like this will only make Toro's victory against Juventus all the sweeter, whenever that might be.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Juventus v Torino Preview


Torino make their shortest journey of the season on Sunday evening when they travel to across Turin to face their arch rivals Juventus.

Once again the old stats must come out for this fixture, the Granata have not beaten Juve since 1995,
and have not scored a goal against the Bianconeri since 2002.

If that wasn't enough, Juventus have won their last 24 home games in Serie A, whilst Toro have only won one away game all season in the league.

Former Juve striker Fabio Quagliarella should return to the starting eleven after being rested against Club Brugge on Thursday, whilst Josef Martinez's impressive performance in that game may give Giampiero Ventura something to think about.

The stats above may not give you much belief that Torino can get a result on Sunday, but maybe this video will give you some hope.

Forza Toro




Torino 0-0 Club Brugge

An outstanding performance from Club Brugge's Australian goalkeeper Maty Ryan denied the Granata a victory which would have secured qualification for the next round of the Europa League.

With the derby against Juventus just three days away, Giampiero Ventura choose to rest a number of key players and that meant Daniele Padelli, Pontus Jansson and Josef Martinez all started.

It was the Belgian side who had the first chance of the game, but Victor Vasquez curled his effort wide of the post. At the other end, Josef Martinez did well to get a shot on goal, but his low shot was well saved by Maty Ryan.

Ryan produced arguably his best save of the night just before the hour mark, as he somehow got down to deny Martinez's excellent diving header. Matteo Darmian and Omar El Kaddouri both had great chances, but Toro still could not find a breakthrough.

Just before injury time, substitute Marcelo Larrondo thought he had given Torino all three points but the Australian made one more sensational save to earn Club Brugge a point.

Toro still have qualification for the next round of the Europa League in their own hands, and only need a point in their final game against Copenhagen to guarantee a place in the last 32.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Torino V Club Brugge Preview

Torino can secure their place into the next round of the Europa League if they beat Club Brugge and Copenhagen fail to beat HJK Helsinki on Thursday.

The Granata suffered a disappointing defeat against HJK Helsinki last time out, but have a 100% record at home in Europe this season. With the derby against Juventus on Sunday, Giampiero Ventura may choose to rest a number of key players including captain Kamil Glik and top scorer Fabio Quagliarella.

Club Brugge currently top Group B and impressively beat Copenhagen 4-0 in Denmark in their last European fixture. Domestically, the Belgian side are currently top of the table having only lost one game all season.

Prediction
Torino 1-0 Club Brugge

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Torino 0-1 Sassuolo

Torino missed from the penalty spot for the third time this season, and were made to pay the price as Sassuolo scored a late winner to take all three points.

Giampiero Ventura surprisingly chose to field just one striker, Fabio Quagliarella, with midfielders Juan Sanchez Mino and Omar El Kaddouri given license to support the former Napoli man.

Omar El Kaddouri had Toro's first effort on goal, but his curling effort was well saved by Andrea Consigli. Torino had the chance to take the lead after good work from Bruno Peres led to Paulo Cannavaro bringing down Fabio Quagliarella in the area.

Juan Sanchez Mino became the fourth different Granata player to take a penalty this season, but his weak effort was well saved by Consigli. In the second half, Peres broke clear of the Sassuolo defence but his pass across goal to find Quagliarella was intercepted.

Sassuolo's best chance of the game arrived when Simone Zaza somehow managed to blaze over the bar from ten yards out following Nikola Maksimovic's goal line clearance. Excellent work from Omar El Kaddouri gave Quagliarella another chance to give Toro the lead, but he was once again denied by the excellent Consigli.

With just three minutes remaining, Toro switched off from a corner and that allowed Antonio Floro Flores to head home Šime Vrsaljko's excellent cross.

This was a disappointing result for Torino ahead of an important week, and their failure to rectify their terrible record from the penalty spot exemplifies the problems the Granata have been having this season.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Torino V Sassuolo Preview

Torino face arguably their most important week in recent history, which begins with a home match against Sassuolo on Sunday.

The Granata face a crucial Europa League match against Club Brugge on Thursday, and then face Juventus in the derby a week tomorrow. Toro are expected to return to two strikers, so Amauri is likely to join Fabio Quagliarella up front, whilst Alexander Farnerud should keep his place in midfield.

After a poor start to the season, Sassuolo are unbeaten in their last five matches, and come into this game above Toro on goal difference.

However, the home side have a good recent record against Sassuolo, having won their last three matches against the Neroverdi, and this good run will hopefully continue tomorrow.

Prediction
Torino 1-0 Sassuolo

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

My Toro Story #2 : Brian Rea

Name : Brian Rea

Other Teams Supported : Man City and Glentoran

How and when did you start supporting Torino : Well the clue is Man City, the team I have supported since 1953! So when Denis Law went to Torino for one year in 1960/61 I think, I began to take an interest in Il Grande Torino and have never regretted it. Since retiring in 2001 I have been to Turin several times and at my first game at the Stadio delle Alpi I noticed a sign CIAO DENIS which sent a shiver down my spine. I have read the history of the club in the book The Day Italian Football Died by Alexandra Manna,a Torino supporter and her English husband Mike Gibbs,which I would recommend.

Apart from discovering Torino in the sixties, my first chance to see them live was on the old channel 4 coverage, though we did not appear that often. I do remember two old games in particular - Juventus v Torino(2001/2), 3 - 3 and the play off games against Mantova which I think were shown on Channel 5. The Juve game I saw on the midnight show and I knew the result otherwise I would have switched off at half time. 3 nil down Torino came back to draw 3 all and Juve missed a penalty in the last few minutes. Dramatic or what! I seem to remember also a Juve player mocking our supporters by running around with two fingers on top of his head imitating a bull. When Ferrante did the same after our equaliser, running the length of the pitch towards our end, the atmosphere was indescribable. I was,to use the old cliche, over the moon. The play off was equally memorable, 4 - 2 down after the first leg,having conceded 2 penalties and going 4 - 1 down, coming back to almost make it 4 - 3, things did not seem too promising. After 90 minutes of the 2nd leg the scores were tied, Torino winning 2 nil, so extra time began and we went 3 nil up. Game over but Mantova scored a penalty and needed one more to go up instead of Torino. The last 15/20 minutes were unbearable but the euphoria at the end was unsurpassed. I remember the team clambering on to a giant bull behind one of the goals. Not a real one of course. This was beginning of the Cairo years.

First Match Attended : This was against Albinoleffe in Serie B about 7/8 years ago in the Stadio Delle Alpi which was an easy victory. It was a very emotional moment for me when the team emerged from the tunnel in their famous colours. This was the first time I was seeing them in the flesh and seeing the Denis Law sign was the icing on the cake, even though he had returned to United after Torino.  Last season I was at the Inter game which ended 3 - 3 on a wet night in Turin. I am sure most of our exiled supporters saw it on TV, so no need to go into detail.

Favourite Current Players : I only have fairly recent memories. I always enjoyed watching Rosina and from last years team Immobile naturally. I hope he does well at Dortmund. I was really pleased to see 3 of our players in the national squad at the World Cup. Currently, I like Darmian and Glik who is a great captain and leader on the pitch.

Predictions/Hopes for this Season : I hope we can consolidate. We have signed a few new players which should give us depth.We will miss Immobile but I am reasonably hopeful. Ventura has done a really good job so far and I enjoy our style of play. We have been a great counter attacking side so I look forward to more of the same this season.

Feel free to email your Toro story to torinoblogger@hotmail.co.uk and I'll add it to the website.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Roma 3-0 Torino

Torino's disappointing week continued as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against Scudetto-chasing Roma on Sunday evening.

As expected, Giampiero Ventura decided to re-inforce the midfield as Toro lined up in a 3-5-1-1 formation with Alexander Farnerud and Omar El Kaddouri taking turns to support lone striker Fabio Quagliarella.

Torino made a poor start and were behind after only eight minutes, and ironically it was Greek fullback Vasilis Torosidis who converted Francesco Totti's low cross to give the home side the lead.

The Granata reacted well to going behind, and Fabio Quagliarella's left footed curler from the edge of the area forced Morgan De Sanctis into make a good save.

Miralem Pjanic rattled the crossbar with a trademark free kick for Roma, but just before the half hour mark the lead was doubled thanks to Seydou Keita's strike from outside the area.

Despite making a bright start to the second half, Toro were well and truly out of the game fifteen minutes into the second half as former Fiorentina midfielder Adem Ljajic curled the ball into the top corner from twenty yards out.

This defeat was not a surprising one, and some aspects of the performance were encouraging from a Granata point of view. Torino will face arguably their most important week of the season after the international break, as they face Sassuolo, a crucial game in the Europa League against Club Brugge and then the derby against Juventus.

We will certainly know a lot more about this team and what we can hope for from this season after those three games are in the record books.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Roma v Torino Preview

Torino will want to bounce back from their disappointing performance against HJK Helsinki, but they face a difficult task away to Roma on Sunday evening,

The Granata have only scored seven goals all season in the league, but are likely to revert to a 3-5-1-1 formation which served them well earlier on in the season against Cagliari.

Antonio Nocerino returns to the squad following injury, as does Amauri who missed the trip to Finland on Thursday.

Roma have had a minor blip in the league following their humiliation at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and fell to a 2-0 defeat against Napoli last time out. In this fixture last season, Toro nearly earned a point after Ciro Immobile's sensational equaliser, but a late winning goal by Alessandro Florenzi broke Toro hearts.

Prediction
Roma 2-0 Torino

Friday, 7 November 2014

Horror in Helsinki

After Toro's horror-show in Finland on Thursday night, Toro fan Peter Bourne decided to share his thoughts on what has been going wrong for the Granata this season. 

Yesterday’s performance against HJK Helsinki was the worst in Giampiero Ventura’s reign as Toro coach. Not in the margin of defeat, not perhaps in its consequences but in the manner of the performance. Victory would have all but ensured qualification to the knock-out phase of the Europa League meaning the final two group games could be played out under no pressure. Albeit this is not the Toro way.

Defeat against HJK, a team technically comparable with a mid-table Serie B outfit, was perhaps on the cards. Toro have not played a good 90 minutes all season; barely a good 45. The away win against a seriously flawed Cagliari was about the only evidence we’ve seen of last season’s occasionally swashbuckling team. I say occasionally because that Toro mixed compelling counter-attacking football with a tactical cynicism in certain matches. It wasn’t always the fanciful football the revisionist commentators would have you believe.

Losing Cerci and Immobile was always going to be tough. Hanging onto them was a near impossible task. Selling made sense. We understand that. Cerci wanted to leave and while he was the player who gave the team a sense of enthralling unpredictability, we probably wouldn’t have seen him motivated to perform at the same level this year. Immobile had the kind of season when nearly everything turned to gold. He’s not yet the finished article and despite his contractual situation with Juve lowering Toro’s financial return, the opportunity to cash in was too tempting. We’re not big enough right now to keep them.

Last night’s defeat is a product of a very poor, not quite disastrous summer transfer window, and a tactical rigidity which has held back the team this season. At jeopardy is the exciting and rare possibility of competing in the knock-out stages of Europe against some more glamorous sides than Helsinki and Copenhagen; and a league campaign which could slip into obscurity or even relegation trouble. A brief analysis of the protagonists is probably pertinent.

Cairo/Petrachi: President and director of football made their decision in the summer, not to reinvest all of the money paid of Cerci & Immobile. Immobile was sold early, replaced by Quagliarella, a talented but inconsistent player. Cerci was never replaced despite the club knowing all summer he would leave. In came a terrible joke/afterthought: Amauri. This was highly negligent. The two problem positions in the team weren’t filled: we still don’t have a quality left back and a midfield playmaker. The squad is not strong enough in quality to compete on three fronts.

Ventura: Ventura mark 1 (Serie B promotion) was characterised by a high possession count and wing play. The transition to the true Ventura style was held back by having to play the static and slow Rolando Bianchi. Same was true for mark 2 (Serie A survival) which saw a 4-2-4 formation deployed which was more often 4-4-2. It again relied on width. Mark 3 (European qualification) saw a more radical swift, 3-5-2, no more wingers, no more target man; a quick counter attacking style built on a solid defence and often tedious defensive possession. Width was provided mainly by Cerci, one of the two forwards. Mark 4 (European football) has seen a Cerci-less side play in the same way, devoid of a playmaker and only attacking ploy is to rely on one of the full backs finding space. Ventura has stuck to a three-man defence even when the opposition has barely posed a threat (Atalanta, Helsinki). To analyse the coach’s decisions in greater depth, we should look at the individual positions.

Goalkeeper: From the moment Jean Francois-Gillet’s season ban had expired you had the feeling that Ventura wanted him back in the team. The ‘problem’ was that Daniele Padelli had just enjoyed the best season of his career and had earned a Nazionale call-up. The rumours seemed to destabilise Padelli, after a costly mistake against Verona, he was dropped and relegated to playing the Europa League. Gillet has been excellent, Ventura likes him because he has good feet whereas Padelli can look clumsy in possession. He’s also an agile shotstopper and there’s ultimately little to choose between them. Ventura simply likes having the goalkeeper as his deep-lying playmaker. A coach should then pick the player who best fits his philosophy. Sadly for Padelli he has not looked the same player in the cup matches since he was demoted. I remain convinced the best Toro keeper is Alfred Gomis, currently enjoying a second excellent season on loan in Serie B. It all points to the goalkeeping position not being a problem.

Defence: In terms of personnel, Toro are blessed with a good backline, in both quality, balance and numbers. In terms of tactics, playing three centrebacks is starting to look predictable and unnecessary. The often tedious possession football played between the centre-backs needs to be replaced with greater urgency. Glik, Maksimovic, Moretti and Bovo rarely let the team down. Jansson looks a decent addition although he’s not been really tested yet. He is the eventual heir to Glik. Gaston Silva seems someway off being Serie A ready but needs to be nurtured.

Full backs: Here there is the strange situation where Toro have to play Italy’s best right back, Darmian, on the left because they still can’t get that position right. Molinaro is an upgrade on the various Caceres, Masiello, Pasquale options but struggles to deliver a cross – essential when the full-backs have becoming the attacking outlets. Darmian (he will be gone next summer) has also enjoyed a continued spell on the left because Bruno Peres has – after a strange debut at home to Verona – looks an excellent signing. An early Maicon without the power is a good description. The overreliance on Darmian aside, its not the root of the team’s problems.

Midfield: When your first choice playmaker is either Giuseppe Vives or Alessandro Gazzi then you should probably be building a Serie B side. Some context is needed. Vives was brilliant for 80% of last year but enjoyed a freak season and is approaching his mid-30s. He should be a valuable squad player, no more. Gazzi brings more energy than any other player but can only deliver a sidewards pass and is not the answer to unlocking defences. Elsewhere the midfielders have contributed nothing. The delight at seeing Farnerud return to action is a measure of how bad things have been. At least he offers a goal and a cultured left foot. Benassi is all hot air, running in straight lines, looking equally lost in defence and attack. Nocerino has been beset by injuries but does Ventura rate him? Sanchez Mino was arguably the most exciting summer season but looks lightweight, slow, careless in possession bringing only an attractive left foot. Lets give him time though. El Kaddouri is my issue right now. Last year, I thought he flattered to deceive. This year he is not even flattering. Looks lost tactically (maybe not his fault) and half-hearted in everything he does. He needs to be dropped. At the moment the best two performers remain Vives and Gazzi, honest, hard working players unlikely to upset an opposition defence. The team is crying out for someone to break into the final third (Nocerino?) and some pace and dynamism (not in current roster)

Attack: A collective palm masked our faces when Amauri was revealed as the Cerci replacement. 34 years old, ex-Gobbo, slow and uninspiring. So far he has been willing, perhaps too much, but his lack of mobility has been starker than we feared. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the supporting cast been better. Why Larrondo was re-signed remains a mystery. I can’t see what he brings. Barreto is someone Ventura has to explain, another half-hearted, ineffective player with no presence. Quagliarella’s few moments of magic have carried the team but should he get injured, and his form has dropped significantly in recent weeks, then it’s deep trouble. Martinez is a signing that really needs to come off. Give him time but he looks lost and clumsy. Two new forwards were needed in August. They are needed even more now.

For more from Peter you can follow him on Twitter here and his book about his experiences following Torino can still be purchased from Amazon here.

HJK Helsinki 2-1 Torino

Torino fell to their first European defeat of the season after a disastrous second half performance saw the Granata lose 2-1 to HJK Helsinki on Thursday night.

Giampiero Ventura gave summer signings Juan Sanchez Mino and Josef Martinez rare starts, whilst Daniele Padelli also returned in goal.

Former Boca Juniors midfielder Sanchez Mino had the only chance in the first half, but his long range shot was turned onto the post by home keeper Toni Doblas.

However, on the hour mark the Finnish champions took a surprise but deserved lead when some unconvincing goalkeeping from Daniele Padelli allowed Gideon Baah to score from close range.

Ten minutes before full time the home side doubled their lead, as more hesitant Toro defending allowed Valtteri Moren to find the net. Toro almost had a glimmer of hope of rescuing a point after Fabio Quagliarella scored in the final minute of normal time, but it was too little too late from the Granata.

This result pushes Toro down to 2nd place in their Europa League group, however a victory in three weeks time at the Stadio Olimpico against leaders Club Brugge should be enough to send the Granata through.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

HJK Helsinki v Torino Preview

Torino will be on the verge of qualifying for the next round of the Europa League if they can beat Finnish champions HJK Helsinki on Thursday evening.

The Granata's next fixture in this competition (Club Brugge at home) would take place just three days before the derby against Juventus, and therefore it would be best for Toro to seal qualification as quickly as possible.

Giampiero Ventura has included two Primavera products in the squad for the trip to Helsinki, defender Alessandro Dalmasso and striker Simone Edera, whilst neither player is likely to feature tomorrow the night, the experience will certainly be beneficial.

Fringe players Josef Martinez and Juan Sanchez Mino are expected to start, whilst Antonio Nocerino could continue his return from injury in midfield.

Prediction
HJK 1-2 Torino

Monday, 3 November 2014

Torino 0-0 Atalanta

Torino's goalscoring problems were once again their downfall as they were unable to find a way past Atalanta on Sunday evening.

As expected, Pontus Jansson replaced Kamil Glik at centre back with the Polish international missing out due to injury. Somewhat surprisingly, Josef Martinez was given his first Serie A start of the season and replaced Amauri upfront.

Emiliano Moretti had Toro's best chance in the first half, but his diving header from Bruno Peres' teasing cross went wide of the post. At the other end, Jean-Francois Gillet made an outstanding save to deny Guglielmo Stendardo.

In the second half, Pontus Jansson thought he would have the simple task of heading home Fabio Quagliarella's knock back, but keeper Marco Sportiello made an excellent intervention to deny the Swedish defender on two occasions.

In injury time, substitute Alexander Farnerud almost clinched all three points, but his free kick clipped the crossbar and Toro had to settle for a point.

Toro have only scored seven league goals all season, and four of them were thanks to Fabio Quagliarella - the Granata will have to find their shooting boots soon if they have any aspirations of finishing in the top half.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Torino V Atalanta Preview

Torino can move into the top half of the Serie A table with a victory over Atalanta on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata will be without captain Kamil Glik who picked up an injury in the victory over Parma, but Swedish defender Pontus Jansson has proved to be a more than adequate deputy this season.

Alexander Farnerud is also included in the squad after being rested in midweek, whilst Juan Sanchez Mino could start in place of Omar El Kaddouri.

Former Torino captain Rolando Bianchi, who scored 77 goals in 180 appearances for the Granata returned to Atalanta in the summer and will be sure to get a good reception from the home fans should he make an appearance.

Atalanta had a difficult start to the season losing four of their last six games, but have picked up four points in their last three games - including an impressive point against Napoli in midweek.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Atalanta

Torino 1-0 Parma

Torino secured their third win of the season after a narrow 1-0 victory over Parma at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday evening.

Omar El Kaddouri returned to the starting eleven having missed the last two games due to suspension, whilst former Parma striker Amauri joined Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

Toro made an excellent start and were ahead after only ten minutes when Bruno Peres' cross from the right found Matteo Darmian who controlled on his chest before volleying home from the edge of the area.

Fabio Quagliarella almost doubled Toro's lead in the second half, but his acrobatic bicycle went narrowly over the bar.

Afriyie Acquah, who scored in this fixture last season, could have equalised for the away side but on this occasion he was denied by Jean-Francois Gillet.

Substitute Massimo Coda thought he had earnt an important point for Parma, but his goal was disallowed for handball. At the other end, Quagliarella, and then Juan Sanchez Mino missed opportunites in quick succession to give Toro a bigger margin of victory.

Forza Toro!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Torino V Parma Preview

Torino will look to make it consecutive home victories for the first time this season when they face Parma on Wednesday evening.

The Granata will be without Marco Benassi and Alexander Farnerud, however Omar El Kaddouri and Antonio Nocerino have both returned to the squad.

Parma, who finished above Toro in 6th place last season but were unable to compete in the Europa League after failing to pay a tax bill are in horrendous form and have lost their last five games.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Parma

Lazio 2-1 Torino

A goalkeeping error from the usually reliable Jean-Francois Gillet cost Torino a point away to Lazio on Sunday evening.

Alexander Farnerud was the surprising name on the Torino team sheet, as the Swedish midfielder had not made an appearance all season due to injury.

Toro were grateful to Gillet in the opening stages, when the Belgian keeper saved Antonio Candreva's shot which was heading for the bottom corner. However moments later the home side took the lead thanks to Lucas Biglia's excellent free kick.

Lazio could have doubled their lead, but the outstanding Candreva saw his shot hit the post from an acute angle. Toro almost scored an equaliser before half time, but despite an exquisite first touch, Alexander Farnerud blazed his volley over the bar.

However, Torino would get their equaliser at the start of the second half when Michael Ciani's attempted interception fell into the path of Farnerud who fired the ball past former Toro keeper Federico Marchetti.

However, just seven minutes later Gillet parried a long range Candreva free kick into the path of Miroslav Klose, and the German World Cup winner made no mistake to give Lazio all three points.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Lazio v Torino Preview

Torino will look to make it back to back victories for the first time this season when they travel to Rome to face Lazio on Sunday evening.

Captain Kamil Glik will return to the squad after suspension, but may face a struggle to regain his starting position after a number of impressive performances from Pontus Jansson.

Fabio Quagliarella has scored 80% of Torino's league goals this season and will need some support in that department, he should be joined upfront by Amauri who scored his first Granata goal against HJK Helsinki in midweek.

After a slow start to the season, Lazio have been in excellent form having won their last three matches, with Serbian striker Filip Djordjevic scoring five times in that period.

Prediction
Lazio 2-1 Torino

Torino 2-0 HJK Helsinki

Torino moved to the top of their Europa League group after a convincing 2-0 victory over Finnish champions HJK Helsinki.

As expected, Pontus Jansson retained his place in the heart of defence, whilst Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez partnered Amauri upfront.

The Granata almost took the lead within the first ninety seconds, but Martinez's volley was saved by Toni Doblas in the Helsinki goal. Giuseppe Vives almost scored a goal of the season contender, but his dipping volley from distance hit the crossbar.

Ten minutes before half time Toro took the lead when Matteo Darmian's cross from the right found fellow wing back Cristian Molinaro who scored his first Toro goal with a calm finish.

Toro continued to dominate, and doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Amauri opened his Granata goalscoring account with a powerful shot from outside the area.

The home side had the chances to win by a more flattering margin, but could not extend their lead any further. This moves Torino two points clear of group B ahead of Club Brugge, and Toro can move a step closer to qualification with a victory against HJK in Helsinki on November 6th.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Torino v HJK Helsinki Preview

Torino can take a step closer to qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League when they face HJK Helsinki on Thursday evening.

The Granata won their last game in Europe in dramatic fashion, as Fabio Quagliarella's injury time penalty gave them a deserved victory against Copenhagen.

Daniele Padelli, Nikola Maksimovic and Josef Martinez are all expected to start for as Giampiero Ventura rotates his squad.

HJK have already won their domestic league, but come into this game having lost their opening two Europa League fixtures without scoring. However, Gambian international Demba Savage could cause Toro problems, as the winger has scored eleven league goals this season.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 HJK Helsinki

Monday, 20 October 2014

Torino 1-0 Udinese

Torino secured their first home win of the Serie A season with a convincing victory over in form Udinese on Sunday afternoon.

Swedish defender came into the starting eleven to replace the suspended Kamil Glik, whilst former Udinese striker Fabio Quagliarella was joined upfront with Amauri, who has yet to score for this new club.

Cristian Molinaro, who was surprisingly selected ahead of Matteo Darmian had Toro's first chance, but his volley from Cesare Bovo's cross hit the side netting. At the other end, former Chievo striker Cyril Théréau saw his header sail narrowly wide of the post.

Giuseppe Vives was taking up advanced positions in the Toro midfield, and after an excellent run the veteran midfielder was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post. The home side were continuing to create chances and Amauri was some how denied his first goal for the club as goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis saved his header on the line.

However, Torino finally took a deserved lead on the hour mark, and once again it was Fabio Quagliarella who scored it, as the Italian striker steered a header into the far corner.

Udinese should have equalised, although Théréau somehow blazed a volley over the bar from only six yards out. Giuseppe Vives, who wore the captain's armband in the absence of Glik almost capped a fine performance with a goal, but his long range strike was tipped over the bar by Karnezis.

Torino held on for a crucial victory which moves them up to 12th place in the Serie A standings, although the fact that 80% of their league goals have been scored by Fabio Quagliarella could become a problem as the season progresses.

Forza Toro.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Torino v Udinese Preview

Torino will look to earn their first home victory of the season when they face Udinese at home on Sunday afternoon. 

The Granata will be without Kamil Glik and Omar El Kaddouri who were both dismissed for dissent after the final whistle in the defeat against Napoli, so Cesare Bovo and Juan Sanchez Mino should deputise.

Antonio Nocerino, who has been missing from the Toro squad since being injured against Club Brugge in mid-September is available for selection. 

Udinese have enjoyed a resurgence this season under new coach Andrea Stramaccioni, and have won four of their opening six games. with veteran striker Antonio Di Natale in fine form. 

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Udinese

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Napoli 2-1 Torino

Fabio Quagliarella's wonder goal was not enough for Torino as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Napoli, despite taking the lead.

The Granata surprised many by playing two recognised strikers as Marcelo Larrondo joined Quagliarella upfront, whilst there was also a rare start for Marco Benassi in midfield.

Toro made a bright start and Kamil Glik had already went close before they took the lead in sensational fashion after fourteen minutes. Nikola Maksimovic's long ball was instantly controlled on his chest by Fabio Quagliarella who then finished spectacularly with a volley from a difficult angle.

The home side should have been level shortly afterwards, after a mistake from Maksimovic gave Lorenze Insigne a great opportunity, but the young winger hit the post - whilst Gonzalo Higuain was denied on the rebound.

Jean Francois Gillet has impressed since returning to the starting eleven, and he made excellent saves to deny Insigne and Gokhan Inler. However, Insigne finally got his goal as somehow the smallest man on the pitch was left unmarked to head home Juan Zuniga's fine cross.

Fifteen minutes later Napoli took the lead when substitute Cristian Molinaro lost Jose Callejon at the far post, and the Spaniard's effort fortuitously looped over Gillet in the Toro goal.

Torino had an appeal for a penalty turned down in injury time by referee Davide Massa, despite the fact Zuniga appeared to handle the ball in the area. Things got even worse for the Granata after the final whistle as both Kamil Glik and Omar El Kaddouri were sent off for protesting the referee's decision.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Napoli v Torino Preview

Torino will go into Sunday evening's match against Napoli full of confidence after their dramatic late victory in the Europa League on Thursday,

The home side were also in European action in midweek, and despite victory over Slovan Bratislava they have struggled in league action and are yet to win at the San Paolo this season.

The Granata will welcome back the impressive Bruno Peres to their squad, as the Brazilian has not been registered for the Europa League. Former Napoli striker Fabio Quagliarella has scored in his last three games and will be looking to continue his impressive run of form against his hometown club.

Prediction
Napoli 1-0 Torino

Friday, 3 October 2014

Torino 1-0 København

Torino won their first group game in the Europa League group stage due to a dramatic Fabio Quagliarella penalty in injury time.

Giampiero Ventura surprisingly selected his first choice back three of Nikola Maksimovic, Kamil Glik and Emiliano Moretti whilst Josef Martinez was partnered with Amauri up front.

The Granata should have taken the lead after twenty minutes, but Emiliano Moretti somehow hit the bar with a free header from only three yards.

Torino continued to create the better chances, and left wing back Cristian Molinaro was only denied by a smart save from Stephan Anderson in the København goal.

The Danish side also missed a great opportunity through former Cardiff City striker Andreas Cornelius but he also somehow contrived to miss a free header from a corner.

Josef Martinez was proving to be a particularly useful outlet up front, and he used his pace to get a shot on goal but was denied by Anderson.

Just when it looked like Torino would be denied, former Bologna defender Mikael Antonsson pulled back substitute Fabio Quagliarella in the area in injury time.

Toro have had difficulties from the penalty spot this season, but there was little doubt that Quagliarella would score, and he did so to give Torino a deserved victory, and three vital points.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Torino v København Preview

Torino face their first Europa League home game of the season when they face Danish side København at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening.

Giampiero Ventura is expected to rotate his squad, just as he did in the opening game away to Brugge, and that may enable players such as Pontus Jansson, Marco Benassi and Josef Martinez to receive some game time.

København currently lead group B having beaten HJK Helsinki in matchday one, however their domestic form is not so impressive as they are currently 5th in the Danish league.

These two sides have met before in Europe, with Toro emerging victorious in both legs of the 1991/92 Europa league quarter finals.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 København

Monday, 29 September 2014

Torino 1-1 Fiorentina

Torino were unable to make it two wins in a week as they were denied by a late Fiorentina equaliser in a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon.

Giampiero Ventura made only one change from the side that beat Cagliari on Wednesday, as Jean Francois Gillet replaced Daniele Padelli who made a costly mistake in that game.

Torino almost took the lead in sensational fashion as Fabio Quagliarella almost had another goal to had to his lengthy highlight reel, but his strike from fully forty yards was tipped over the bar by Neto.

At the other end, Jean Francois Gillet made an excellent save to deny Khouma Babacar from Borja Valero's outstanding assist. Excellent work from Omar El Kaddouri almost gave Juan Sanchez Mino the opportunity to score his first goal for Toro, but his shot went wide.

Just before half time Neto denied Quagliarella once again as he made a brilliant fingertip save to deny the Italian international.

In the second half, the former Juventus striker turned provider as he played in Matteo Darmian, but the full back's effort was way off target. However, Toro finally made the break though when the impressive Bruno Peres found Fabio Quagliarella who took his time before finding the bottom corner.

However, Toro were unable to hold on to the lead and with ten minutes remaining substitute Federico Bernardeschi found Babacar with a exquisite pass and the striker calmly rounded Gillet to score his first Serie A goal in 1653 days.

Neither side were able to find a winning goal, and whilst Toro will be disappointed by their inability to hold on to their lead, their performances continue to get better.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Torino v Fiorentina Preview

After scoring their first league goals of the season in the win at Cagliari on Wednesday, Toro will be looking for a first home victory on Sunday afternoon against Fiorentina.

Daniele Padelli has paid the price for his mistake against Cagliari, and doesn't even make the Toro squad for this game, therefore Belgian stopper Jean-Francois Gillet is expected to start.

Bruno Peres impressed many in midweek so will also be expected to retain his place, whilst Giampiero Ventura may be tempted to bring Amauri back into the starting eleven.

Opponents Fiorentina have also struggled for goals this season, and have only found the target once in their four matches so far - although this was enough to earn a victory against Atalanta last weekend.

Prediction
Torino 0-0 Fiorentina

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Cagliari 1-2 Torino

Torino had to come from behind to earn their first victory of the season after beating Cagliari 2-1 on Wednesday night.

With Toro struggling for goals, Giampiero Ventura surprisingly decided to leave out Amauri and reinforce the midfield with Alessandro Gazzi and Juan Sanchez Mino both earning starts. Brazilian full back Bruno Peres also made his first start, with Matteo Darmian switching to left wing back.

The Granata made a terrible start, and went behind after only ten minutes when Daniele Padelli's poor clearance went straight to Andrea Cossu and the midfielder kept his cool to score from just inside the area.

However, Toro were level just ten minutes later as captain Kamil Glik scored on his one hundredth appearance for the club by heading in Juan Sanchez Mino's corner. The remarkable turnaround was complete moments later when Torino took the lead through a cleverly worked free kick routine.

Gazzi played the ball forward to Omar El Kaddouri, whose clever flick found Fabio Quagliarella in space and he made no mistake in firing the ball past Alessio Cragno.

Bruno Peres was having an impressive full debut for Toro, and he almost capped it off with a goal but his curling left footed shot went narrowly wide of the post. Omar El Kaddouri almost made amends for his missed penalty against Hellas Verona, but his long range shot clipped the top of the crossbar.

Substitute Amauri almost scored his first Torino goal in the closing stages, but his effort from Bruno Peres' assist went wide of the target.

Toro were deserving winners in the end, and showed great character to come from behind to secure their first win of the season.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cagliari v Torino Preview

Torino will make the trip to Sardinia on Wednesday evening looking to pick up their first victory of the season when they face Cagliari.

As the Granata have not scored a league goal all season, Giampiero Ventura may be tempted in giving Marcelo Larrondo or Josef Martinez a start up front.

Like Toro, Cagliari have also not won a game so far this season having lost against Atalanta and Roma and drawing on the opening day against Sassuolo.

Prediction
Cagliari 1-1 Torino

Torino 0-1 Hellas Verona

Torino's quest for a first win and goal of the season as they fell to a disappointing 1-0 home defeat against Hellas Verona on Sunday evening.

As expected, first choice back three Cesare Bovo, Kamil Glik and Emiliano Moretti returned to the starting eleven, and for the second game in succession the front two were Fabio Quagliarella and Amauri.

It was the away side who came closest in the opening exchanges, as first former Toro man Panagiotis Tachtsidis put a free header wide of the post and then Juanito Gomez hit the post from an almost identical position.

Toro finally woke up and it was centre back Cesare Bovo who came closest for the home side, but his drilled effort went wide of the post.

The Granata had a much better start to the second half, with Emiliano Moretti and Amauri both going close when well placed. Fabio Quagliarella came narrowly close to scoring his first league goal of the season but his long range effort was parried by Rafael and then thirty seconds later his header glanced wide of the post.

Hellas took the lead against the run of play when only three minutes after coming on, substitute Artur Ionita cut in from the right wing and his shot bounced over the arms of Daniele Padelli.

With only two minutes remaining, Torino had a great chance to equalise as debutant Bruno Peres was upended in the area by Rafael Marquez, but Omar El Kaddouri missed the resulting penalty, and also the rebound.

Whilst the performance was much more promising than last weekend against Sampdoria, the result was the same as Toro lost their second game of the season, and have yet to score a league goal in three matches.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Torino V Hellas Verona Preview

Torino return to Serie A action on Sunday evening as they face Hellas Verona at the Stadio Olimpico and are still looking for their first league goal of the season.

Antonio Nocerino will be out for around six weeks after picking up an injury against Club Brugge in midweek, so Toro will be without one of their key midfield players. After playing ninety minutes against Brugge on Thursday, Amauri may not be able to play twice in three days so Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez or Marcelo Larrondo could be in line to replace him.

Opponents Hellas have four points from their first two games of the season, after coming from behind to beat Palermo last weekend. Last season, both games against Hellas were entertaining affairs, with the teams drawing 2-2 at the Stadio Olimpico and then Toro were impressive 3-1 victors in Verona.

Match Prediction
Torino 1-0 Hellas Verona

Club Brugge 0-0 Torino

Torino earnt their first point of their Europa League campaign after a 0-0 draw against Club Brugge on Thursday night, but the Granata have now gone three games without scoring a goal.

Giampiero Ventura rotated his squad for this game, as Jean Francois Gillet made his first appearance following his long ban, whilst Pontus Jansson and Gaston Silva came into the back three to make their first starts for the club. Alessandro Gazzi, Juan Sanchez Mino and Marco Benassi also started the game, whilst Amauri and Fabio Quagliarella led the line up front.

Toro started the brightest in the opening twenty minutes, but Pontus Jansson had their only half chance as he headed over the bar following a corner. Belgian keeper Gillet was forced into action on the half hour mark as he had to react quickly to deny Víctor Vázquez from just inside the area.

A poor backpass from debutant Gaston Silva gave Colombian José Izquierdo a chance to score, but he curled his shot over the bar from distance. In the second half, Argentine midfielder Juan Sanchez Mino came close to giving Toro the lead but his shot went narrowly wide of the far post.

Toro were once again thankful to Gillet as he pulled off an outstanding save to deny Nikola Storm's header. In the dying seconds, Toro substitute Josef Martinez had a chance to win all three points, but his shot was blocked by a Brugge defence that had been resolute all game.

This was a decent point for Torino in their opening match of the group against one of the better teams in the group, however the fact Toro have failed to score from open play since beating Brommapojkarna in early August continues to be a worry.

To see videos and photos from my trip to Bruges feel free to visit the newly created Torino FC Inglese.com Facebook page here

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Club Brugge V Torino Preview

Torino have made the short trip across Europe to the picturesque city of Bruges to face Club Brugge in their first ever Europa League group stage tie.

Giampiero Ventura has stated pre-match that he believes the Belgian team to be the strongest in the group, but despite this, fringe players such as Juan Sanchez Mino and Josef Martinez may be given opportunities to impress.

Club Brugge defeated Swiss side Grasshoppers Zurich in impressive fashion to reach the group stage, whilst the Granata laboured to a victory against RNK Split.

Prediction
Club Brugge 1-1 Torino

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sampdoria 2-0 Torino

Torino lost their first game of the season on Sunday afternoon after a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Sampdoria.

Giampiero Ventura decided to leave new signing Amauri on the bench, whilst Matteo Darmian missed out due to a slight injury.

An uneventful first half was livened up ten minutes before half time when Manolo Gabbiadini fired a free kick past Daniele Padelli from just outside the area.

The Granata improved in the second half, and felt they could have had a penalty when Fabio Quagliarella was fouled in the area, but the referee waved away any appeals and Omar El Kaddouri was booked for dissent.

Gabbiadini almost scored another free kick but this time hit the crossbar, but with ten minutes remaining an individual effort from Stefano Okaka where he ran from the halfway line before finishing well put the result beyond any doubt.

The result was extremely disappointing for the Granata, and if they are to emulate last season's top half finish, performances like this one will have to be few and far between.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Sampdoria V Torino Preview

After a two week break due to international fixtures, Torino return to Serie A action when they face Sampdoria in the early kick off on Sunday afternoon.

Deadline day acquisition Amauri is expected to make his debut for the Granata, whilst Juan Sanchez Mino could make his first start.

Like Toro, the home side also drew their opening game of the season as an injury time equaliser gave ten men Samp a point at Palermo.

Prediction
Sampdoria 1-1 Torino


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Arrivederci Alessio!


When Alessio Cerci signed for Torino two seasons ago, his arrival was marked by jubilant scenes from Toro supporters, with hundreds waiting at the training ground to greet their new arrival.

It is easy to forget now, but before his move to the Granata, there were major concerns over Cerci's attitude due to a number of incidents that marred his spell at Fiorentina. The story about telling a police officer that he would move his car, that had been parked illegally, (but only after he had finished his meal) is well known, but on the field the red card he received for literally kicking Martin Caceres up the arse in a match against Juventus meant his days were always numbered at the Viola.

The opportunity to re-unite with former coach and father figure Giampiero Ventura was too good to turn down for the man affectionately known as 'Winston' and in August 2012 he signed for Torino on a co-ownership deal. For the Granata, this was their one marquee signing ahead of their return to the Italian top flight, whilst for Cerci, this was one final opportunity to fulfil the potential that had been obvious since making his debut as a sixteen year old at Roma.

In his first season at Toro, Cerci made a positive contribution with eight goals and eight assists as the Granata narrowly avoided relegation. The former Roma man also received international recognition and was called up to Italy's Confederations cup squad that summer, despite only making his azzurri debut a few months previously.

However, it was in his second season with the club that the 'Henry of Valmontone' really showed what he was capable of. With coach Giampiero Ventura switching to a 3-5-2 formation, Cerci was moved from his favoured position on the right wing to become a striker.

Despite a slow start, Ventura's decision paid off as Cerci formed a formidable strike partnership with Ciro Immobile (who would also later go on to represent his country). Towards the end of the season, with Toro fighting for a Europa League spot, Cerci had his most memorable moment in a Torino shirt by scoring an injury time winner against Genoa only seconds after Immobile had equalised.

In the final game of the 2013-14 season, Toro needed to beat Cerci's former club Fiorentina in order to guarantee qualification for Europe for the first time in 20 years. Torino's number eleven was instrumental in helping the Granata come from behind on two occasions, and with the score level at 2-2, Toro were awarded a penalty in injury time and the script was written for Cerci to make himself a legend.

However, the unthinkable happened. Fiorentina goalkeeper Antonio Rosati saved his penalty and the game finished 2-2. At the final whistle, Cerci was inconsolable as he fell to the turf and (like many of the supporters) was unable to hold back the tears. Then incredibly, the Toro fans began to sing his name, despite thinking their chances of European football were now over, they were grateful for what he had done for their club over the past two seasons and knew that without his goals and assists they would have had no chance of returning to European football.

However, this story took another dramatic twist after it was revealed that sixth placed Parma had failed to pay their tax bill and were excluded from competing in European competition by the Italian FA. That meant that it was seventh placed Torino who, in rather exceptional circumstances, had qualified for the Europa League.

Perhaps naively, I honestly believe that had Toro not received this reprieve then Alessio Cerci may have chosen to stay for at least one more season to make amends for his missed penalty, and to repay the fans who had supported him in arguably the most difficult moment of his career.

However in hindsight, that missed penalty is now irrelevant, and this summer Cerci asked to be given the opportunity to leave the club. This was granted on the final day of the transfer window as he completed a move to Spanish champions Athletico Madrid.

Whilst as a Torino supporter, I am disappointed that Alessio has left the club, I personally do not begrudge him for leaving, as I understand that the career of a professional footballer is extremely short, and the chance to test himself in the Champions League may not come around again.

The Granata's decision to replace Cerci with Amauri has already come under much criticism, but that is another discussion for another day.

But thank you for the memories Alessio, thank you very much!

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Torino 0-0 Inter

Torino earnt a deserved point on the opening day of the Serie A season on Sunday evening, but were left to rue Marcelo Larrondo' first half penalty miss.

The Granata lined up in the usual 3-5-2 formation, with the surprise name in the starting line up being that of Alessandro Gazzi, who had been linked with a move away from the club.

Toro were given an excellent opportunity to take the lead in only the 20th minute of the game, when debutant Nemanja Vidic was harshly penalised for a shirt tug on Fabio Quagliarella in the area. Despite the fact that Quagliarella and Omar El Kaddouri have converted spot kicks this season, it was Marcelo Larrondo who stepped up and the Argentine saw his penalty saved by Samir Handanovic.

Inter struggled to create chances in the opening half, although Andrea Ranocchia should have done better with a header from a corner.

In the second half, Larrondo almost made amends for his missed penalty when his knockdown found Quagliarella, but the veteran striker's shot went narrowly wide of the post.

Substitute Daniel Osvaldo was a goal for his new club after his shot was well saved by Daniele Padelli, and Toro were thankful for Alessandro Gazzi's sensational last ditch tackle to deny Gary Medel from converting the rebound.

With only seconds remaining, Inter's Nemanja Vidic was shown a controversial red card for sarcastically applauding referee Daniele Doveri, however both sides had to settle for a point.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Torino v Inter Preview

The Serie A season kicks off this weekend and Torino face a difficult home game against Inter on Sunday evening.

This summer has been a difficult one for the Granata, with last season's capocannoniere Ciro Immobile departing the club for Borussia Dortmund, whilst their has been constant speculation over the future of Alessio Cerci.

That speculation is sure to continue as once again Cerci is absent from the Torino squad, but with only three days remaining of the transfer window remaining, time is running out for clubs to meet Torino's €20m valuation of the player.

Argentine Juan Sanchez Miño is named in a Torino squad for the first time, as the player has finally received his Italian passport after a number of delays. With Paulo Barreto injured, Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez could be given his first start for the club, whilst Antonio Nocerino should return to the starting eleven in place of the suspended Giuseppe Vives.

Opponents Inter have also had a busy summer in the transfer market, and Nemanja Vidic, Gary Medel and Yann M'Villa are all in line to make their Serie A debuts.

Prediction 
Torino 0-2 Inter

Torino 1-0 RNK Split

Torino progressed to the Europa League group stage after a nervy 1-0 victory over Croatians RNK Split on Thursday evening.

Fabio Quagliarella made his first start for Toro, whilst Nicola Maksimovic and Marco Benassi were also surprise starters ahead of Cesare Bovo and Antonio Nocerino.

Omar El Kaddouri almost caught out Andrija Vuković with a free kick at his near post, but the goalkeeper who impressed many in the first leg was equal to the task.

Torino had Daniele Padelli to thank moments afterwards, when he managed to divert Mate Bilić's close range header wide of the target. Almost immediately after that near escape, the Granata were awarded a penalty when El Kaddouri's low cross hit the arm of defender Ivan Ibriks.

The Moroccan international stepped up to take the penalty and calmly sent the impressive Vuković the wrong way.

Fabio Quagliarella, who has a reputation of scoring spectacular goals almost added another to his collection, but his effort from nearly 40 yards was tipped over the bar. The former Italian international came even closer to scoring just before the break but his volley went narrowly wide of the post.

Toro continued to create chances in the second half, but were unable to put the tie beyond doubt with substitute Josef Martinez coming closest to extend their advantage. This failure to put the game to bed lead to a nervy last ten minutes for the home side, but much to the fans' relief they were able to hold on.

In Friday's group stage draw, the Granata were handed a favourable draw as they will face Danish side København, Belgian side Club Brugge and finally Finnish champions HJK. This draw may give the Granata an added belief that their European adventure may extend into 2015.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Torino V RNK Split Preview

Torino are just 90 minutes away from the Europa League group stage, but they will have to beat RNK Split on Thursday evening in order to progress.

After a 0-0 draw in Croatia a week ago, it could be a nerve-racking night for the Granata, who will be without striker Marcelo Larrondo who picked up an injury in training earlier this week. 

That should mean that Fabio Quagliarella will make his first start for Toro since re-joining the club, and he could be partnered by Venezuelan international Josef Martinez up front.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 RNK Split

Saturday, 23 August 2014

RNK Split 0-0 Torino

The Granata were made to rue missed chances as they failed to score a crucial away goal in their Europa League playoff round match against RNK Split.

Fabio Quagliarella was once again left on the bench as Giampiero Ventura decided to keep faith with strike duo Paulo Barreto and Marcelo Larrondo.

It was the Argentine striker who had Torino's best chance of the first half, but he was denied by the Croatian side's goalkeeper Andrija Vuković.

RNK were creating chances themselves, mainly from set pieces, but Cameroonian Henri Belle forced Daniele Padelli to push his ambitious 35 yard shot over the crossbar.

In the second half, Larrondo was once again denied by Vuković, whilst Padelli also had to make a save to deny Croatian striker Mate Bilić.

Former Italian international Quagliarella came off the bench with twenty minutes remaining to try and get a winning goal for Toro, but even he was unable to find a breakthrough.

Due to having so many clear cut chances, Toro will be disappointed not to have won the game but will still feel they are favourites to progress with the home leg at the Stadio Olimpico to come next Thursday.

Forza Toro


Thursday, 21 August 2014

RNK Split v Torino Preview

Torino are just two matches away from the group stage of the Europa League, but face a difficult trip to Croatia this evening.

Opponents RNK Split impressively saw off Ukrainian side Chornomorets Odesa in the previous round, so will certainly be a difficult proposition for the Granata.

Despite finally getting his Italian passport, Juan Sanchez Mino is not included in the squad, neither is Alessio Cerci, which may be a sign that he may be departing the club shortly.

Prediction
RNK Split 1-2 Torino

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Torino 4-0 Brommapojkarna

Torino secured their place in the next round of the Europa League with a convincing 4-0 victory over Swedish side Brommapojkarna.

Matteo Darmian came into the starting eleven to make his first start of the season, as did new signings Ruben Perez and Marco Benassi.

The Granata were ahead within five minutes in comical fashion, when Kristinn Jónsson managed to score an own goal after the ball ricocheted off him following Davor Blažević's save from a Marcelo Larrondo strike.

Despite dominating the game, Toro had to wait until the end of the half to double their lead, and it was World Cup sensation Matteo Darmian who scored his 2nd goal for the club, with the aid of a deflection.

Just before the hour mark, Fabio Quagliarella came on to make his Torino debut for a second time - over ten years after making his first appearance for the club. The former Italian international was given an opportunity for a debut goal after a Swedish defender was penalised for handball in the area, Quagliarella stepped up and made no mistake to extend Torino's lead.

In injury time, a fine cross from Cristian Molinaro found substitute Josef Martinez unmarked, and the Venezuelan striker headed home to score his first goal for the Granata.

An aggregate scoreline of 7-0 in their first European game in twenty years was certainly impressive for Torino, but in all honesty, Brommapojkarna were a poor side who rarely threaten Toro at all during the two legs. The Granata face one more tie before they can secure their place in the Europa League group stage, and Croatian side RNK Split will certainly provide a tougher test in the next round.

Forza Toro!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Torino v Brommapojkarna Preview

Torino will play the second leg of their Europa League tie against Swedish side Brommapojkarna on Thursday evening, with the Granata 3-0 ahead after the first leg.

Toro should have won by more goals a week ago in Sweden, but they will hope to put on a convincing performance in front of their home fans, with over 22,000 tickets being sold.

Fabio Quagliarella could make his second debut for the Granata, but Matteo Darmian and Alessio Cerci are not expected to be risked.

Prediction
Torino 3-1 Brommapojkarna

Friday, 1 August 2014

Brommapojkarna 0-3 Torino

Torino have one foot in the next round of the Europa league following their convincing 3-0 victory over Brommapojkarna in Sweden on Thursday evening.

As expected, Cristian Molinaro and Antonio Nocerino made their competitive debuts for the Granata, but the other nine players were all at Torino last season, including the front two of Paulo Barreto and Marcelo Larrondo.

Torino should have taken the lead on two occasions through Argentine striker Larrondo, but first he was denied by home goalkeeper Davor Blažević and then a strike from outside the area clipped the crossbar. Debutant Cristian Molinaro also came close to giving Torino the lead, but Blažević made another fine save to deny him.

However, on the stroke of half time, Paulo Barreto was brought down in the area by Bromma captain Pontus Segerström who received a red card and Marcelo Larrondo calmly converted from the spot.

Early in the second half Toro doubled their lead when they capitalised on a mistake in the Swedish sides defence and Antonio Nocerino crossed for Larrondo to head home a second. Five minutes later the result was put beyond doubt when a well-worked free kick allowed Paulo Barreto to tap in from close range.

However, some complacency in the Toro defence led to Giuseppe Vives bringing down striker Dardan Rexhepi in the area, and he also received his marching orders. However, when the Swede stepped up to take the penalty himself, he blazed the ball high over the bar.

Josef Martinez, Ruben Perez and Marco Benassi all came on to make their Toro debuts in the second half, as Toro cruised to an impressive victory ahead of the second leg next Thursday. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Brommapojkarna v Torino Preview

Torino face their first European fixture in over 20 years when they face Brommapojkarna in Stockholm this evening.

The Granata are without Alessio Cerci and Matteo Darmian who are still lacking fitness after featuring in the World Cup. New signing Fabio Quagliarella also hasn't made the journey to Sweden, but should hopefully feature for his 'second' debut in the 2nd Leg next Thursday. 

Cristian Molinaro, Antonio Nocerino and Josef Martinez should all make their competitive debuts for the Granata after signing in the summer. Swedish side Brommapojkarna are currently mid-way through their league season but are currently bottom of the table with only one victory all season. 

Prediction
Brommapojkarna 0-1 Torino

Sunday, 27 July 2014

My Toro Story #1 : Rob Gillman

With there being so many Torino fans from all across the globe who visit this website or contact me on Twitter, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about each fan, and how they came about supporting Toro.

I've decided to start this feature with 'My Toro Story' but the idea is to make this a regular feature throughout the new season, so please email me at torinoblogger@hotmail.co.uk with your answers to the below questions and you too can be featured on the blog.


Name : Rob Gillman

Age : 24

Other Teams Supported : Southampton

How and when did you start supporting Torino : I fell in love with the club after reading about its tragic history in a copy of ‘FourFourTwo’ magazine whilst on a family holiday to Milan in 2005. Having been a big fan of Italian football since the days it was presented by the magnificent James Richardson on Channel 4 in England, it was only natural that I would go and see some live Calcio whilst in Italy, and I was luckily enough to visit the San Siro to see both Milan (v Palermo) and Inter (v Roma) play. The passionate atmosphere that I witnessed at both of these matches increased my interest in Italian football, and therefore I decided it was essential to find an Italian club that I could support. Both Milan clubs were immediately eliminated, as despite enjoying my experiences at the San Siro, I didn’t want to be accused of being a glory supporter by choosing one of the established giants of the Italian game. And then, as if by chance, I read about Torino – once the greatest force in Italian football before being beset by the tragedy of Superga. My mind was made up; Torino would be my Italian team. The fact that in 2005 they were plying their trade in Serie B didn’t deter me (My English team Southampton had also recently been relegated to the second tier), and something that I did not know at the time, but obviously know now, is that Torino won their last scudetto in 1976, the same year that Southampton won their only major trophy, The FA Cup. Maybe it is a coincidence, but I like to think that it was my destiny to become a Torino fan, no matter how corny that sounds.

First Memories : I can remember watching my first Torino game on television in May 2006, as the Serie B playoffs were being broadcast on Eurosport in the UK. I was still in my early stages of being a Torino fan, so didn't really know much about the players, but can remember the commentators being confused about how the playoff system worked in Italy, and did not realise that the final against Mantova would go to extra time.

First Match Attended : My first Torino game was in October 2006, but unfortunately it didn't go so well as the Granata lost 1-0 to Fiorentina after an early Martin Jorgensen goal. 

Favourite Former Players : I only like to judge players who I have seen play, therefore these are both players from the last decade. My first Toro hero was Alessandro Rosina who the team was built around after initially gaining promotion from Serie B. Those who know me also know that I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Rolando Bianchi, and I was lucky enough to meet him when his current club Bologna played in England last year.

Favourite Current Players : Kamil Glik, Omar El Kaddouri, Fabio Quagliarella

Favourite Torino Goal : Alessandro Rosina v Lazio. I'm slightly biased when judging this goal as I was able to witness this goal live in the stadium and literally couldn't believe what I had just seen. 

Predictions/Hopes for this Season : It will be difficult to replicate the sensational campaign of last year, especially with the departure of Ciro Immobile but another top half finish is certainly a realistic aim. A decent run in the Coppa Italia along with reaching the Group Stage of the Europa League (where we will hopefully face an English side) would represent a successful season in my opinion. 

Going to a Match

If you are ever in Turin and fancy going to watch a game, you can find all the details that you will need below.

Stadium
Torino play their home games at the Stadio Olimpico, that was newly renovated in 2006 for the Winter Olympics in the city. From Porta Nuova train station you reach the stadium via the #4 tram until Filadelfia, or from Porta Susa station catch the #10 tram until Sebastopoli.

Tickets
Despite having a relatively modest capacity of 27,958, the Granata rarely sell out for home games, so their should be no problem in getting a ticket. The best atmosphere in the stadium is in the Curva Maratona which is where you will find the most passionate Torino fans. There are a number of places where you can purchase tickets around the city, but for convenience I usually buy my ticket at the stadium box office a couple of days before the match. Remember to take your passport when purchasing tickets and also when going to the game.

If you ever have any more questions, please don't hesitate contacting me either via the website or on Twitter (@TorinoBlogger).

Torino to face Brommapojkarna

Torino will kick off their Europa League campaign with a two legged tie against Swedish side Brommapojkarna starting with the away leg on the 31st July.

As expected, the side who ply their trade in the top tier of Swedish football prevailed against Northern Irish side Crusaders after a 1-1 draw on Thursday.

The Granata will be hoping for a favourable result in the first leg, ahead of the return fixture in Turin on August 7th.

Forza Toro

Friday, 18 July 2014

Torino learn Europa League opponents

Torino will face either IF Brommapojkarna from Sweden or Crusaders FC from Northern Ireland in the Europa League third qualifying round.

With Brommapojkarna 4-0 up following the first leg of their tie with Crusaders on Thursday, it is almost certain that the Granata will be facing the Swedish side in their first taste of European football in nearly twenty years.

The Stockholm-based side only qualified for the Europa League via the fair play league, as they only finished 13th in their domestic league last season. This season, they are currently bottom of the Swedish Allsvenskan having only won once in fourteen matches - although as they are in the middle of their domestic season, they may be fitter than their Italian rivals who have yet to complete their pre-season fixtures.

Torino will know their opponents for certain on the 24th July, and will then play the two legs of this tie on the following two Thursdays - the 31st July and 7th August.

Quagliarella returns to Toro

Torino have completed the signing of Fabio Quagliarella from rivals Juventus for a fee in the region of €3 million euros - nine years after the leaving the club after bankruptcy.

Quagliarella scored seven times in thirty-eight appearances in his first spell with the Granata, the team he started his career with. Since leaving, Quagliarella has become one the best Italian strikers of his generation, with a reputation of scoring spectacular goals during his spells at Sampdoria, Udinese, Napoli and Juventus.

The Italian international has won twenty-five caps for his country, with the highlight undoubtedly being this spectacular goal in the 2010 World Cup against Slovakia.

Welcome Back to Torino Fabio!


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Nocerino joins Torino

Torino added another reinforcment ahead of the new season by completing the signing of Antonio Nocerino on loan from AC Milan this evening.

Former Italy international Nocerino spent part of last season on loan at Premier League side West Ham United and can also count Juventus and Palermo amongst his former clubs.

Nocerino (whose wife is a Torino supporter) had been a main transfer target for the Granata this summer, but it was believed his high salary could scupper any deal. However, it is believed that AC Milan will now contribute to Nocerino's wages and that meant the deal accelerated quickly on Tuesday evening.

Welcome to Torino Antonio!