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.

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.

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.

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.

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