Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Torino 0-1 Udinese

Torino ended the year in disappointing fashion after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Udinese on Sunday evening.

Pontus Jansson was a surprise starter in place of captain Kamil Glik, whilst Marco Benassi and Fabio Quagliarella also returned to the starting eleven.

Udinese capitalised on a slow start by the Granata, and both Stipe Perica and Antonio Di Natale went close in the early stages. At the other end, Fabio Quagliarella almost ended his goal drought, but his long range effort went narrowly over the bar.

Andrea Belotti also came close to opening the scoring for Toro, but his half volley was well saved by Orestis Karnezis.

Five minutes before half time, Udinese took the lead after a defensive mix up allowed Stipe Perica to get through on goal and score.

Fabio Quagliarella almost got on the end of a clever Cristian Molinaro free kick, but was unable to get a shot away. Edenilson and Perica both had chances to double Udinese's lead, but Toro had a lifeline when Molla Wague was dismissed for a second yellow card after pulling back Quagliarella.

However, Toro couldn't capitalise on the extra man advantage and end the year in 11th place, athough they do have a game in hand.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Torino v Udinese Preview

After their mid-week thumping at the hands of Juventus, Torino will look to give their fans something to cheer in their last fixture of 2015. 

The Granata have been in good recent form in the league, and have not been beaten since a narrow defeat against Inter at the start of November.

Bruno Peres is suspended, so Davide Zappacosta should deputise at right wing back, whilst Danilo Avelar made his return from injury against Juventus and could also start.

Udinese have lost their last two league games, heavy defeats against Fiorentina and Inter, but have already won once this season in Turin - a shock 1-0 victory at Juventus on the opening weekend.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Udinese

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Juventus 4-0 Torino

Torino crashed out of the Coppa Italia after a humiliating 4-0 defeat to city rivals Juventus on Wednesday evening.

Giampiero Ventura started with Salvador Ichazo in goal in place of regular number one Daniele Padelli, whilst Fabio Quagliarella was left on the bench as Andrea Belotti and Maxi Lopez started up front.

After a tentative start to the game, a controversial moment changed the game as referee Daniele Doveri failed to dismiss Juventus striker Simone Zaza. The former Sassuolo man, who was already on a yellow card made a late challenge on Toro keeper Ichazo, but the referee failed to produce a second yellow.

To add insult to injury, Juventus took the lead moments later when Alvaro Morata's cross was volleyed home by who else, Simone Zaza.

Toro's task was made even tougher just four minutes into the second half when former Juventus man Cristian Molinaro received a second yellow card. And from the resulting free kick, with the assistance of some poor Torino defending, Simone Zaza scored his second of the game.

Juve substitute Paulo Dybala curled in a third goal, whilst Paul Pogba made it 4-0 with a long range free kick late on to cap a miserable night for the Granata.

Forza Toro!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Juventus v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to the Juventus stadium for the second time in less than two months as they face their city rivals in a Coppa Italia last sixteen tie.

The cup could represent Toro's best opportunity to qualify for Europe this season, and have been taking the competition seriously and will continue to do so against the Bianconeri.

The Granata have been well rested after Saturday's fixture against Sassuolo was postponed, and Toro will be hoping to gain revenge for October's heartbreaking last minute defeat.

The Coppa Italia is certainly not Juventus' priority this season, and therefore Massimiliano Allegri is expected to rotate his squad and use a number of fringe players. Daniele Rugani, Martin Caceres and Simone Zaza are all expected to start, and Torino may hope to take advantage.

Forza Toro

Sassuolo P-P Torino

Torino's fixture with Sassuolo was postponed before kick off on Saturday evening, with heavy fog causing visibility issues.

A re-arranged date for this fixture has yet to be announced, but it is likely to be either January 13th, 20th, or 27th depending on the Granata's success in their Coppa Italia tie on Wednesday.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Sassuolo v Torino Preview

Torino will look to continue their recent good form when they travel to Reggio Emilio on Saturday evening to face a Sassuolo side who are also in good form.

Toro will be without the suspended Bruno Peres, so Davide Zappacosta should deputise, whilst Marco Benassi will miss out through injury.

The Granata may have one eye on Wednesday's Coppa Italia tie with Juventus but will be unable to take the home side lightly. Sassuolo are unbeaten at home, and have already beaten Napoli and Juventus at the Mapei stadium this season.

Prediction
Sassuolo 1-1 Torino

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Torino 1-1 Roma

Torino's impressive recent form continued as they fought back to score an injury time equaliser to earn a point against title challengers Roma.

The Granata were unchanged from the side that beat Bologna last weekend, with Andrea Belotti partnering Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

Andrea Belotti almost scored his second goal in successive games, but he was somehow denied by an excellent save by Wojciech Szczęsny's legs.

Bruno Peres also came close as his long range effort was deflected by Lucas Digne and almost snuck past the Polish goalkeeper.

Edin Dzeko wasted a great chance for the away side when he headed over the bar, whilst Juan Iturbe did the same moments later.

With less than ten minutes remaining, Roma took the lead when Daniele Padelli failed to deal with a floated free kick from Miralem Pjanić which somehow beat everyone and found its way into the net.

Substitute Josef Martinez forced a save out of Szczęsny with an impressive volley, whilst at the other end, Edin Dzeko should have put the game beyond any doubt but was denied by Padelli.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Toro were awarded a controversial penalty when Andrea Belotti was adjudged to have been fouled by Kostas Manolas, although it did look as if the Greek defender had won the ball.

With usual penalty taker Fabio Quagliarella off the pitch, Maxi Lopez took responsibility and sent Szczęsny the wrong way to earn Torino a deserved point.

Forza Toro!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Torino v Roma Preview

Torino will look to make it four wins in a row when they face Roma on Saturday afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico.

Fabio Quagliarella and Andrea Belotti could both return after missing out against Cesena in mid week, whilst captain Kamil Glik should also return.

Roma have lost their last two games against Barcelona and Atalanta and will also have one eye on Wednesday's crucial Champions League tie against BATE Borisov.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Roma

Torino 4-1 Cesena

Torino progressed to the last 16 of the Coppa Italia and a tie against Juventus after a convincing 4-1 win over Cesena on Tuesday evening.

The Granata made a number of changes from the side who beat Bologna on Saturday and it only took three minutes for Torino to take the lead.

Daniele Baselli's corner caused havoc for the Cesena defence and although Emiliano Moretti and Josef Martinez both had efforts saved, Alessandro Gazzi finally bundled the ball home. Toro doubled their lead ten minutes later, as another Baselli corner was flicked on by Gazzi and Emiliano Moretti tapped in.

Josef Martinez was so close to getting his first goal of the season, but the Venezuelan somehow saw his effort cleared off the line by strike partner Maxi Lopez.

Six minutes after half time Toro added to their lead after great interplay between Martinez and Lopez allowed the latter to score with a nice finish past Federico Agliardi.

Emmanuel Cascione reduced the arrears for the away side with 25 minutes remaining, but Marco Benassi put the result beyond any doubt with an excellent solo effort in the closing stages.

Forza Toro

Monday, 30 November 2015

Torino v Cesena Preview

Torino will look to secure a Coppa Italia tie against Juventus as they face Serie B side Cesena on Tuesday evening.

Giampiero Ventura may use this game as an opportunity to rotate his squad, so fringe players Davide Zappacosta, Alessandro Gazzi and Josef Martinez could all start. Fabio Quagliarella will definitely miss out due to a slight injury, whilst Pontus Jansson is included in the squad after an injury of his own.

Cesena were relegated from Serie A last season but looking to bounce straight back at the first attempt and are currently 4th in Serie B. Toro goalkeeper Alfred Gomis is actually at loan at Cesena, but is not expected to feature against his parent club tomorrow.

Prediction
Torino 3-0 Cesena

Torino 2-0 Bologna

Torino won for the second game in succession as they beat an in form Bologna team on Saturday evening.

Giampiero Ventura kept faith with the same team who beat Atalanta last weekend, so it was Andrea Belotti and Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

Daniele Baselli had the first chance of the game, but his long range effort was well save by Antonio Mirante. Toro dominated the first half, and the former Parma keeper also had to turn an effort from Giuseppe Vives around the post.

Fabio Quagliarella almost ended his goal drought for the Granata, but his cushioned header hit the bar. With fifteen minutes remaining, Toro finally got their deserved goal and it was a Andrea Belotti who scored his first goal for his new club.

The former Palermo man received the ball on the edge of the area before running past the defender and finishing past Antonio Mirante.

In injury time, Toro doubled their lead after a mistake by the Bologna defence allowed Giuseppe Vives to run through on goal, and the veteran midfielder finished from a difficult angle to secure all three points.

Forza Toro

Friday, 27 November 2015

Torino v Bologna Preview


Torino will look to build on their impressive victory against Atalanta when they face Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening.

Andrea Belotti should retain his place up front alongside Fabio Quagliarella after a good performance last time out, although he is still waiting for his first Toro goal.

Bologna have witnessed an upturn in fortunes after Roberto Donadoni replaced Delio Rossi and have gained seven points from his three games in charge.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Bologna

Monday, 23 November 2015

Atalanta 0-1 Torino

Torino ended their run of six games without a win after to deserved win against Atalanta thanks to Cesare Bovo's goal.

Cesare Bovo returned from suspension so returned to the starting eleven, whilst Afriyie Acquah replaced the injured Marco Benassi in midfield.

Andrea Belotti, who is yet to open his account for Torino, had the first opportunity of the match but his shot was well saved by Marco Sportiello.

Belotti once again had a great chance to correct that statistic moments later, but he failed to make any contact with Bruno Peres' excellent cross. The ball kept falling to the former Palermo man, and he came even closer to opening the scoring when his header hit the crossbar from a Cristian Molinaro assist.

Toro did eventually take the lead seven minutes into the second half, when Daniele Baselli's cross was volleyed home by Cesare Bovo. That goal meant that Bovo has now scored in successive games for Torino, as the defender also scored an equaliser in the Derby Della Mole.

Some poor defending by the Granata gave German Denis a great chance to equalise, but the Argentine could only find the side netting. At the other end, Andrea Belotti once again came close, this time hitting the post, but in hindsight, a pass to strike partner Quagliarella may have been the better option.

Toro needed a last minute intervention by Cristian Molinaro to deny Andrea Masiello, but the Granata held on for a much needed victory.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Atalanta v Torino Preview

Torino will look to end a run of six games without a win when they travel to Bergamo to play Atalanta on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata have not won since a 2-1 victory against Palermo at the end of September, but will be boosted by the return of Cesare Bovo from suspension.

Opponents Atalanta are unbeaten at home this season, winning four of their five fixtures including an impressive 2-1 victory against Lazio in their last game.

However, Toro will take heart from the fact they beat their hosts in this fixture last season - with captain Kamil Glik scoring in a 2-1 victory.

Prediction
Atalanta 1-1 Torino

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Torino 0-1 Inter

Torino's run of winless games stretched to six as they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Inter on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico.

Gaston Silva was chosen to replace the suspended Cesare Bovo whilst Marco Benassi and Andrea Belotti were also given starts.

And it was former Inter man Benassi who almost scored his second spectacular goal of the season, but his long range effort hit the bar.

The Granata were made to pay for that missed opportunity, as Inter went straight down the other end and took the lead. Yuto Nagatomo's free kick was flicked on by Rodrigo Palacio and the ball fell to Geoffrey Kondogbia who volleyed home.

Toro thought they had valid claims for a penalty before half time when Andrea Belotti was tripped by Jeison Murillo, but the referee waved away the former Palermo man's protests.

Samir Handanovic made two sensational saves to first deny Fabio Quagliarella and then Andrea Belotti as Torino began to dominate. However, despite two more chances for Quagliarella, Toro could not find a way past the Slovenian and fell to their first home defeat of the season.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Torino v Inter Preview

Torino will look to bounce back from their heartbreaking last minute defence against Juventus when they face Inter on Sunday.

The Granata have not won a game since the 27th September, a 1-0 victory at home to Palermo, so will be looking to amend that statistic.

Toro will have to do without Derby Della Mole goal hero Cesare Bovo who is suspended, so Vasyl Pryima could make his debut.

Inter have been in great form this season and have only lost one game, a surprise 4-1 home defeat by Fiorentina.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Inter

Monday, 2 November 2015

Juventus 2-1 Torino

For the second year in succession, Torino suffered Derby Della Mole heartbreak at the Juventus Stadium after Juan Cuadrado's injury time winner.

Maxi Lopez and Afriyie Acquah started in favour of Andrea Belotti and Marco Benassi, whilst as expected, Fabio Quagliarella came back into the starting eleven.

Toro had the first opportunity in the game, but former Juventus striker Quagliarella could only hit the side netting from a well-worked free kick routine. And they were made to the pay the price, as the home side went straight down the other end and opened the scoring through Paul Pogba's long range volley, although Daniele Padelli's positioning surely needs to be questioned.

Torino reacted well to that setback and Daniele Baselli's excellent pass found Fabio Quagliarella whose effort went narrowly wide of the post.

Six minutes into the second half the Granata found their equaliser via an unlikely source - central defender Cesare Bovo. Toro were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and Bovo played an excellent one-two with team mate Daniele Baselli before firing the ball past Gigi Buffon with his left foot.*

The Granata had chances to win it, and Kamil Glik twice tested Buffon with headers, whilst Giuseppe Vives also forced the Juve captain into a save after a long range shot.

However, just as had happened twelve months previously, Juventus denied Toro a deserved point with an injury time winner. Paul Pogba capitalised on slight hesitation in the Torino defence and found substitute Alex Sandro whose low cross was converted by Juan Cuadrado.

This was another heartbreaking derby defeat by the Granata, whose fans will at least be encouraged by the performance. However, the fact they conceded an injury time goal for a second game in a row will certainly be a worry.

Forza Toro

*there is a slight chance that this was not a deliberate training ground routine, and the ball inadvertently hit Baselli.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Juventus v Torino Preview

After ending a run of twenty years without beating Juventus back in April, Torino will have renewed optimism ahead of Saturday's Derby della Mole.

The Granata are without a win in four following Wednesday's disappointing draw with Genoa, but face a Juventus side struggling to cope without summer departures of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez.

Therefore, despite Toro's poor recent form, they are still three points and two places above their city rivals. The Bianconeri suffered their fourth defeat of the season in midweek at Sassuolo which lead to experienced goalkeeper Gigi Buffon issuing a rallying cry to his teammates and the squad being placed in Ritiro.

Toro will be without a number of key players with Danilo Avelar, Nikola Maksimovic, Joel Obi Alessandro Gazzi and Josef Martinez all out injured. The toughest choice for Giampiero Ventura may be who partners Fabio Quagliarella up front and whether he goes for the energy of Andrea Belotti or the experience of Maxi Lopez.

Forza Toro

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Torino 3-3 Genoa

Torino scored and then conceded in injury time to conclude an error-ridden but highly entertaining 3-3 draw with Genoa on Wednesday night.

With Saturday's derby against Juventus in mind, Giampiero Ventura chose to rest Bruno Peres, Daniele Baselli and Fabio Quagliarella - with Andrea Belotti partnering Maxi Lopez up front.

Genoa took the lead mid-way through the first half when Daniele Padelli misjudged a punched clearance from a deflected cross and that allowed Diego Laxalt to head in.

Toro were back level two minutes later when Ezequiel Munoz failed to deal with a long ball, and fellow Argentine Maxi Lopez nipped in to finish past Mattia Perin.

The Granata took the lead ten minutes before half time with an exquisite goal from Davide Zappacosta as the former Atalanta man volleyed home from outside the area following a corner.

Genoa equalised with twenty minutes remaining when Leonardo Pavoletti received a through ball from substitute Serge Gakpe and finished well to beat Padelli.

Daniele Baselli and Bruno Peres both came off the bench as Toro looked for a winner, and they thought they had one in the 89th minute and once again it arrived in comical fashion. Marco Benassi's header was initially saved by Mattia Perin, but then ricocheted off the knee of former Torino midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis before trickling over the line.

However, there was more drama still to come and in the fourth minute of injury time, Genoa scored their equaliser as Diego Perotti's cross was headed home by Laxalt for his second of the game.

Forza Toro!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Torino v Genoa Preview

Torino will look to earn their first victory in three games when they face Genoa on Wednesday evening.

With the derby against Juventus coming up on Saturday, Giampiero Ventura may decide to rest a few players, and that could mean fringe players Sanjin Prcic and Josef Martinez may come into the side.

Genoa have struggled on the road this season, losing four of their five fixtures away from the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, including a 2-0 defeat against Empoli last time out.

However back in May, in the last meeting between the two sides it was Genoa who came out convincing 5-1 winners.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Genoa

Lazio 3-0 Torino

Torino's disappointing away form continued on Sunday evening as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against in form Lazio.

Andrea Belotti was rewarded for his impressive substitute appearance against AC Milan with a start, whilst Giuseppe Vives was preferred to Alessandro Gazzi in midfield and Bruno Peres returned from injury.

Toro started well and it was Bruno Peres who had their best chance of the half but his half-volley was tipped over the bar by former Toro keeper Federico Marchetti. However, five minutes before half time Toro fell behind when some suspect defending allowed Miroslav Klose to win a header, and the ball fell to Senad Lulic whose scuffed finish somehow beat Daniele Padelli.

Lazio doubled their lead with twenty minutes remaining, and the goal was simplicity at it's best. A long kick from Marchetti was headed on and Klose fed a through ball to Felipe Anderson who calmly finished past Padelli.

In injury time, Felipe Anderson added a third goal from just outside the area which was harsh on Toro - but sealed a third successive away defeat for the Granata.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Lazio v Torino Preview

Torino will look to improve their away form when they travel to the capital to face Lazio on Sunday evening.

The Granata have not won on the road since the opening day, and have lost their last two away fixtures against Chievo and Carpi. However, Giampiero Ventura has been able to include Brazilian wing back Bruno Peres in the squad following injury, whilst Ukrainian defender Vasyl Pryima is called up for the first time.

Lazio have won all four of their home league games this season, but did have to play over eighty minutes with ten men in the Europa League on Thursday, so Toro may be able to capitalise on a few tired legs.

Prediction
Lazio 1-1 Torino

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Torino 1-1 AC Milan

Torino were once again thankful to Daniele Baselli as they came from behind to earn a point against AC Milan on Sunday evening.

Cristian Molinaro returned from suspension for the home side whilst Afriyie Acquah and Alessandro Gazzi started in midfield instead of Marco Benassi and Giuseppe Vives.

In an uneventful first half, Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo had the best chance but his low drive was well saved by Daniele Padelli.

The rossoneri did take the lead mid-way through the second half after great work from Andrea Bertolacci who crossed the ball for substitute Carlos Bacca to open the scoring.

Daniele Baselli almost scored an immediate equaliser for the Granata, but his low shot whistled past the post with the aid of a deflection from Alex.

Toro brought on striker Andrea Belotti as they tried to get back into the match, and he made an instant impact as he inadvertently diverted the ball into the path of former Atalanta man Baselli who scored from a difficult angle.

The Granata had a great chance to earn all three points after on the counter attack when Acquah found Maxi Lopez in space, but the Argentine striker's effort was saved by Diego Lopez.

Toro had to settle for a point, and thus their 100% home record is now over, but this was probably a fair result.

Forza Toro

Friday, 16 October 2015

Torino V AC Milan Preview

Torino will look to maintain their 100% home record when they host AC Milan on Saturday evening.

The Granata suffered a disappointing defeat against Carpi before the international break, but will have Cristian Molinaro back from suspension, and Daniele Baselli back from injury as they look to bounce back.

AC Milan have problems of their own and suffered a humiliating 4-0 home defeat against Napoli last time out. Mario Balotelli will be unavailable for the Rossoneri, and that could mean that former Toro player Alessio Cerci will feature.

It has been fourteen years since Toro last beat Milan, a solitary Cristiano Lucarelli goal enough to earn the Granata all three points.

Prediction
Torino 2-2 AC Milan

Monday, 5 October 2015

Carpi 2-1 Torino

Torino wasted the chance to go top of Serie A for the first time since 1977 after a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Carpi on Saturday evening.

With Daniele Baselli and Cristian Molinaro unavailable, The Granata had to make changes with Alessandro Gazzi and Gaston Silva coming into the team.

Ryder Matos had a great opportunity to give the home side the lead, but he headed straight at Daniele Padelli in the Toro goal. At the other end, Gaston Silva had a great opportunity for Torino, but his volley was parried by Vid Belec.

Maxi Lopez was proving to be a constant handful for the Carpi defence, and his swivelled shot went narrowly wide of the post just before half time.

Carpi took the lead in fortunate fashion, when Gabriel Silva's long range shot rebounded off the post, and then hit Daniele Padelli before going in. The home side doubled their lead when Marco Borriello's excellent cross was headed home by Ryder Matos after a quick counter attack.

It took only three minutes for Toro to get back into the game, as they were awarded a penalty after Maxi Lopez was upended by Igor Bubnjic. The Argentine stepped forward to take the kick himself and immediately reduced the arrears.

But the Granata could not find an equaliser in the dying stages, and continue to struggle away from the Stadio Olimpico - having lost two of their last three away games.

Forza Toro

Friday, 2 October 2015

Carpi v Torino Preview

Torino have the chance to go top of the Serie A table for one day at least if they manage to beat Carpi on Saturday evening.

The Granata have never faced the Biancorossi in a competitive fixture, and travel to Modena with a number of selection issues.

Cristian Molinaro and Joel Obi miss out through suspension, whilst Nikola Maksimovic, Danilo Avelar, Daniele Baselli and Bruno Peres all miss out through injury. However, Alessandro Gazzi is available for selection following injury, whilst Primavera players Valerio Mantovani and Andrea Morello are also included in the squad.

Carpi have struggled so far in their debut Serie A season and have yet to win in their six matches so far, and suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat to Roma last weekend. That defeat, somewhat harshly, cost Fabrizio Castori his job, and he has been replaced by experienced tactician Beppe Sannino.

Prediction
Carpi 1-2 Torino

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Torino 2-1 Palermo

Torino maintained their 100% home record with a narrow victory over Palermo on Sunday afternoon, despite finishing the match with only nine men.

As expected, Maxi Lopez replaced Josef Martinez upfront, whilst Davide Zappacosta and Marco Benassi also came into the starting eleven.

Some neat footwork by Daniele Baselli in midfield put Fabio Quagliarella through on goal, but his shot was easily saved by former Toro keeper Stefano Sorrentino.

The away side were inches away from taking the lead through Aleksandar Trajkovski's thirty yard free kick which rattled off the crossbar.

Toro took the lead on the stroke of half time when Cristian Molinaro's low cross was deflected into his own net by Giancarlo Gonzalez under pressure from Lopez.

The Granata doubled their lead moments into the second half in sensational fashion when Maxi Lopez found Marco Benassi who scored a sensational Marco Van Basten-esque volley from a difficult angle.

The home side then found themselves reduced to ten men when Cristiano Molinaro received a second yellow card when he was penalised for pulling back Trajkovski. And Palermo ensured a nervy last twenty minutes when Giancarlo Gonzalez headed into the right net this time, as he converted Franco Vasquez's cross.

Torino were then reduced to nine men in injury time when substitute Joel Obi was given his marching orders for a rash foul on Vasquez. Toro were almost made to pay for that indiscipline in the dying seconds, but Aljaz Struna's hit the woodwork and Toro held on.

This was a great victory for Toro as they had to overcome adversity in order to claim the three points, and a win over Carpi would, temporarily at least, put the Granata top of Serie A.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Torino v Palermo Preview

Torino will have a chance to bounce back from Wednesday's disappointing to defeat against Chievo when they face Palermo on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata will be without Bruno Peres who has picked up a thigh injury so will be replaced by Davide Zappacosta at right wing back. Elsewhere, Marco Benassi and former Palermo man Andrea Belotti, who both came on against Chievo, could also come into the team.

Palermo won their first two games of the season but have not won any of their next three, their most recent game being a 1-0 home defeat by Sassuolo.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Palermo

Chievo 1-0 Torino

Torino fell to their first defeat of the season after a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Chievo on Wednesday evening.

Giampiero Ventura resisted the temptation to make changes, and instead only made one alteration from the side who beat Sampdoria with Josef Martinez replacing Andrea Belotti.

In a quiet first half, Toro came closest to scoring with Josef Martinez's off target header and Bruno Peres' cross which forced a save out of Albano Bizzarri.

In the second half, Padelli was forced into an excellent double save as he got down low to deny Alberto Paloschi's low drive and then got back up to save from Perparim Hetemaj.

Toro were again finding it difficult to create clear cut chances although Cristian Molinaro almost found Fabio Quagliarella with a low cross.

The home side almost took the lead in sensational fashion when former Torino striker Riccardo Meggiorini connected with an scissor kick which just went wide of the target.

With fifteen minutes remaining Chievo took the lead after a rare mistake from captain Kamil Glik who was caught out of position and that allowed Lucas Castro to run clear and finish well from just outside the box.

Toro couldn't find a way back into the match and therefore fell to their first defeat of the season, but the lack of energy and quality in the performance was probably more of a worry for the Toro fans.

Forza Toro!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Chievo v Torino Preview

Torino can go to the top of Serie A tonight if they beat Chievo and record their fourth victory of the season so far.

In order for this to happen, Toro would need a favour from Chievo's city rivals Hellas who face league leaders Inter tonight.

The Granata have no injury worries themselves, but there are rumours that Giampiero Ventura will make changes to the team - with Davide Zappacosta, Joel Obi and Josef Martinez all having a chance to come into the side.

Chievo made a promising start to the season by gaining 7 points from their first three games, but they narrowly lost to Inter last time out. Former Granata men Valter Birsa and Riccardo Meggiorini are key players for the home side, and should both start tonight.

Prediction
Chievo 1-1 Torino

Monday, 21 September 2015

Torino 2-0 Sampdoria

Torino's fine start to the season continued with an impressive 2-0 victory against Sampdoria on Sunday afternoon.

Emiliano Moretti returned to the Toro starting eleven whilst Afriyie Acquah made his first start in midfield.

Toro made a bright start and were ahead after only eighteen minutes when Bruno Peres' cross was met by a bullet header from former Samp striker Fabio Quagliarella. The Granata doubled that lead six minutes later when the away side failed to deal with a corner and Andrea Belotti's cross was tapped home by Quagliarella for his second of the game.

Despite their slow start, Sampdoria looked threatening going forward and Eder had a great chance to reduce the arrears when he rounded Daniele Padelli, but the Italian international could not beat either Kamil Glik or Emiliano Moretti on the line.

Padelli made a great save to deny Eder once again, whilst Toro continued to create chances on the counter attack with substitute Maxi Lopez hitting the side netting.

This was a good victory for the Granata whose bright start was key to beating a decent Sampdoria side, and moved them up to 2nd in the Serie A table for a couple of days at least.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Torino v Sampdoria Preview

Two unbeaten sides will meet on Sunday afternoon when Torino welcome Sampdoria to the Stadio Olimpico.

The Granata welcome Emiliano Moretti and Marco Benassi back into the squad, but Danilo Avelar misses out through injury. Afriyie Acquah could start in midfield after his goalscoring cameo off the bench against Hellas last weekend.

Like Toro, Sampdoria have won two and drawn one of their opening three Serie A fixtures with Brazilian striker Eder being in fine form having scored five goals already this season.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Sampdoria

Monday, 14 September 2015

Hellas Verona 2-2 Torino

Torino maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they twice came from behind to earn a deserved point against Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata were hampered with a number of injury problems, as Nikola Maksimovic,  Emiliano Moretti, Alessandro Gazzi and Marco Benassi all missed out. However, Andrea Belotti made his debut and joined Fabio Quagliarella in attack.

Toro were slow to start once again, and they were thankful for Daniele Padelli, who made a splendid one handed save to deny Luca Toni.

The second half was only four minutes old when the home side were awarded a controversial penalty when Pontus Jansson was adjudged to have tripped Juanito, despite replays showing the Brazilian had just missed his kick and fell over. Luca Toni stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake, as Toro went behind for the fourth game in succession.

However, Toro were level fifteen minutes later when home keeper Rafael could only parry Fabio Quagliarella's angled drive, and Daniele Baselli was able to tap home for his fourth goal in as many games.

Toro had looked vulnerable from set pieces all game and were punished when Hellas took the lead for a second time after Federico Viviani's floated free kick was headed home by Juanito.

However, the lead lasted for less than sixty seconds, as Rafael needlessly punched a Cristian Molinaro cross and the ball fell for substitute Afriyie Acquah who side footed the ball into the empty net.

Toro were unable to find a winning goal in the closing stages, and a point each was probably a fair result and it allowed the Granata to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hellas Verona v Torino Preview

Torino will look to maintain their 100% record when they travel to Verona to face Hellas on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata have a fine recent record against their hosts, winning their last three matches in Verona by a 3-1 scoreline.

However, Toro will have to make do without two of their first choice back three, as Nikola Maksimovic and Emiliano Moretti both miss out. They should be replaced by able deputies Cesare Bovo and Pontus Jansson, although youngster Valerio Mantovani has also been included in the squad and could be a surprise debutant.

Elsewhere in the team, Bosnian midfielder Sanjin Prcic is included in the squad for the first time, and Andrea Belotti could finally make his long awaited debut.

Hellas are seeking their first victory of the season, and whilst they earned a creditable 1-1 draw against Roma in the opening game, they fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Genoa last time out.

Prediction
Hellas Verona 1-1 Torino

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Torino 3-1 Fiorentina

Torino maintained their 100% record as for the third time this season they came from behind to win, with an impressive 3-1 victory against Fiorentina.

Toro only made two changes from the team who beat Frosinone as Giuseppe Vives and Josef Martinez came in for Alessandro Gazzi and Maxi Lopez.

The Granata made a slow start and were behind early on once again, as Nikola Kalinic's header was initially saved by Daniele Padelli but the rebound found former Bolton defender Marcos Alonso who tapped in.

Alonso then risked the wrath of the Curva Maratona by imitating a bull fighter in his celebration, a gesture which was deemed to be provocative by the referee and the Spaniard received a yellow card for his troubles. To Alonso's credit, he immediately issued an apology and stated that he never intended to offend the Toro supporters.

The home side were outclassed by the visitors in the first half and chances were limited, although Ciprian Tatarusanu did tip a Fabio Quagliarella header over the bar.

With twenty minutes remaining the Granata finally scored their equaliser as Emiliano Moretti pounced in the area following a corner and found the net with an excellent left footed volley.

And incredibly, a minute later, Toro were in the lead as Bruno Peres found Fabio Quagliarella who calmly slid the ball past Tatarusanu from a tight angle.

The result was put beyond any doubt with thirteen minutes remaining when Daniele Baselli skipped past Borja Valero and fired the ball into the top corner from fully thirty yards.

This was an impressive result against a strong Fiorentina side, although Giampiero Ventura will be worried by Toro's defensive frailties which have seen them concede early on in each of their three fixtures this season.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Torino v Fiorentina Preview

Torino will look to continue their promising start to the season when they face Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

The Granata came from behind to beat Frosinone last weekend, and are unlikely to make too many changes from the team that won that game. However, Giampiero Ventura may choose to give new signing Andrea Belotti his debut.

Fiorentina also won their opening game of the season, as they beat AC Milan 2-0 thanks to a stunning Marcos Alonso free kick and a Josip Iličić penalty.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Fiorentina

Monday, 24 August 2015

Frosinone 1-2 Torino

Torino made a disastrous start to the new Serie A season, but came from behind to beat newly promoted Frosinone on Sunday afternoon.

Daniele Baselli and Danilo Avelar were both given league debuts for the Granata, but Giampiero Ventura left Andrea Belotti on the bench as Maxi Lopez partnered Fabio Quagliarella in attack.

Frosinone made a dream start in their first ever Serie A match when Luca Paganini's cross was stabbed home by Danilo Soddimo. Toro responded well to that set back and came close to equalising, but Quagliarella's header was tipped over the bar by Nicola Leali.

Maxi Lopez and Fabio Quagliarella each had opportunities to score Torino's first league goal of the new season, but somehow the home side went in at half time in front.

On the hour mark, Toro finally had their deserved equaliser when Danilo Avelar's cross was volleyed home by the outstanding Quagliarella.

And then four minutes later Torino took the lead when the impressive Daniele Baselli curled a low shot into the bottom corner following a short corner.

That goal was enough for the Granata to claim all three points, and whilst the performance was not without its flaws, the character shown by the team this early in the season was certainly encouraging.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Frosinone v Torino Preview

Serie A football is finally back, and Torino will make the long trip south to face newly promoted Frosinone on Sunday evening.

New striker Andrea Belotti has been included in the squad following his transfer from Palermo and is in line to make his debut. However, Maxi Lopez and Josef Martinez both staked their claim to partner Fabio Quagliarella upfront after both players scored against Pescara in the Coppa Italia last weekend.

Frosinone have recorded successive promotions under the stewardship of former Toro striker Roberto Stellone. Stellone was a popular figure in his four year spell at the Granata, scoring 16 goals in 113 appearances.

Nikola Maksimovic, who has been linked with a move away from the club is also included in the squad, and could make his first appearance of the season.

Prediction
Frosinone 0-2 Torino

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Torino 4-1 Pescara

Despite going a goal behind, Torino progressed to the next round of the Coppa Italia after an impressive 4-1 victory against Pescara on Sunday evening.

Danilo Avelar, Afriyie Acquah and Daniele Baselli all made debuts for the Granata, whilst Maxi Lopez partnered Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

Visitors Pescara made a bright start, but took the lead in fortuitous circumstances when Michele Fornasier's header hit the post and then Toro keeper Salvador Ichazo before finding the back of the net.

However, Torino were level ten minutes later, with Daniele Baselli scoring a debut goal after a great assist from Fabio Quagliarella.

And it only took five more minutes for Toro to take the lead, and once again it was another new signing as Afriyie Acquah finished calmly despite his initial shot being blocked by the Pescara defender.

Midway through the second half, Torino added a third goal after a clever set piece routine allowed Maxi Lopez to tap home after Vincenzo Fiorillo could only parry Quagliarella's cross.

Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez was only on the pitch for a matter of seconds before he added a fourth goal with a fine individual effort.

Torino will now face either Catania or Cesena in the next round, and if they get through that game, they will face a tie against holders Juventus in the last 16.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Torino v Pescara Preview

Torino will begin the 2015/2016 season with a Coppa Italia fixture against Serie B side Pescara on Sunday evening.

The Granata have made a number of new acquisitions during the summer, so Davide Zappacosta, Joel Obi, Afriyie Acquah and Danielle Baselli could all make their Toro debuts.

Defender Nikola Maksimovic, who has been linked with a move away to Napoli is also included in the squad.

Pescara have already played one competitive game this season. a 2-0 victory over Südtirol in the previous round of the competition, therefore, they may have the fitness advantage over Torino.

Prediction
Torino 2-0  Pescara

Friday, 31 July 2015

Serie A 2015/16 Fixtures Released

Torino will begin the 2015/16 Serie A season with an away fixture against newly promoted Frosinone on August 23rd.

Frosinone are coached by former Torino striker Roberto Stellone, who made 113 appearances for the Granata between 2005 and 2009.

The first Derby Della Mole will take place on the weekend of November 1st at the Juventus Stadium, whilst the return fixture will take place in March.

For the second time in three seasons, Toro will finish the season with an away trip in Tuscany, but this time, Empoli will be the opponents.

Forza Toro!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bourne's Player Review 2014/15 : Defenders

Cesare Bovo 6.5/10
32, Central defender
21 appearances

Another injury-hit season for the first choice replacement for Glik-Maksimovic-Moretti. Lacks the pace - and to an extent the quality - of the first choice back line but is an experienced, reliable performer. Amazing one of his thunderbolt free-kicks have never hit the back of the net.

Future: Copy, paste from 2014-15

Matteo Darmian 8/10
25, Right/left-back
46 appearances (5 goals)

Toro did well to hang on to Darmian after his emergence on the international scene at the 2014 World Cup. Not so lucky in the summer of 2015 but the time had come, the price about right. Always consistent, defensively sound, the World Cup gave him confidence and he added a goal threat and greater verve to his attacking play in 2014-15. Italy’s finest right-back played most of the Serie A season at left-back given the arrival of Bruno Peres, but shone in his true position in the Europa League. The crucial goal in Bilbao his signature Granata moment (together with the equaliser in the triumphant derby). Shame to see part of the original Ventura squad leave, but we wish a true gentleman and servant buona fortuna.

Future: Manchester United

Kamil Glik 8.5/10
27, Central defender
44 appearances (8 goals)

2014-15 was the season when Glik moved from Granata cult-hero to internationally-revered centre-back. The healthy return of goals helped (mainly headers from well-worked corners) but do not speak alone. His leadership shone, his tackling is cleaner, better timed, distribution excellent. One of few foreign players to truly understand the Granata ethos and an true captain.

Future: Interest is high and Glik would naturally be suited to the money markets of England or Germany. The club may need to adjust its wage cap to keep captain Glik

Pontus Jansson 6.5/10
24, Central defender
16 appearances

The closest member of the squad to Glik in terms of physicality, the Swedish international largely impressed when called upon despite never gaining a consistent run in the side. Foreign defenders always need some time to adjust to Serie A but Jansson performed admirably, aside from a shaky performance away at Cesena.

Future: Definitely has a future at the club but will be looking to gain more playing time in 2015-16 perhaps with one eye on Glik’s future

Nikola Maksimovic 7.5/10
23, Central defender
37 appearances

The most skilful of the centre-backs, sometimes to his cost with over-elaboration in possession. However, many an attack was launched with a Maksimovic through ball. Quick on the ground, good anticipation, strong in the air, he has a future as a 15-20 million euro player. One of the next to leave but Toro will be keen on retaining his services (see Peres) for another year.

Future: The sharks are circulating. Will depend on club’s faith in gaining a higher price further down the line.

Salvatore Masiello no vote
33, Left-back
2 appearances

Out of contract last summer, this Ventura stalwart was surprisingly given a renewal mainly to act as cover during the uncertainty in the early months of the season (Europa League backlog, doubts over Bruno Peres transfer). He featured for just 115 minutes.

Future: After three and a half seasons and just 37 appearances, released

Cristian Molinaro 6.5/10
31, Left-back
38 appearances (1 goal)

Probably not the most inspired signing as the club once again papered over the cracks of the problem left-back position. Molinaro joined the ranks of mid-2000s Juventus players in the Toro ranks (Moretti, Nocerino, Amauri, Quagliarella). Served as the first alternative to Peres-Darmian and acted as first choice left-back in the Europa League campaign. A willing worker, with good pace, defensively sound what lets him down consistently is his final ball/decision making.

Future: The club have decided to extend their rapport with Molinaro who will again likely be a left-back reserve in 2015-16

Emiliano Moretti 8/10
34, Central defender
47 appearances (2 goals)

Another piece of Ventura magic, reinvigorating an experienced/skilful defender discarded by Genoa two years ago and turning him into Italy’s oldest debutant international. Moretti was outstanding throughout the season: brave, classy and a reassuring presence. His standout moment was the deserved, the injury time winner at the San Siro against Inter.

Future: Will be a focal point of the defence in 2015-16 but will be aware of the pressure put on by younger members of the squad

Bruno Peres 7/10
25, Right-back
34 appearances (3 goals)

Perhaps the vote is a little stingy considering he scored Toro’s first derby goal since 2002, and arguably one of the club’s greatest Serie A strikes. When Peres was hot, he was unstoppable. Ask Sampdoria when he inspired the 5-1 mauling and even suffered the wrath of Ventura for toying with the opposition. Pacy, direct, skilful, he improved markedly defensively in second half of the season. There were perhaps just too many pale performances, particularly away from home. Unlucky to miss out on the Europe League campaign.

Future: YouTube moments have inflated his price tag and caught the attention of the big six (notably Roma). Club may want to hang on to him for another season to monetise further but the sensation is he may leave if the price is right.

Gaston Silva 6/10
21, Central defender/left-back
9 appearances (1 goal)

The youngest of the Toro backline and already a full Uruguayan international (and part of their 2015 Copa America squad). Despite being eligible for the Europa League his appearances were fleeting. A double-edge sword. Early on the season looked nervous and clumsy but was not given the run of games to build confidence. Towards the end of the season was afforded more time and looked to have settled in Italy.

Future: All being well, the heir to Moretti as the left-sided centre back. 2015-16 likely to be a big break through season.

Season 2015-2016: Any arrivals will depend on sales. The dream is to keep Glik-Maksimovic-Moretti as first choice with Bovo-Jansson-Silva as alternatives. Any sale may hasten the responsibility put on the young Swede or Uruguayan. At full-back Davide Zappacosta and Danilo Avelar look like interesting additions and will probably begin as first choice depending on the future of Bruno Peres. Molinaro will act as cover.

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.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Darmian Departs, Duo Arrive

Torino have acted quickly to replace defender Matteo Darmian who ended his four year stay at the club on Saturday by joining English club Manchester United in a deal that could be worth €20 million.

The Granata have quickly re-invested that money, as Atalanta duo David Zappacosta and Daniele Baselli have joined the club for a combined fee of of  €13 million.

Zappacosta is perhaps a like-for-like replacement for Darmian, an attacking right back who has made seventeen appearances for Italy's U21 side.

Baselli is a central midfielder, who like Zappacosta, is an Italian U21 international who began his career at Cittadella.

Forza Toro


Bourne's Player Review 2014/15 : Midfielders

Antonio Nocerino 4.5/10
30, Midfielder
11 appearances

Like Sanchez Mino, looked to be the player to bring some extra quality and guile to midfield. Seems with Ventura the relationship was lukewarm from the start. Injuries didn't help but Nocerino has been in a steady decline since his standout 2011-12 season at Milan. On loan at West Ham before his arrival in Turin he barely made an impression. A player whose wife is a Granata fan may have wanted to make more of a statement but the highlights of his time in Turin were probably reserved for Instagram rather than the pitch.

Future: Didn't excel following January's loan to Parma. Now back at Milan. Expect him to be at a middle/lower ranking Serie A side in September

Ruben Perez 4.5/10
30, Midfielder
8 appearances

8 appearances, 97 minutes in Serie A and none memorable. Probably wasn't given a fair chance but along with Nocerino and Sanchez Mino formed a triangle of failed midfield signings. Barely unpacked his suitcase before he was sent back to Atletico and farmed out to Granada.

Future: Will only return to Italy on holiday

Migjen Basha 6/10

28, Midfielder
6 appearances (1 goal)

An injury plagued season for the Swiss-born Albanian international, one of four survivors from Ventura’s first season in charge of the club. Only returning to the squad in January, Basha had to wait until March to mark his return to first team action. A headed goal in the away win at Parma would provide his only real moment in the sun. Only 159 minutes of first team action.

Future: A loyal soldier and useful midfield enforcer over the past four seasons, his contract has not been renewed. A shame to see Basha go but his departure an inevitable consequence of the club reaching new levels.

Marco Benassi 6.5/10
20, Midfielder
36 appearances (3 goals)

After a decent breakthrough season on loan from Inter to Livorno, Toro acquired half share rights in the player last summer. It’s nice to see Toro putting faith in youth. Highs included some energetic midfield displays in the second half of the season, adding goals to his repertoire, lows included the error in possession which gave Juve a last minute derby winner and the two yellow cards away at Zenit which may have resulted in the team’s Europa League exit.

Future: A decent European U-21 Championship tournament has raised his stock and Toro have taken advantage of Inter’s negligence regarding young, Italian talent and signed him out right this summer. If Benassi grows from this year’s experiences, he could become a player.
Omar El Kaddouri 7/10
24, Midfielder
46 appearances (4 goals)

Aside from the penalty winner against RNK Split which secured Europa League group stage football, the first few months of El Kaddouri’s season were rather rancid – a missed penalty versus Verona, low on confidence and trickery, jeered by the crowd. Gradually he pulled his form together and on a given day was the only Toro midfielder capable of running with the ball, creating space and taking on an opponent. That given day is too infrequent and the tally of 4 goals is a poor return for a player with his natural ability. The vote may be a little high but his performance in the derby alone is worthy of extra recognition.

Future: After two seasons on loan from Napoli, the club and player need to decide whether to execute a permanent deal. The player’s entourage have given the indication he sees his future elsewhere, the club itself seem lukewarm vis-à-vis a significant financial commitment for a player who remains potential rather than the finished article.

Alexander Farnerud 6/10
31, Midfielder
27 appearances (1 goal)

Like Basha and Gonzalez, Farnerud’s season was blighted by injury. One which started with a return from a serious knee injury and finished with a return to the surgeon’s table with another knee issue. Understandably Farnerud never hit the heights of his first season. He remains the most dangerous Toro player from a dead ball but was inevitably playing catch up with fitness for most of the campaign

Future: Another long term injury has probably secured a third season in Turin when the club may have considered letting him go

Alessandro Gazzi 8/10
32, Midfielder
41 appearances (0 goals)

Gazzi’s third season in Turin proved to be his best. Although it probably should never have taken place. The club were set to offload him to Serie B side Spezia on the eve of the new season before injuries forced Ventura to play him in the season opener against Inter. A man-of-the-match performance ensured he stayed in Turin and marked the beginning of an excellent season. After being strangely discarded in his second season (only making 11 appearances after being a regular in 2012-13), Gazzi seized the opportunity acting as the midfield’s chief enforcer, most energetic presence, backline protector and adding an improved repertoire of passing to his game.

Future: Despite the flood of arrivals in midfield already this summer, Gazzi is set to stay for a forth season and extend his Serie A appearances for the club to over a hundred

Álvaro González 5/10
30, Midfielder
4 appearances (0 goals)

Looked a quality January signing, and a player to bring some extra guile and quality to the midfield. Sadly the Uruguayan picked up persistent injuries limiting his playing time to 133 minutes. His only start came in the ill-fated home defeat to Empoli. He didn’t disfigure but even by that stage it was clear Ventura was never going to give him the run of games needed. Could have offered a lot more.

Future: Sent back to Lazio

Juan Sánchez Miño 4.5/10
25, Midfielder
14 appearances (0 goals)

Widely acclaimed as the best summer signing of 2014, the arrival of Juan Sánchez Miño seemed to mark the beginning of a new approach to foreign signings. Arriving from Boca Juniors with a glowing reputation, we were expecting a cultured left sided player capable of adding more creativity and goals from midfield. Instead, he became Ventura’s new version of Sansone and Bellomo, talented signings who never settled and quickly discarded. He was given a chance but looked short on confidence, light weight and overawed. His Toro career effectively ended when he casually missed a penalty in the home defeat to Sassuolo. He never looked like scoring and was almost immediately loaned to Estudiantes de La Plata.

Future: A sad time in Turin for a player with so much potential and for whom such effort was made to bring in. Unlikely to be given a second chance. Perhaps the relatively low price tag Toro paid for a player of his reputation was a already a warning signal
Giuseppe Vives 6.5/10
34, Midfielder
35 appearances (1 goal)

A revelation at the ripe old age of 33 in the 2013-14 season transforming himself from a Serie B workhorse into an evergreen top-flight playmaker. I forecast Vives would struggle to hit anywhere near those heights this year. He started off sluggishly and seemed to prove me right but at the turn of the year found his rhythm and while not offering the same level of quality as his finest professional season took responsibility for the running of midfield. A late equaliser in Florence his crowning moment.

Future: A top half Serie A side should not be relying on Vives to run its midfield but as a popular dressing room character, positive influence on side and fundamental part of the club’s rise it is only right he has signed up for a fifth season. Probably one with much reduced playing time


2015-2016: The midfield has been a problem area ever since the club returned to Serie A. Or rather the lack of a dedicated playmaker has been. Playing with width and a counter-attacking style over the past two seasons has enabled the club to negate having a quality ball player. The time has come for a change and investment. The arrivals of Acquah and Obi and retention of Benassi point to an energetic, youthful midfield one now just missing a creative presence to bring greater game management and goals

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.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Bourne's Player Review 2014/15 : Strikers

Amauri 5/10
35,Striker
29 appearances (3 goals)

On the final day of the August transfer window, Toro were desperate to add some attacking thrust to what looked like the weakest part of the side, one devoid of Cerci & Immobile. When rumours circulated about a 35-year old, widely ridiculed, journeyman Amauri joining it seemed like a bad joke. On arrival much fuss was made over his waistline and ultimately opportunities to enforce his presence were limited to impact substitute appearances in Serie A and group stage starts in the Europa League. The arrival of Maxi Lopez in January reduced chances further. A willing worker Amauri did claw back some credit with the Maratona faithful. One league goal – the fifth in the rout against Samp – speaks volumes.

Future: Every chance that his long stint in Italy is over and a return to Brazil imminent

Paulo Barreto 4/10
29, Striker
6 appearances (1 goal)

273 minutes of which only three in Serie A all season, a full description is barely required. Barreto has proved a total flop. Apparently low on motivation, he virtually disappeared after the autumn. One pupil Ventura has not managed to reignite.

Future: To be released

Maxi Lopez 7.5/10
31, Striker
23 appearances (11 goals)

Like Amauri, seemed like another unimaginative and lazy acquisition. A last minute winner early into his Toro career at Cesena set the tone with Maxi becoming one of the signings of the season. Magnificent in the two legs against Bilbao (three goals), excellent in the air, he added much needed weight and a focal point to the attack, and without his presence the second half the season would have been much less fruitful. Always looked a few kilos too heavy and with a stronger pre-season behind him (he will need one based on the summer holiday pics published!), Ventura may squeeze even more out of a player whose career seemed on the wane.

Future: My personal opinion is that these first six months may be as good as it gets

Marcelo Larrondo 4/10
26, Striker
11 appearances (2 goals)

Part of the much-maligned, low budget South American strike force (with Barreto) which started the early rounds of the Europa League. Against relatively tame opposition from Sweden he perhaps found his level. A missed penalty on the opening day of the season at home to Inter (one of a series of mystery Granata penalty kickers) signalled the beginning of the end of his time at the club with a loan move to Tigre in Argentina activated in January. Slow, ponderous and rarely a threat in front of goal.

Future: Likely to return to base for the summer with the club having the onerous task of finding a new suitor

Josef Martinez 6/10
22, Forward
40 appearances (7 goals)

One of the more interesting summer signings, the Venezuelan youngster arrived with a glowing reputation in his homeland and an interesting YouTube compilation from his time with Swiss sides Thun and Young Boys. The only Toro player to score in all three competitions, he can be happy with the playing time afforded to him in his first Italian season and the confidence Ventura showed in him. Used frequently to tire opposition defences rather than as an impact substitute he played a vital role in freshening the attack during the busy Europa League weeks. Martinez is still very erratic, tactically immature and too often makes the wrong decision. This will be ironed out in time under a coach like Ventura. Only three goals in Serie A is a poor return for a player with such pace and trickery.

Future: Next season will determine just how good Martinez is, assuming without Europa League football he gets equal playing time

Fabio Quagliarella 8/10
32, Forward
46 appearances (17 goals)

A popular return to the club for a player formerly with the Toro primavera team and who enjoyed a formative season back in 2004-05 before the club went bankrupt. Most of the stellar moments of the season involved Quaglia’s footprint – the crucial last minute penalty against Copenhagen, the stunning hat-trick in the rout of Sampdoria, the historic winner in the derby, a crucial goal in Bilbao. His tally of 13 league goals equals his personal best in Serie A and but for injury in the final weeks of the season he would have broken that landmark. Resolved the club’s problem from the penalty spot, held the ball up magnificently, combined both classic centre-forward play and touches of a fantasista. Blighted only by his decision not celebrate goals against his many former clubs including the Gobbi.

Future: Likely to lead the attack again next season while hoping for a stronger supporting cast around him

2015-2016: Attack likely to be built around Quagliarella and a target man unless there is another Ventura tactical revolution. Target man may be Maxi Lopez but indicators point to a younger forward being drafted in as well. A quality striker is needed. Martinez is likely to offer something tactically different, perhaps more as an impact substitute and a back-up for Quagliarella.

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.

Obi Signs

Torino have made their third new aquisition of the Summer after signing midfielder Joel Obi from Inter on a four year deal.

Obi made 71 appearances for the Milan giants, scoring two goals and has been capped 16 times by his country Nigeria.

The Granata have also agreed a fee with Pescara for talented midfielder Birkir Bjarnason, but that deal seems to be delayed due to a disagreement regarding personal terms.

Welcome to Torino Joel!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Torino FC Inglese Awards 2014/15 : The Results

Voting has now ended for the Torino FC Inglese 2014/15 awards, and the results have been counted and verified, and I can now reveal that the winners are :

Player of the Season
1st) Kamil Glik
2nd) Fabio Quagliarella
3rd) Matteo Darmian

It was another fantastic season for the Torino captain Kamil Glik who lead his side to a derby victory over Juventus for the first time since 1995. The Polish international chipped in with an impressive tally of eight goals for the Granata, and Toro will be hoping they can hold on to the central defender this summer.

Signing of the Season
1st) Maxi Lopez
2nd) Bruno Peres
3rd) n/a

Despite only signing in January, the Argentine striker scored an impressive eleven goals for Toro, including three memorable strikes against Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.

Performance of the Season
1st) Athletic Bilbao 2-3 Torino
2nd) Torino 2-1 Juventus
3rd) Torino 5-1 Sampdoria

This is perhaps our first shock result of the awards, as Torino's historic victory against Juventus was not voted as their best display of the season. However, I would also agree with this result when one considers that Toro were rather lucky to come away with the three points against their great rivals. The performance against Bilbao was one of those nights when every single player played to their maximum and ensured Toro became the first Italian team to win at the San Mames and they also progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League.

Unsung Hero of the Season
1st) Omar El Kaddouri
2nd) Alessandro Gazzi
3rd) Nikola Maksimovic/Daniele Padelli

This result may also shock a number of people as Omar El Kaddouri wins the award for the unsung hero of the season. In polite terms, Omar saved his best form until the 2nd half of the season, but I am sure some supporters could use some rather 'un-polite' terms for his form before the winter break. However, the Moroccan international excelled against Bilbao and also in the derby.

Goal of the Season
1st) Bruno Peres v Juventus
2nd) Fabio Quagliarella v Napoli
3rd) Matteo Darmian v Athletic Bilbao

Could this award have gone to anybody else? Bruno Peres obviously won this award by a landslide, 81.3% of the vote after his length of the field effort in the derby which ended Toro's twelve year wait for a goal in the derby.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Bourne's Player Review 2014/15 : Goalkeepers

Once again, I invited Torino fan Peter Bourne to rate the performance of each member of the Torino squad, starting with the Goalkeepers.

Luca Castellazzi no rating
39, Goalkeeper
1 appearance (-1 goal conceded)

Initially signed for the club in the summer of 2005 before bankruptcy kicked in and he left without playing a game. Nearly ten years later, and as the oldest Serie A player in 2014-15, his contribution limited to a Coppa Italia substitute appearance in the defeat against Lazio.

Future: To be released

Jean-Francois Gillet 6.5/10
36, Goalkeeper
14 appearances (-14 goals conceded)

A Ventura favourite, Gillet returned to competitive football having sat out the 2013-14 season following a retroactive punishment related to the calcioscommesse scandal. When Ventura dropped Padelli after an error-ridden performance at Cagliari, it seemed an excuse to bring his starpupil back at the first opportunity. Instead it transpired to be a move designed to re-energise Padelli as after 14 matches between Serie A and Europe, Gillet was cast aside and surprisingly sold to Catania, a club recently embroiled in their own match-fixing saga.

Future: Sold to Catania in January 2015

Salvador Ichazo no rating
23, Goalkeeper
1 appearance (-0 goals conceded)

His surname in Italian is borderline comical. A star back in Uruguay with Danubio and the Uruguay U-20 team his arrival may be case of right player, wrong time. Not given a chance until the passeggiata season closer against Cesena. Club may already have enough keepers on the books.

Future: Future currently being decided but likely to be tied to what decision is made regarding the two Gomis brothers following their successful loans at Avellino (Alfred) and Trapani (Lys). 

Daniele Padelli 7/10
29, Goalkeeper
38 appearances (-42 goals conceded)

His YouTube moment of his season was very comedy mis-kick/own goal in the home defeat to Empoli. A calamity that essentially killed any chance of European football for 2015-16. I may be kind with the rating but typical with many Petrachi/Ventura signings, Padelli has improved markedly in his two years with the club. Now on the fringes of the Nazionale, a penalty save away at Fiorentina and impressive performance in the overdue derby win outweigh the ‘hands over your eyes moment’ every time he takes possession with his feet. Additionally, showed character when dropped for Ventura favourite Gillet earlier in the season.

Future: Highly likely to be the Toro #1 next season. More interesting will be the identity of his understudy

Forecast 2015-2016: Highly like to see Padelli as number 1 with one of the Gomis brothers or Ichazo pushing him close. No major changes in goal

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.

Forza Toro

Torino Transfer Update

Despite the transfer window not officially opening until July 1st, Torino have already made two new acquisitions ahead of the new season.

Brazilian left back Danilo Avelar has joined the club from Cagliari on a four year contract, with young Toro defender Antonio Barreca moving the the Sardinians as part of the deal.

Ghanaian midfielder Afriyie Acquah, who spent the latter half of last season on loan at Sampdoria has also joined Toro on a permanent deal from German club Hoffenheim.

The Granata have also resolved a couple of co-ownership deals in the past week, with Marco Benassi now being fully owned by Toro after purchasing the other half of his contract from Inter. Simone Verdi, who has been on loan at Empoli for the past two seasons is now fully owned by AC Milan.

Forza Toro!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Torino FC Awards 2014/15

It's that time of year for the annual Torino FCInglese awards ceremony.

Click on the following link and pick your winners for Player of the Season, Signing of the Season, Performance of the Season, Unsung Hero of the Season and Goal of the Season.

To help you pick your favourite goal of the season, all eight goals available to choose from can be viewed in the video below. Voting closes July 1st.


Forza Toro!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Torino 5-0 Cesena

Torino ended the Serie A season with an impressive 5-0 victory over the already relegated Cesena on Sunday evening.

Uruguayan goalkeeper Salvador Ichazo made his Toro debut, whilst Maxi Lopez was fit again to partner Josef Martinez upfront.

Toro took the lead after only ten minutes when Marco Benassi's deflected shot was parried into the path of Josef Martinez who headed home.

The Granata doubled their lead moments later when Martinez's header crashed off the crossbar, and enabled striker partner Maxi Lopez to tap in from close range.

Torino added a third goal before half time, as Marco Benassi scored another sensational goal against Cesena - this time a long range effort from fully 35 yards.

Four minutes into the second half, Emiliano Moretti scored his second goal of the season as he headed home from a corner.

With twenty minutes remaining, Maxi Lopez doubled his tally for the night, as he capitalised on a poor clearance by the Cesena defence to score.

This was the perfect way to end what has been a memorable season, as the Granata scored five goals for the third time this campaign.

And despite the poor start to the season, and the extra fatigue playing in the Europa League brought, Toro finished the season in 9th place on 54pts - only three points less than last season's tally.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Torino v Cesena Preview

Torino will end what has been a memorable campaign for the Granata with a home match against already relegated Cesena on Sunday evening.

Cristian Molinaro misses out through suspension and Omar El Kaddouri misses out through injury so youngsters Kevin Bonifazi, Claudio Morra and Simone Rosso are all included in the squad.

Last weekend's defeat against AC Milan means that Toro will not be able to qualify for Europe, but the men in maroon could finish as high as 8th with a victory.

Cesena have already been relegated having only managed four victories this season since being promoted, but the reverse fixture was one of the major catalysts in Toro's resurgence in the second half of the season.

The Granata had thrown away a 2-0 goal lead against the Cavallucci Marini back in January, but a late Maxi Lopez goal gave Toro an important victory that started an unbeaten run of nine games.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Cesena

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

AC Milan 3-0 Torino

Torino's hopes of qualifying for next season's Europa League are now mathematically impossible after suffering a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Milan on Sunday evening.

Injuries to regular strikers Fabio Quagliarella and Maxi Lopez meant a rare start for Amauri alongside Josef Martinez. Nikola Maksimovic's suspension meant that Matteo Darmian was also forced to play in the back three rather than his usual wing back role.

Milan took the lead against the run of play after a quarter of an hour when Cristian Zaccardo's pass found Stephen El Shaarawy who took a touch before volleying beyond Daniele Padelli.

On the stroke of half time, the home side were reduced to ten men when Zaccardo cynically tripped Cristian Molinaro who was through on goal following Amauri's excellent back heel.

However, the numerical advantage did not last long, as just twelve minutes into the second half Cristian Molinaro was dismissed for upending Marco Van Ginkel in the area. Giampaolo Pazzini stepped up to convert the spot kick, which was his 100th goal in Serie A.

Moments later, El Shaarawy scored his second goal of the game to put the game to bed after nice work by the impressive Van Ginkel.

This was a disappointing showing by an admittedly tired Torino side, who always knew that European qualification was against the odds - but that takes nothing away from what has been an excellent season.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 23 May 2015

AC Milan v Torino Preview

Torino will make the short trip to Milan on Sunday evening knowing that a place in next season's Europa League could still be a possibility.

Genoa, who currently occupy the final Europa League place have been refused a European license for next season - so that means Toro, Sampdoria and Inter may still have a chance of qualifying.

The Granata have an injury crisis upfront as Maxi Lopez has now joined Fabio Quagliarella in the treatment room. Therefore, primavera strikers Claudio Morra and Simone Rosso have been called up to the first team squad and could make their debuts.

AC Milan have had a miserable season under the guidance of former player Pippo Inzaghi and the rossoneri currently sit in 11th place - unacceptable for a club of their stature.

Milan have lost four of their last five matches, but did record an impressive 2-1 victory over Roma in their last game at the San Siro.

Prediction
AC Milan 1-1 Torino

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Torino 2-0 Chievo

Torino kept their slim hopes of European qualification alive with a 2-0 victory over Chievo on Sunday afternoon.

Giampiero Ventura gave rare starts to Pontus Jansson and Gaston Silva in defence, whilst Josef Martinez replaced the injured Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

Former Torino striker Riccardo Meggiorini almost opened the scoring for Chievo, but he blazed his shot over the bar from a difficult angle.

Josef Martinez twice came close to giving Toro the lead, but the Venezuelan was narrowly close from long range on both occasions.

An excellent through ball from Omar El Kaddouri put Martinez through on goal, but this time he was denied by Chievo keeper Francesco Bardi.

However, moments later, former Chievo striker Maxi Lopez gave Toro a deserved lead after he headed home following a goalmouth scramble.

Toro doubled their lead when a long clearance from substitute Kamil Glik put Maxi Lopez in a foot race against Bostjan Cesar, and the Argentine was able to keep his composure and score.

With two games remaining, the Granata are now five points away from 6th place and the final Europa League place - however, if Genoa are denied a Uefa license, then much like last season, Toro could qualify for Europe with a 7th placed finish.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Torino v Chievo Preview

Torino will look to rebound from Monday's disappointing 5-1 defeat against Genoa when they face Chievo on Sunday afternoon.

Toro's hopes for European football took a huge blow in that game, but a victory against Chievo should help secure a top 10 finish.

The Granata are without the suspended Bruno Peres, whilst Fabio Quagliarella is injured so Primavera product Simone Rosso is included in the squad.

Chievo are safe from relegation and set for a mid-table finish and are currently on a six match unbeaten run.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Chievo

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Genoa 5-1 Torino

Torino saw their European dreams shattered on Monday evening as three late goals helped Genoa to an impressive 5-1 victory.

Cristian Molinaro was surprisingly preferred to Matteo Darmian at left wing back, whilst Maxi Lopez partnered Fabio Quagliarella upfront.

The Granata had a great chance at the start of the game when Molinaro cut the ball back for Quagliarella, but the former Sampdoria man blazed the ball over the bar.

Genoa then took the lead moments later, as great work from M'Baye Niang and Marco Borriello allowed Iago Falque to fire home and continue his recent goalscoring run.

It took until the hour mark for Torino to find an equaliser, but they did so in style thanks to Omar El Kaddouri's fantastic free kick. However, parity lasted less than ten minutes as the home side took the lead thanks to substitute Tino Costa's deflected free kick.

Giampiero Ventura brought on Alexander Farnerud and Amauri in attempt to find an equaliser that may have prolonged Toro's European quest, but Andrea Bertolacci's fine curling shot meant the points would stay in Genoa.

With Toro knowing the game was over, Genoa took advantage in injury time with Leonardo Pavoletti and the Tino Costa both scoring to make the final score somewhat flattering.

However, there was no denying that Genoa were the better side, and they will now go on to try and secure European football in the final three games of the season. For Toro, this was an embarrassing result and one that meant there would be no repeat of this season's European adventure.

But after a victory at San Mames against Athletic Bilbao, a 5-1 victory in Copenhagen and a derby victory over Juventus - I think all Toro fans would agree that this season has been a rather successful one.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Genoa v Torino Preview


Torino will look to rebound from Wednesday's disappointing defeat against Empoli when they travel to face Europa League rivals Genoa on Monday evening.

Sampdoria's victory against Udinese on Sunday afternoon means that the Granata are currently six points away from 6th place, albeit with a game in hand. That means, that for Toro to have any chance of securing European football next season, nothing but a victory will suffice.

Bruno Peres and Maxi Lopez should both return to the Torino starting eleven after not starting last time out, whilst Marco Benassi should also replace Alvaro Gonzalez in midfield.

Genoa are two points above Toro, and are therefore also in the race for 6th place, despite being denied a license to compete in European football earlier this week, a decision that they have already appealed.

Prediction
Genoa 1-1 Torino

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Torino 0-1 Empoli

Torino suffered a set back in their quest for European football after Daniele Padelli's comedy own goal succumbed them to a narrow defeat against Empoli.

Alvaro Gonzalez made his first start for Torino in midfield, whilst Cristian Molinaro was surprisingly preferred to Bruno Peres in defence.

After just three minutes, Toro made the worst possible start as Daniele Padelli somehow managed to mis-kick a tame back pass from Emiliano Moretti into his own net.

Toro struggled to recovered from that set back, but could have been level when Omar El Kaddouri found space in the area, but his effort was denied by Luigi Sepe.

Empoli almost doubled their lead on the half hour mark, but Riccardo Saponara's header rebounded off the crossbar.

Toro improved in the second half, but Kamil Glik was unable to add to his impressive goal tally as his hooked volley went over the bar.

Fabio Quagliarella almost earned a point for the Granata, but Toro's top scorer was twice denied by the impressive Sepe, as Toro's hopes of a second successive season of European football was dealt a blow.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Torino V Empoli Preview

Torino can move into the Europa League places for the first time this season when they face Empoli at the Stadio Olimpio tomorrow afternoon.

This game was moved to the rather ridiculous kick off time off of 3pm local time on Wednesday afternoon due to Juventus' progression in the Champions League, and only a limited number of Toro fans will be able to attend the game due to crowd trouble at last months' Derby Della Mole.

Emiliano Moretti and Alessandro Gazzi are both back in the squad following suspension and should come straight back into the starting eleven - but Nikola Maksimovic and Maxi Lopez are both doubts.

Empoli are eleven points clear of the bottom three and last week's impressive 4-2 victory over Napoli has almost certainly guaranteed their Serie A status for next season. However, the Tuscan side have conceded at least two goals in their last five outings - which suggests their may be goals.

Forza Toro

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Palermo 2-2 Torino

Maxi Lopez had a late goal controversially ruled out as Torino followed up their derby victory with a well-earned point at Palermo.

Giampiero Ventura made six changes from the side that started against Juventus, as Cesare Bovo, Gaston Silva, Cristian Molinaro, Alexander Farnerud, Giuseppe Vives and Josef Martinez all came into the side.

The Granata made a poor start and were behind after only ten minutes when Roberto Vitiello stabbed home from close range following a corner. However, Palermo held the lead only temporarily as Bruno Peres equalised for Toro two minutes later with a fine finish from ten yards out.

Former Toro stopper Stefano Sorrentino had to turn a Josef Martinez half volley over the bar as Toro began to get into the game. But on twenty-five minutes, the home side re-gained the lead when Luca Rigoni was somehow left unmarked in the area to volley home.

It could have been worse for Torino, as just before half time, Siniša Andelkovic's bullet header rattled off the bar.

Omar El Kaddouri and Maxi Lopez both came off the bench as Toro looked for an equaliser, and the two combined instantly as the former's floating cross was turned in by the Argentine striker.

Paulo Dybala somehow missed an excellent chance for the Rosanero but the highly rated striker turned his effort wide of the post.

In the dying minutes, Toro thought they had found a winning goal as once again El Kaddouri found Maxi Lopez, who headed home, but the former Catania striker was harshly penalised for a foul on the defender.

This was a decent result by a Granata side still recovering from their exploits in the derby, and are now only two points away from the final Europa League place.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Palermo v Torino Preview

Torino will look to build on their Derby Della Mole heroics when they travel to Palermo on Wednesday evening.

That victory over Juventus puts the Granata just two points away from Fiorentina in the final Europa League spot, and hopes of a second successive season of European football are still alive.

Emilano Moretti and Alessandro Gazzi will both miss the trip due to suspension, whilst Josef Martinez could replace Maxi Lopez after an impressive cameo in the derby.

Palermo have won two of their last three fixtures, but suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Parma last time out.

Prediction
Palermo 1-1 Torino