Saturday, 31 January 2015

Torino v Sampdoria Preview

Torino will look to win their third game in succession when they welcome high-flying Sampdoria to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday afternoon.

Nikola Maksimovic misses out through injury, so he could be replaced in the Toro back line by either Pontus Jansson or Cesare Bovo. Bruno Peres is also back from suspension, but Cristian Molinaro may retain his place after a good display against Inter last weekend.

Maxi Lopez, who was involved in Emiliano Moretti's memorable last minute winning goal could earn his first start for the club - after impressing in his three substitute appearances so far.

Sampdoria have had an excellent season thus far and are currently in 5th position, and are only two points away from the final Champions League position.

New signing Samuel Eto'o has been included in the squad and could make his debut for his new club.

Torino 1-1 Sampdoria

Monday, 26 January 2015

Inter 0-1 Torino

Emiliano Moretti's 94th minute winner gave Torino their first win against Inter at the San Siro since 1988 on Sunday afternoon.

Giampiero Ventura made just the one change from the team who beat Cesena last weekend, and that was an enforced one, as the suspended Bruno Peres was replaced by Cristian Molinaro.

The first chance of the game fell to Fredy Guarin but the Colombian midfielder blazed his shot over the bar. Mauro Icardi forced Daniele Padelli into making a good save, whilst Joel Obi also fired wide of the target as the home side were limited to half chances.

Despite the home side dominating possession, Toro did look dangerous on the counter attack and Josef Martinez should have done better with a free header from a corner. The Granata were creating more and more as the game wore on, and both Cristian Molinaro and Fabio Quagliarella had late chances to earn all three points for Torino.

However, with the final kick of the game Torino did win it, as Omar El Kaddouri's corner was flicked on by substitute Maxi Lopez and experienced defender Emiliano Moretti got the final touch to earn the Granata a memorable victory.

This was a perfect away performance from Toro who remained solid at the back and for once took the chance that they were presented with in the latter stages. This victory was the first time Torino have beaten one of the established 'big clubs' in Serie A since returning to the top division three seasons ago.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Inter v Torino Preview

Torino will make the short trip to Milan to face Inter at the San Siro looking for consecutive victories in Serie A for the first time this season.

The Granata have not lost any of their last six fixtures, with their last league defeat coming in the dying seconds against neighbours Juventus at the end of November.

Bruno Peres is suspended, so Cristian Molinaro should come into the starting eleven as should Kamil Glik who has returned from a suspension of his own. Last weekend's match winner Maxi Lopez could also be rewarded with his first start for the club.

Inter have made a number of reinforcements since Roberto Mancini returned to the club, and new signings Lukas Podolski and Xherdan Shaqiri should both feature.

The nerazzurri are also on an unbeaten run, and have not lost a game since a 2-1 home defeat against Udinese in December.

Inter 2-1 Torino

Monday, 19 January 2015

Cesena 2-3 Torino

Maxi Lopez's late strike spared Torino's blushes as the Granata had threw away a two goal lead against bottom-of-the-table Cesena on Sunday afternoon.

As expected, Pontus Jansson, Bruno Peres and Fabio Quagliarella all started, whilst there was only a fifth start of the season for Marco Benassi in midfield.

Toro took the lead twenty minutes into the game when Alexander Farnerud's pass found Marco Benassi on the edge of the area whose shot flew passed Nicola Leali and into the next.

Less than two minutes later, the Granata doubled their lead, when Farnerud's cross found Fabio Quagliarella who ended his long goal drought by volleying it into the bottom corner - with some assistance from the Cesena keeper who fumbled it over the line.

However, two minutes before half time Daniele Padelli conceded a second penalty in consecutive games after he fouled Franco Brienza. The former Palermo forward stepped up to take the penalty himself, and scored to half the deficit.

Milan Djuric had the opportunity to equalise for the home side early in the second half, but his header went wide of the far post.

With just five minutes remaining Pontus Jansson inexplicably handled in the area under no pressure, and Franco Brienza converted from the spot for the second time in the game.

However, the drama was not over yet as just two minutes later, Fabio Quagliarella fed substitute Maxi Lopez, and the Argentine finished calmly to secure three vital points for Toro.

Forza Toro.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Cesena v Torino Preview

Torino will look to secure their first away league victory since September when they travel to Cesena on Sunday afternoon.

Maxi Lopez could be in line for his first start in a Granata shirt following his debut for the club in Wednesday's Coppa Italia defeat to Lazio. Kamil Glik is suspended, so Pontus Jansson should deputise, whilst Fabio Quagliarella has also recovered from injury.

Cesena have struggled since returning to Serie A, and are currently in the bottom of the league having only won one game all season - on the opening day against Parma.

Cesena 0-1 Torino

Friday, 16 January 2015

Torino 1-3 Lazio

Torino were eliminated from the Coppa Italia on Wednesday evening after a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of in form Lazio.

Giampiero Ventura surprisingly dropped Bruno Peres and Alexander Farnerud, whilst Swedish defender Pontus Jansson was given a start in midfield.

The Granata started slowly and were behind within the opening quarter of an hour, as Balde Keita was allowed to run unchallenged from the half-way line before firing a powerful left footed shot past Daniele Padelli.

Toro felt they should have had a penalty, when Abdoulay Konko handled Kamil Glik's header towards goal, but referee Carmine Russo waved away the appeals.

The away side doubled their lead on the half hour mark when Miroslav Klose ghosted in behind Torino's back three to convert Danilo Cataldi's low cross.

Maxi Lopez came on at half time to make his Toro debut, and within five minutes Torino had reduced the deficit. Omar El Kaddouri received the ball out wide and played in Josef Martinez who turned and shot quickly to beat Etrit Berisha in the Lazio goal.

However, Lazio were given the opportunity to extend their lead when a Kamil Glik slip put Klose through on goal. Despite putting his shot wide, the referee adjudged the veteran German striker to have been fouled by Daniele Padelli and therefore awarded a penalty, and sent off the Torino goalkeeper.

Cristian Ledesma stepped up and beat Toro's third choice goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi from the spot and Padelli's dismissal effectively ended the game as a contest.

This was a disappointing exit from a competition which was Toro's only real hope of qualifying for Europe next season, and the protests against president Urbano Cairo continued at the final whistle.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Torino v Lazio Preview

Torino face Lazio in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia this evening, with Granata fans dreaming of seeing their team lift the trophy for the first time since 1993.

New signing Maxi Lopez has been included in the squad, although Fabio Quagliarella misses out due to injury. After impressing in Saturday's draw with AC Milan, Bruno Peres and Alexander Farnerud should keep their places in the starting eleven.

Lazio have been in fine league form recently, as illustrated by Sunday's 2-2 with Roma - a game in which they were 2-0 up at half time before being pegged back by Francesco Totti's heroics. Brazilian midfielder Felipe Anderson has been in scintillating form as of late, having been involved in each of Lazio's last seven goals (four scored, three assisted).

Torino 1-1 Lazio (Lazio to win on penalties)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Lopez Signs

Torino have boosted their striking options with the signing of former Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez from Chievo.

The Granata have struggled for goals this season in the league - only 13 in 18 games so far this season and they will be hopefully this signing will help to rectify this poor return.

Lopez, who has also played for Catania, AC Milan and Sampdoria during his spell in Italy has been included in the squad for tomorrow's Coppa Italia tie against Lazio and could make his debut.

It is expected that as part of this deal, Toro striker Marcelo Larrondo will move to Chievo, although that has yet to be officially announced.

Welcome Maxi!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Torino 1-1 AC Milan

Torino were once again indebted to captain Kamil Glik as his late equaliser earned the Granata a deserved point against 10 men AC Milan on Saturday evening.

Daniele Padelli retained his place in goal, but Emiliano Moretti and Bruno Peres both returned to the starting eleven as expected. There was no emotional return for Alessio Cerci against his former club, as the winger was left on the bench by Milan coach Pippo Inzaghi.

Toro made the worst possible start, as they conceded a penalty within three minutes as Kamil Glik was adjudged to have pulled Jeremy Menez's shirt in the area. The Frenchman stepped up to take the penalty himself and slammed it straight down the middle to give Milan the lead.

The home side responded well, and Diego Lopez had to make good saves to first deny Alexander Farnerud, and then Fabio Quagliarella. Alessandro Gazzi came close to levelling the scores, but he somehow failed to make contact with Emiliano Moretti's header across goal.

The Granata continued to create chances, and this time it was Matteo Darmian who was through on goal but his header hit the post. At the other end, chances were few and far between but M'Baye Niang almost silenced his critics by scoring a spectacular goal, but after pirouetting past two defenders, he curled his shot over the bar.

The turning point of the game arrived of the stroke of half time, as Mattia De Sciglio was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card - both of which for fouls on Matteo Darmian.

Torino continued to miss a number of chances, with Josef Martinez, Fabio Quagliarella and Marco Benassi all missing great chances to pull Toro level. But with less than ten minutes remaining, captain Kamil Glik, who is now Torino's top scorer, headed home from a corner to earn Toro a point.

This was a pleasing performance from Toro who were the better team throughout but will be disappointed that they did not win the game considering the number of clear cut chances there were.

There were a number of banners and songs at the game last night that called for Urbano Cairo to leave the club, and if the Toro president does not adequately reinforce the squad during this transfer window, then those dissenting voices will become louder and louder.

Forza Toro

Friday, 9 January 2015

Torino v AC Milan Preview

On May 18th 2014,  Alessio Cerci played his last match for Torino, his last contribution for the club was missing a last minute penalty which would have took the Granata into Europe.

Tomorrow evening, after an unsuccessful spell at Atletico Madrid, the Italian winger returns to the team who made him an Italian international. In the end, the missed penalty against Fiorentina was of no consequence as Torino eventually qualified for Europe due to Parma's financial problems - and as journalist Giancarlo Rinaldi pointed out on Twitter, the tears Cerci shed after that penalty miss should really have been given back to him.

The tears that Cerci shed that night in Florence was a display of sheer emotion from a player who has often been criticised by fans as being 'lazy' or someone who 'didn't care'. But on that night, he reacted in the same way a Torino fan would, and for that reason I hope he receives a positive reaction from the Maratona.

Whilst I can understand some fans being disappointed that he chose to leave, the fact that he has a tattoo dedicated to the club, and has already stated that he would not celebrate should he score shows that the player still feels affection to the team who rebuilt his career.

In other news, Jean Francois Gillet, Emilano Moretti and Omar El Kaddouri should return to the starting eleven from the side that drew against Chievo on Tuesday.

AC Milan suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat against Sassuolo at the San Siro on Tuesday, but have only lost one game away from home this season. 

This fixture last season was a dramatic one, as Torino surrended a 2-0 lead in injury time to deny them a famous victory against the Rossoneri.

Torino 1-1 AC Milan

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Chievo 0-0 Torino

The first game of 2015 was very much like the tail end of 2014 for Torino, as they struggled for creativity, and most importantly goals, as they drew 0-0 with Chievo on Tuesday afternoon.

Giampiero Ventura once again preferred Cristian Molinaro over Bruno Peres, whilst Gaston Silva surprisingly started in place of Cesare Bovo. Amauri was due to start up front, but a late injury in the warm up meant that he was replaced in the starting eleven by Josef Martinez.

Alexander Farnerud had the first chance of the game for the Granata, but his tame volley was easily saved by Albano Bizzari in the Chievo goal. Fabio Quagliarella, who is without a goal since mid-October, almost ended his goal drought but his goal bound effort was cleared by the home defence. 

Chievo were also limited to half chances, but Alberto Paloschi forced a save out of Daniele Padelli, who was deputising for Jean Francois Gillet who was out with flu.

A game that was lacking in any real quality somehow became worse in the second half, with Alexander Farnerud's long range effort Toro's only real opportunity.

Former Torino winger Dejan Lazarevic almost stole the points with a free kick, but his effort was tipped round the post by Daniele Padelli.

A point each was probably a fair result, if only because neither side deserved to come out with a win from this game, but Toro will have to start winning on a more regular basis if they want to avoid a relegation battle.

Forza Toro

Monday, 5 January 2015

Chievo v Torino Preview

Torino will look to win two consecutive league games for the first time all season when they face Chievo Verona on Tuesday afternoon.

The Granata will be without Jean Francois Gillet and Omar El Kaddouri due to flu, so Daniele Padelli and Giuseppe Vives should come into the starting eleven.

Amauri was preferred to Fabio Quagliarella for the victory against Genoa, but the former Napoli striker should return to the team and parter Josef Martinez upfront.

Chievo are currently two places and one point behind Toro in 16th position and feature a number of former Granata players in their squad such as Riccardo Meggiorini and Valter Birsa.

Chievo 1-1 Torino