Friday, 20 March 2015

Torino 1-0 Zenit (Zenit win 2-1 on Aggregate)

Torino's European adventure came to an end on Thursday night, as despite beating the Russian league leaders on the night, they couldn't overturn the first leg deficit.

Giampiero Ventura selected his strongest possible side, with Alexander Farnerud replacing the suspended Marco Benassi and Maxi Lopez was preferred to Josef Martinez up front.

Despite a nervy start, Toro began to settle and created a number of half chances in the first half, the
best of which was Fabio Quagliarella's deflected free kick which went narrowly wide of the post.

Toro almost made the perfect start to the second half, but Kamil Glik's exquisite diving header was harshly ruled out for offside. With Toro needing to score twice to force extra time, Josef Martinez joined Maxi Lopez and Quagliarella upfront with fifteen minutes remaining.

And the Venezuelan striker almost made an instant impact, but his header was saved by Yuri Lodygin, who also saved Alessandro Gazzi's rebound.

In the 90th minute Toro received a glimmer of hope, and it was their captain Kamil Glik who provided it as the Polish international headed home Cesare Bovo's corner. In injury time, Toro almost succeeded in forcing extra time, but Fabio Quagliarella's volley was cleared off the line.

Zenit managed to hold on to make it through to the quarter finals, but this was a Torino performance to be proud of. The Granata gave it absolutely everything they had, and a sold out Stadio Olimpico showed their appreciation of their efforts at the final whistle.

I'm sure even the most optimistic of Toro fans could not have imagined the way this European adventure has gone, and those magical nights in Copenhagen and Bilbao will live long in the memory.

I think I speak for every Granata supporter when I say, Grazie Ragazzi, Grazie Ventura.

Forza Toro

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