Saturday, 14 March 2015

Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 Torino

Torino will have to produce a sensational performance to reach the Europa League quarter finals after suffering a 2-0 defeat against Zenit on Thursday evening.

As expected, Giampiero Ventura brought Nikola Maksimovic, Matteo Darmian and Marco Benassi into the starting eleven, whilst Josef Martinez's pace was preferred to Maxi Lopez's physicality.

Whilst Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon had an early shot saved by Daniele Padelli in the opening stages, Toro had managed to cope with what their hosts had to offer for the first twenty five minutes.

However, the turning point of this match occurred in the 27th minute when Marco Benassi received a second yellow for a foul on Axel Witsel, and the Granata were reduced to ten men.

And things got even worse for Toro ten minutes later when Padelli could only parry Igor Smolnikov shot, and Belgian international Axel Witsel capitalised on Kamil Glik's slip to fire home.

Zenit doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half, when Hulk's initial shot hit the post, but fell into the path of Domenico Criscito to side foot in.

The home side failed to extend their lead, which may have put the tie beyond any doubt, and in the closing stages, Alexander Farnerud almost scored a crucial away goal for Toro, but pulled his shot wide of the far post.

This was a disappointing defeat for Toro, especially considering they looked equal to their hosts until Marco Benassi unnecessary dismissal. The Granata are still in with a slight chance to progress to the next round, but it will provide a performance even better than that famous night in Bilbao.

Forza Toro

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