Friday, 23 December 2016

Torino 1-0 Genoa

Torino stopped the rot after three consecutive defeats with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Genoa on Thursday evening.

Leandro Castan and Iago Falque returned to the starting eleven after losing their places for the defeat at Napoli, however it was the away side who made the better start.

Joe Hart had to make good saves to deny Nikola Ninkovic and then Isaac Cofie in quick succession, although Adem Ljajic also went close for Toro at the other end.

Toro took the lead four minutes into the second half when Adem Ljajic's excellent free kick was stabbed home by Andrea Belotti, his 13th league goal of the season.

Belotti was a constant threat to the Genoa defence in the second half and was only denied a second goal due to a great save from Eugenio Lamanna.

Genoa made history in the dying moments as they bought on fifteen year old Pietro Pellegri in search of an equaliser. Pellegri is now the youngest player to ever appear in Serie A, but he didn't even touch the ball as Toro held on for three crucial points.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Torino v Genoa Preview

Torino will look to end the year in style when they face Genoa at the Stadio Grande Torino on Thursday evening.

After three successive defeats Toro are not in great form, but the performance against Juventus and second half display at Napoli is something to build on.

Sinisa Mihajlovic has voiced his anger at Adem Ljajic's recent performances, so Josef Martinez or Lucas Boyé could be in line to replace the Serbian winger.

Genoa are two points below Torino in 12th place and have won two of their last five games, but suffered a surprise 4-3 home defeat to Palermo last time out.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Genoa

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Napoli 5-3 Torino

Torino fell to a third consecutive defeat as Dries Mertens scored a nine minute hat trick in a 5-3 loss to Napoli on Sunday afternoon.

Sinisa Mihajlovic changed his favoured starting eleven with Emiliano Moretti coming in to replace Leandro Castan and Davide Zappacosta replacing Iago Falque.

However, Toro made a terrible start and were behind after only thirteen minutes as they fell asleep at a corner and that allowed Dries Mertens to convert Jose Callejon's low cross.

Five minutes later Mertens was brought down in the area by Antonio Barreca, and the Belgian stepped up himself to send Joe Hart the wrong way and double Napoli's lead.

The former PSV man then completed his hat trick at the second attempt after initially being denied by a Luca Rossettini clearance.

Toro had a lifeline on the hour mark when Andrea Belotti stabbed home from close range, but Napoli's three goal lead was re-established when Vlad Chiriches finished off an excellent team move.

However, six minutes later an error from Pepe Reina allowed Rossettini to score his first goal for Torino.

But this match was the Dries Mertens show, and he scored his fourth goal of the game - a sensational chip over Joe Hart who was only inches off his line.

There was still time for Toro to score a third goal, as Iago Falque scored a penalty after being pushed in the area by Jose Callejon. However, despite scoring three goals at the San Paolo, this was a night to forget for Torino.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Napoli v Torino Preview

Torino will be looking to avoid a third consecutive league defeat when they travel to 4th place Napoli on Sunday afternoon.

Toro impressed for large spells in last week's derby against Juventus and were unlucky to lose, but need to improve on their away form as they have only won two away games all season.

Napoli are unbeaten in their last five league games and Serbian defender Nikola Maksimovic could face his former team after leaving Toro in the Summer.

Prediction
Napoli 2-1 Torino

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Torino 1-3 Juventus

Torino took an early lead in the Derby Della Mole but conceded two late goals as they succumbed to another defeat against Juventus.

There was a controversial moment in the opening stages as Andrea Belotti was pulled back by last man Daniele Rugani, but the referee waved play on.

However, Toro took the lead on sixteen minutes when Daniele Baselli's cut back was expertly headed home by Andrea Belotti. Unfortunately that lead did not last long as twelve minutes later the Granata were punished when Adem Ljajic lost possession on the half-way line and seconds later Gonzalo Higuain finished well past Joe Hart.

Torino were creating the better chances in the second half and Adem Ljajic came narrowly close to making amends for his earlier error, but his curling shot went just wide of the post. With ten minutes remaining Sinisa Mihajlovic made a treble change as he went in search of a winner, with strikers Josef Martinez and Lucas Boyé entering the field.

However, when play restarted, Juventus immediately took the lead when Gonzalo Higuain out muscled Antonio Barreca before volleying past Hart.

Juve scored another goal in the dying seconds as despite making excellent saves from Higuain and then Miralem Pjanic, Hart was unable to deny the Bosnian for a second time as he added a third . This meant the final scoreline was unfair on Toro who had matched the Champions for eighty minutes, and had their chances to take the lead earlier in the game.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Torino v Juventus Preview

Torino head into Sunday's 235th Derby Della Mole in optimistic fashion despite suffering defeat against Sampdoria in their last fixture.

The Granata are unbeaten at home this season, winning five of their seven fixtures so far with attacking trident Adem Ljajic, Andrea Belotti and Iago Falque weighing in with an impressive tally of twenty-two goals already this season.

Toro have no injuries ahead of the derby, so Sinisa Mihajlovic may choose to stick with the eleven who were slightly unfortunate in defeat against Samp last Sunday. However, Toro once again conceded from a set piece in that game, and this is a recurring problem which the Granata must deal with ahead of Juve's visit.

Juventus are four points clear at the top of the Serie A table and completed the double (and a cup victory) over Toro last season - however, they have already suffered three away defeats this season, which will give Torino heart. As will the fact the bianconeri will be without key defenders Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci.

Forza Toro

Monday, 5 December 2016

Sampdoria 2-0 Torino

Torino lost their first game since late October as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Sampdoria on Sunday afternoon.

Toro made a bright start as Iago Falque hit the bar in the early stages, whilst Adem Ljajic's free kick forced a save out of Christian Puggioni.

Puggioni made another save to deny Andrea Belotti at the start of the second half, and Toro were then made to pay for their missed chances.

Once again it was a set piece that caused the Toro defence problems, and that allowed Edgar Barreto to swivel and stab the ball into the far corner.

Toro went in search of an equaliser, and Belotti was once again denied by Puggioni and substitute Maxi Lopez saw a goal narrowly disallowed for offside.

In the dying seconds, Toro were dealt a sucker punch as Czech striker Patrick Schick fired through Joe Hart's legs to seal all three points for Samp.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sampdoria v Torino Preview

Torino will look to celebrate their birthday in style when they face Sinisa Mihajlovic's former team Sampdoria on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata were formed 110 years ago on December 3rd 1906, and Mihajlovic has expressed his desire for the team to put on a performance to commemorate the occasion with three points.

Sampdoria are in decent form and are unbeaten in their four games and have won their last three home games. Former Toro striker Fabio Quagliarella has scored four goals this season for Samp, and is sure to get a lively reception from the away fans due to the controversial way his Toro career ended.

Prediction
Sampdoria 1-1 Torino

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Torino 4-0 Pisa (AET)

Torino progressed to the last sixteen of the Coppa Italia with a 4-0 victory over Pisa, but Toro needed extra time to get past the Serie B side.

As expected, Sinisa Mihajlovic made eleven changes from the side who beat Chievo, with Arlind Arjeti, Sasa Lukic and Maxi Lopez amongst those given rare starts.

It was the Ghanaian midfielder Acquah who had Toro's best chance in the first half, but he was denied by an excellent save from Samir Ujkani.

The Granata were finding it tough to break down Gennaro Gattuso's men, and bought on Adem Ljajic in an effort to find a goal. However, it was the Tuscan side who came closest to opening the scoring, but Daniele Padelli made a stunning save to deny Andrea Lisuzzo.

Pisa were reduced to ten men when Andrea Lazzari couldn't continue due to injury, and the away side had already made all three changes. Maxi Lopez smashed a shot of the crossbar in the dying moments, but Toro still couldn't find a break through so the game went into extra time.

The Granata needed only two minutes to find that all important goal, as Adem Ljajic fired a shot past Ujkani from just outside the area. The floodgates then opened in the second half of extra time, as Maxi Lopez, Lucas Boyé and Andrea Belotti added there name to the score sheet and Toro secured a tie with AC Milan in the next round.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Torino v Pisa Preview

Torino will look to make it into the last 16 of the Coppa Italia when they face Serie B side Pisa on Tuesday evening.

Sinisa Mihajlovic has named a strong squad, but he may take this opportunity to rotate his squad and use fringe players such as Cesare Bovo, Afriyie Acquah and Josef Martinez.

Pisa, who are coached by former AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, are currently 15th in Serie B but have only scored seven goals in sixteen league games.

Prediction
Torino 3-0 Pisa

Torino 2-1 Chievo

Torino made it three successive league wins with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Chievo on Saturday evening.

The Granata made a bright start and Andrea Belotti and Adem Ljajic both had half chances to open the scoring. Ten minutes before half time, Antonio Barreca's excellent cross found Iago Falque unmarked at the far post and the Spaniard headed past Stefano Sorrentino to give Toro the lead.

Torino doubled their lead three minutes later and it was that man Falque who curled an exquisite left footed shot into the top corner.

Toro were given a fright in the closing stages when Roberto Inglese headed home Valter Birsa's corner with only five minutes remaining. However, Chievo's chances of salvaging a draw were damaged when Fabrizio Cacciatore was sent off for dissent in the final minute.

Davide Zappacosta should have added a third goal with the last kick of the game, but he shot wide with Adem Ljajic and Andrea Belotti well placed.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Torino v Chievo Preview

Torino will look for a third consecutive victory when they host Chievo at the Stadio Grande Torino on Saturday evening.

Top scorer and talisman  Andrea Belotti has recovered from a bout of flu and should be fit to start, whilst Lorenzo De Silvestri is expected to replace Davide Zappacosta at right back.

Chievo are on a poor run of form, and have only won one of their last six fixtures, a 1-0 victory over Cagliari last time out.

Prediction
Torino 3-1 Chievo

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Crotone 0-2 Torino

Andrea Belotti proved his importance to Torino once again as the Italian international scored two late goals to give Toro all three points at Crotone.

There was only one enforced change for the Granata, as Emiliano Moretti replaced Antonio Barreca at left back with the youngster suffering from flu.

It was the home side who had the first chance as Andrea Barberis tried his luck from long range, but he was denied by a good save from Joe Hart. The England international was forced into action again, as his poor pass presented the ball to Marcello Trotta, but Hart made amends to deny the former Brentford striker.

Toro were dominating possession in the second half, but were struggling to create clear cut chances, so Sinisa Mihajlovic brought on strikers Josef Martinez and Lucas Boyé in an attempt to find a winner.

With ten minutes remaining, Adem Ljajic's through ball found Andrea Belotti who calmly finished past Alex Cordaz - although replays did show the former Palermo man was narrowly offside.

In the final minute, Belotti eased any Toro nerves by firing home a fine left footed strike after excellent work from Boyé to seal all three points.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Crotone v Torino Preview

Torino will hope to improve upon their disappointing away form when they travel to bottom club Crotone on Sunday afternoon.

Toro have only won one game away from home this season, a 4-1 victory over Palermo in October and will be without left back Antonio Barreca  for this fixture, as the youngster is suffering from flu.

In their debut Serie A season, Crotone have only won one game following their surprise promotion - a 2-0 victory over Chievo three weeks ago.

Prediction
Crotone 1-3 Torino

Monday, 7 November 2016

Torino 5-1 Cagliari

Torino produced another excellent home performance as they thrashed Cagliari 5-1 at Stadio Grande Torino on Saturday evening.

As expected, Leandro Castan and Iago Falque returned to the Toro starting eleven, and it only took two minutes for the Granata to take the lead.

Andrea Belotti's initial shot was parried by Marco Storari, but the Italian international reacted first to smash into the back of the net. Toro doubled their lead less than ten minutes later as Adem Ljajic scored with a shot from outside the area which wrong-footed Storari.

Marco Benassi added a third goal for Toro as the captain fired a shot into the top corner from a difficult angle. However, four minutes before half time, Federico Melchiorri gave the away side a lifeline as he headed home a left wing cross past Joe Hart, and the England international may be disappointed not to have kept it out.

However, Toro re-established their three goal lead just five minutes into the second half as Daniele Baselli smashed home a fourth following Ljajic's cut back. Torino were awarded a penalty on the hour mark when Panagiotis Tachtsidis (who is on loan from Toro) tripped Andrea Belotti in the area.

Cagliari midfielder Daniele Dessena was sent off for protesting that decision, but that did not deter Belotti who managed to convert his first penalty of the season - despite Storari getting a hand to it.

This was Toro's second 5-1 victory of the season, and only Roma have bettered their tally of 27 goals so far this campaign.

Forza Toro

Friday, 4 November 2016

Torino v Cagliari Preview

After a run of three games without a win, Torino host Cagliari on Saturday evening in search of three points.

Leandro Castan has returned to the squad following injury and should come into the starting eleven, as should Iago Falque who played no part against Udinese on Monday.

Davide Zappacosta and Mirko Valdifiori both suffered injuries in that game, but have been included in the squad so could feature.

Since gaining promotion last season, Cagliari have adjusted well to life in the top flight and are currently level on points with Torino in 9th place. Despite winning four of their last six fixtures, Cagliari have only won one of their five away games this season, a shock 2-1 victory over Inter at the San Siro.

Prediction
Torino 3-1 Cagliari

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Udinese 2-2 Torino

Torino came from behind to earn a point in Udine on Monday night thanks to Adem Ljajic's fine individual goal.

As expected, Marco Benassi and Daniele Baselli came back into the midfield but Lucas Boyé was a surprise starter in place of Iago Falque.

Toro took the lead after fifteen minutes when Andrea Belotti played a perfect through ball to Marco Benassi and the former Inter midfielder finished well when one on one against Orestis Karnezis.

The Granata could have doubled their lead before half time, but this time Karnezis was able to deny Andrea Belotti who was through on goal.

Torino were made to pay for that missed chance on the hour mark when Cyril Thereau headed home a right wing cross to bring the home side level. Udinese then managed to take the lead ten minutes later when Toro failed to clear a corner, and Duvan Zapata managed to score from one yard out.

However Adem Ljajic produced another contender in what seems to be his own goal of the season competition as the Serbian winger jinked past the Udinese defence before curling a left footed shot into the bottom corner.

Toro were unable to find a winning goal in the closing stages, and a draw was probably the fair result, but the away side were left to rue not making the most of their first half dominance.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Udinese v Torino Preview

After suffering defeat in mid-week, Torino will try to get back to winning ways when they travel to Udinese on Monday evening.

Sinisa Mihajlovic was disappointed in the performance at the San Siro so multiple changes are expected, Daniele Baselli and Marco Benassi should both come into the midfield, whilst Lucas Boyè could also feature.

Udinese have won their last two fixtures against relegation candidates Pescara and Palermo but Toro have good memories of this stadium - as they won 5-1 back in April. 

Prediction
Udinese 1-3 Torino

Friday, 28 October 2016

Inter 2-1 Torino

Torino fell to a first defeat since mid-September after Mauro Icardi's late goal was enough for Inter to claim all three points.

Sinisa Mihajlovic made three changes from the side who rescued a point late on against Lazio as Emiliano Moretti replaced the injured Leandro Castan and midfielders Afriyie Acquah and Joel Obi both came into the starting eleven.

Portuguese midfielder João Mário had the first chance of the match for the home side but his long range effort whistled past the post. 

Ten minutes before half time Inter took the lead and it will be one which Toro goalkeeper Joe Hart would like to forget. It looked as though the England international would intercept Antonio Candreva's over hit through ball, but the former Manchester City man failed to claim the ball cleanly and it ricocheted off Mauro Icardi's trailing leg and into the net.

Mihajlovic was not pleased with Toro's first half display and bought on Maxi Lopez for Iago Falque and changed the formation to 4-3-1-2. 

Joe Hart made amends for his earlier error by making a good save to deny Marcelo Brozović, and moments later the Granata were level. Hart's goal kick somehow made its way to Andrea Belotti, and thanks to some comical defending from Cristian Ansaldi and Jeison Murillo, the Italian international was able to fire a powerful left footed shot past Samir Handanović.

Inter should have taken the lead almost immediately after the restart, but Brozović somehow managed to miss a free header from only three yards out, whilst Candreva and Icardi also missed good chances. 

However, with only two minutes remaining, Icardi received the ball with his back to goal before turning Luca Rossettini and unleashing a fierce shot into the corner of Joe Hart's net to give Frank De Boer's side a much needed victory. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Inter v Torino Preview

Torino will be looking to increase the pressure on Inter coach Frank De Boer when they travel to the San Siro on Wednesday evening.

Toro will be without Leandro Castan so Emiliano Moretti or Cesare Bovo could deputise, whilst Afriyie Acquah could also come into the starting eleven.

Inter coach Frank De Boer could be sacked should the home side fail to beat Toro, as the Milan club have lost four of their last five games - and the one victory was an extremely fortuitous one against Southampton in the Europa League.

Torino have an impressive recent record at the San Siro against Inter, winning on their previous two visits.

Prediction
Inter 1-1 Torino

Torino 2-2 Lazio

Torino extended their unbeaten record to six games thanks to Adem Ljajic's injury time penalty against Lazio on Sunday afternoon.

Sinisa Mihajlovic kept faith with the same eleven who convincingly beat Palermo on Monday evening, as Toro looked for a fourth consecutive victory.

Toro started brightly and were ahead after only twenty minutes when Davide Zappacosta's excellent cross was headed home by the unlikely figure of Iago Falque.

Lazio should have been level when Keita Balde ran through on goal, but the Senegalese international put his shot wide under pressure from Leandro Castan.

Former Toro striker Ciro Immobile was heavily jeered by the home supporters who felt betrayed by the way he left the club in the summer, and he was denied an equaliser at the start of the second half by a good save from Joe Hart.

However, with twenty minutes remaining, Immobile scored the goal that seemed inevitable as he met Felipe Anderson's cross with a fine bicycle kick.

Mihajlovic made an attacking change in search of a winner as Maxi Lopez replaced Marco Benassi, but it was Lazio who were now looking the more dangerous side, and Hart made another good save to deny Danilo Cataldi.

However from the resulting corner, youngster Alessandro Murgia was left unmarked and the substitute headed home with only six minutes left.

Lucas Boyé was sent on immediately as Toro ended the game with five attackers on the pitch, and were rewarded for their bravery when they were awarded a penalty following Marco Parolo's hand ball.

Adem Ljajic took the penalty and put it straight down the middle to earn Toro a share of the spoils, which in all honesty, was probably a fair result.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Torino v Lazio Preview

Torino will look to earn a fourth consecutive victory when they face Lazio at the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday afternoon.

After Toro's impressive 4-1 victory at Palermo on Monday, confidence is high in the Granata camp and they will hope to continue that against a Lazio side ravaged by injuries.

However former Toro favourite Ciro Immobile should start for the away side who are in good form themselves and are level on points with Torino.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Lazio

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Palermo 1-4 Torino

Torino secured their first away win of the season as they recovered from conceding an early goal to beat Palermo 4-1 on Monday night.

The Granata made two changes from the team who beat Fiorentina before the international break as Adem Ljajic was preferred to Lucas Boyé on the left wing, and Daniele Baselli came in for Afriyie Acquah.

Toro made a bright start but were behind after only five minutes when Ivaylo Chochev headed home Alessandro Diamanti's excellent cross. However the away side equalised twenty minutes later when Iago Falque found Adem Ljajic in space, and the Serbian winger fired a shot into the top corner from just outside the area.

That goal meant gave the former Fiorentina man confidence, and he gave Torino the lead with another outstanding finish, this time from just inside the area as he curled the ball into the far corner.

On the stroke of half time, Toro added a third goal after good work from Mirko Valdifiori and Daniele Baselli allowed captain Marco Benassi to fire home.

Five minutes into the second half, Torino added a fourth goal to end the game as a contest when Iago Falque's cross found Daniele Baselli whose mis-kick crawled over the line.

Toro's intensity levels dropped towards the end of the second half which enabled the home side to have a few good chances, but even a late floodlight failure could not deny Toro a third consecutive victory.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Palermo v Torino Preview

Torino will look to make it three wins in a row when they travel to Sicily to face Palermo on Monday evening.

The Granata will be without the injured Lorenzo De Silvestri and Giuseppe Vives but Serbian winger Adem Ljajic is now fully fit.

Andrea Belotti is in excellent form and scored his first goal for Italy in Macedonia last week, and will be looking to continue that form against his former team.

Palermo have improved in recent weeks following the appointment of former Foggia coach Roberto De Zerbi, but have lost all three games at home this season.

Prediction
Palermo 0-1 Torino

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Torino 2-1 Fiorentina

Torino continued their recent form with an impressive 2-1 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday evening.

Sinisa Mihajlovic made only two changes from the side who beat Roma last weekend with Davide Zappacosta and Afriyie Acquah coming in to replace the injured Lorenzo De Silvestri and Joel Obi.

Just as they had seven days previously, Toro started well and Andrea Belotti came close early on when his header hit the side netting. The Granata were ahead after just fifteen minutes when Iago Falque won the ball and then drove at the Viola defence before finishing with a lovely left footed finish past Ciprian Tătărușanu.

Nikola Kalinic had the best chance of the first half for Fiorentina, but his free header was straight at Joe Hart who was able to turn it away for a corner.

Toro doubled their lead on the hour mark when Falque turned provider when his exquisite pass found captain Marco Benassi who turned and finished well.

Joe Hart made another good save to deny Borja Valero, but the England international could do nothing to prevent Khouma Babacar from getting a goal back with ten minutes remaining, as the Senegalese striker lost Luca Rossettini before heading home.

Substitute Josef Martinez could have added a third for Toro but he was denied by Tătărușanu, but in the end it didn't matter as Torino held on for all three points.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Torino v Fiorentina Preview

Torino will look to build on their impressive performance against Roma when they face Fiorentina on Sunday evening.

Maxi Lopez and Adem Ljajic are both available for selection, but the impressive form of Lucas Boyé means that the Argentine youngster should retain his place.

Fiorentina come into this game in good form having thrashed Azerbaijani side Qarabağ 5-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, however the Viola are yet to win away from home this season.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Fiorentina

Monday, 26 September 2016

Torino 3-1 Roma

Torino produced their finest performance of the season as they beat Roma at home for the first time in twenty-three years on Sunday afternoon.

Andrea Belotti started his first game since August after returning from injury, whilst Luca Rossettini, Joel Obi and Marco Benassi all came into the starting eleven.

Roma started brightly and Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan fired an early warning to Joe Hart's goal, but his fierce shot went narrowly wide of the post. However it was Toro who took the lead within ten minutes when Joel Obi's excellent cross was headed home by the returning Andrea Belotti.

Belotti was causing major problems for the Roma back four, and his excellent hold up play allowed Iago Falque to get two strikes on goal, but he was denied by the post initially, and then Wojciech Szczesny.

Szczesny had to be at his best moments later when the impressive Lucas Boyé played in Andrea Belotti's whose shot was turned around the post by the Polish keeper.

Luciano Spalletti turned to his captain Francesco Totti who came on at half time for the giallorossi, and he was given a standing ovation by the home supporters in what is likely to be his last ever appearance at the Stadio Grande Torino.

Joe Hart denied his former Manchester City team mate Edin Dzeko an equaliser in the early stages of the second half, although the Bosnian probably should have scored.

Roma were made to pay for that miss when the home side were awarded a penalty as former Toro defender Bruno Peres upended Andrea Belotti. After Belotti's recent failures from the spot, on loan Roma winger Iago Falque took responsibility and the Spaniard made no mistake to double Torino's lead.

However, Roma halved the deficit just two minutes later when they were awarded a penalty of their own when Lorenzo De Silvestri tripped Diego Perotti. Francesco Totti stepped up and sent Joe Hart the wrong way to give the away side hope.

But this was to be Torino's afternoon, and the Granata extended their lead when Andrea Belotti set up Iago Falque who scored his second goal of the game thanks to a huge deflection from Federico Fazio.

Toro had chances to increase the margin of victory with Davide Zappacosta and Josef Martinez both going close, but three goals were enough to seal Torino's second victory of the season.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Torino v Roma Preview

After two successive 0-0 draws, Torino will be looking for a second win of the season when they host Roma on Sunday afternoon.

Toro will be without the suspended Afriyie Acquah and Giuseppe Vives who were both dismissed in mid-week at Pescara. However, the Granata will be boosted by Andrea Belotti's return to fitness, and he should start in this game.

Former Torino favourite Bruno Peres moved to Roma in the summer and has helped his new side to three victories in their opening five games - the most recent of which was a 4-0 thrashing of Crotone on Wednesday.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Roma

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Pescara 0-0 Torino

Torino had to play the last ten minutes with only nine men but still managed to hold on for a deserved point on a crazy night in Pescara.

Mattia Aramu made his Serie A debut for the Granata, whilst Davide Zappacosta, Emiliano Moretti Giuseppe Vives and Daniele Baselli all came into the starting eleven.

Joe Hart made a good save from Valerio Verre's long range shot after Daniele Baselli's careless pass presented the ball to the midfielder.

Josef Martinez had the best chance for Toro in the first half after good work from Lucas Boyé, but the Venezuelan could not find the target from a difficult angle. On the stroke of half time, Afriyie Acquah received a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on the half way line.

Despite that setback, Toro were creating chances on the counter attack in the second half - but once again had Joe Hart to thank for his save from Ledian Memushaj. With ten minutes left, Toro had a second man sent off when Giuseppe Vives received a straight red card for his cynical trip on Alexandru Mitrita.

Incredibly, nine man Torino almost took the lead when substitute Andrea Belotti broke clear but his low effort rebounded off the post. It looked as though Toro's brave resistance would be broken in the dying minutes, but Cristiano Biraghi somehow missed a free header from close range and Toro held on for a point.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Pescara v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to newly promoted Pescara on Wednesday afternoon in search of their first away victory of the new campaign.

Cristian Molinaro suffered a long term injury in Sunday's draw with Empoli so he will be replaced by youngster Antonio Barreca, whilst Marco Benassi and Daniele Baselli will be pushing for starts in midfield.

Adem Ljajic will still miss the game through injury, but Andrea Belotti could make an appearance if he passes a pre-match fitness test.

Pescara currently have four points from their opening four fixtures, however three of those points were awarded to them after Sassuolo were found to have played an ineligible player. In their first two home games of the season, Pescara recorded a creditable 2-2 draw with Napoli and were only defeated by Inter in the dying seconds.

Prediction
Pescara 1-2 Torino

Monday, 19 September 2016

Torino 0-0 Empoli

Torino really felt the absences of injured duo Adem Ljajic and Andrea Belotti as they could only manage a disappointing draw at home to Empoli on Sunday afternoon.

Joe Hart made his home debut for the Granata, whilst Joel Obi, Afriyie Acquah and Lucas Boyé all came into the team.

The Nigerian midfielder Obi had the first chance of the game for the Granata, but his shot was tipped round the post by Lukasz Skorupski. A driving run into the box from Afriyie Acquah led to the former Parma midfielder receiving the ball back from Iago Falque's cross - but he headed wide of the target.

Cristian Molinaro was forced off the field with a serious injury and he was replaced with youngster Antonio Barreca who immediately created a chance for Boyé, but the Argentine blazed the ball over the bar.  Boyé was looking bright in his first start of the season, and on the stroke of half time he forced a save from Skorupski from a tight angle.

After barely creating a chance in the first half, Empoli looked much brighter in the 2nd half and should have taken the lead but Alberto Gilardino failed to make contact with the ball from close range.

Joe Hart made a vital intervention from Manuel Pucciarelli having previously made a good save to deny full back Vincent Laurini.

After a disappointing second half in which Toro struggle to create chances, the Granata had to settle for a point.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Torino v Empoli Preview

Torino will be looking to secure their second win of the new season when they face Empoli at the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday evening.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart who was officially unveiled as a Toro player on Friday afternoon impressed journalists by speaking in Italian to begin the press conference.

However, the England international will look for a better individual display as his error against Atalanta led to their equaliser. Toro will be without Maxi Lopez who has been told by coach Sinisa Mihajlovic that he needs to lose 7kg before being considered for selection.

With Andrea Belotti still not expected to be fully fit, Lucas Boyé is expected to be given his first start in attack - alongside Iago Falque and Josef Martinez.

Like Toro, Empoli have suffered one victory and two defeats in their opening three games - with their only win coming on Monday against newly promoted Crotone.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Empoli

Monday, 12 September 2016

Atalanta 2-1 Torino

Torino lost their second game of the season, as despite leading, they were beaten 2-1 by Atalanta on Sunday afternoon.

Joe Hart made his Toro debut, whilst Josef Martinez and Maxi Lopez replaced the injured duo Adem Ljajic and Andrea Belotti.

Toro had the first chance of the game as Marco Benassi's snap shot from distance was the tipped over the bar by Marco Sportiello. At the other end, Joe Hart produced a fine save to deny the in form Atalanta midfielder Frank Kessié,

Both sides had chances to take the lead just before the break, firstly Cristian Molinaro was denied by Sportiello's legs and then Kessié somehow missed the target from only three yards out.

Toro took the lead ten minutes into the second half thanks to Iago Falque's fine free kick, although Sportiello probably should have kept it out.

However the lead lasted less than two minutes as debutant Hart failed to claim a corner kick, and diverted the ball into the path of Andrea Masiello who turned the ball into the back of the net.

Lucas Boyé and Falque both had half chances to give Toro the lead, but with ten minutes remaining, the home side were awarded a penalty when Lorenzo  De Silvestri tripped Alejandro Gomez. Hart was unable to make amends for his earlier error as the excellent Kessié sent him the wrong way from the spot to give Atalanta their first points of the season.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Atalanta v Torino Preview

On loan goalkeeper Joe Hart is in line to make his Torino debut when the Granata face a tough trip to Bergamo on Sunday afternoon. 

The England international has made a good first impression with his new teammates, and coach Sinisia Mihajlovic has revealed that he has already learnt a few words of Italian.

However, Mihajlovic has other worries due to an injury crisis up front with Andrea Belotti, Maxi Lopez and Josef Martinez all potentially out. Therefore, youngster Manuel De Luca has been called up to the squad for the first time.

The home side have lost both of their league fixtures this season, but young midfielder Frank Kessié has impressed and has already scored three times.

Prediction
Atalanta 1-1 Torino

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Toro gain Hart

Torino have completed perhaps the most surprising signing of the summer transfer window by acquiring England goalkeeper Joe Hart on a season long loan from Manchester City.

Whilst rumours of a potential move circulated on the weekend, it seemed that Hart's wages would prove to be a major obstacle to any deal. However, Manchester City have agreed to pay the majority of his wages, thus clearing the way for Hart to move to the Granata.

The presence of Attilio Lombardo on the Toro coaching staff was believed to be a major factor in Hart deciding to move to Italy, as the former Crystal Palace player was previously on the coaching staff at Manchester City.

Hart will become the first Englishman to play for Torino since Tony Dorigo, and is in line to make his debut against Atalanta on September 11th.

Toro had a busy deadline day, as the Granata also sealed the signing of Napoli midfielder Mirko Valdifiori on a permanent deal. The former Empoli man moved to Toro as part of the deal which saw Nikola Maksimovic complete his drawn out move to Napoli, the Serbian has initially joined on loan - although the Partenopei are obligated to make the move permanent at the end of the season.

There were also a number of outgoings as goalkeepers Salvador Ichazo and Alfred Gomis joined Bari and Bologna respectively, both on loan. Panagiotis Tachtsidis, who only joined Toro at the beginning of the month, has moved to Cagliari on loan. 

Forza Toro

Monday, 29 August 2016

Torino 5-1 Bologna

Torino recorded a first league win of the new season after an impressive 5-1 thumping of Bologna on Sunday evening.

Siniša Mihajlović made a number of changes to the team who lost against AC Milan on the opening day, as Leandro Castan, Cesare Bovo, Daniele Baselli, Marco Benassi and Iago Falque all came into the team.

Toro suffered a set back in the early stages as Adem Ljajić was forced off injured for the second game in succession. However, moments later, the Granata took the lead when Andrea Belotti headed home Lorenzo De Silvestri's cross. 

That lead did not last long as Bologna were level four minutes later as Saphir Taider dispossessed Daniele Baselli on the half way line before running unopposed and firing his shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. 

Torino regained their lead before half time as Andrea Belotti smartly rolled defender Marios Oikonomou before finishing past Antonio Mirante. Toro extended their lead when Iago Falque's cross was diverted into Josef Martinez's path, and the Venezuelan side footed the ball past Mirante.

Substitute Lucas Boyé contributed to Torino's fourth goal as he won the ball in the final third and then selflessly passed to Daniele Baselli who finished well. Andrea Belotti won a penalty for Toro when he was tripped by Erick Pulgar, although for the second game in a row, he saw his spot kick saved.

However, Belotti, who has just been named in Giampiero Ventura's first Italy squad would not be denied, and he completed his hat trick when he converted Cristian Molinaro's fine cross.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Torino v Bologna Preview

Torino will look to earn their first points of the new season when they welcome Bologna to the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday evening.

Adem Ljajić who came off injured in the opening game against AC Milan is fit again, as is Spanish winger Iago Falque who is in line for his competitive debut.

Bologna beat newly promoted Crotone in their opening league game last weekend thanks to Mattia Destro's late goal, and will be looking for revenge as Toro beat them home and away last season.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Bologna

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

AC Milan 3-2 Torino

It was opening day agony for the Granata as Andrea Belotti had a last second penalty saved to deny Torino a deserved point against AC Milan.

Sinisa Mihajlovic gave Lorenzo De Silvesti, Luca Rossettini and Adem Ljajic league debuts as he returned to his former club.

M'baye Niang had the first chance of the game after he received Carlos Bacca's clever pass, but the Frenchman's volley hit the side netting.

Adem Ljajic's first league game in a Toro shirt last less than half an hour, as he was forced to come off injured following a collision with Alessio Romagnoli and he was replaced by Lucas Boyé.

The home side took the lead just before half time when Cristian Molinaro misjudged a long ball and his mistake was capitalised on by Ignazio Abate who delivered a perfect cross for Bacca to head home.

Molinaro quickly made amends for that error as he provided the cross for Andrea Belotti, who found the bottom corner with a glancing header moments into the second half.

However, Toro were only level for two minutes as another error, this time from Emiliano Moretti allowed Carlos Bacca to nip in for his second goal of the game. The Rossoneri were then awarded a penalty after Giacomo Bonaventura was tripped by Joel Obi, and the Colombian Bacca converted the spot kick to complete his hat trick.

However Torino failed to give up, and when substitute Daniele Baselli waltzed passed the Milan defence before side-footing past Gianluigi Donnarumma, it gave the Granata injury time in order to find an equaliser.

In the dying seconds, Gabriel Paletta was penalised for a tug on Andea Belotti in the area and the defender received a second yellow card. Belotti stepped up to take the kick himself, but he was denied by seventeen year old Gianluigi Donnarumma, a player who was given his debut at Milan by - Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 20 August 2016

AC Milan v Torino Preview

Torino will kick off the 2016/17 Serie A campaign with a trip to Sinisa Mihajlovic's former club AC Milan on Sunday evening.

Toro have included a number of new signings in their squad, but Spanish winger Iago Falque misses out through injury. However, Adem Ljajic, Lorenzo De Silvestri and Luca Rossettini are all expected to start.

The Granata have a miserable recent record against AC Milan, especially at the San Siro, with their last league victory against the Rossoneri away from home coming in March 1985.

Vincenzo Montella is the new coach at AC Milan, and their supporters will be hoping that he will be the man to turn their fortunes around after years of underachievement.

Prediction
AC Milan 1-1 Torino

De Silvestri and Castan Sign

Torino have continued a busy week in the transfer market by signings defenders Lorenzo De Silvestri and Leandro Castan.

Right back De Silvestri arrives on a permanent deal from Sampdoria and has previously worked with coach Sinisa Mihajlovic at both Samp and Fiorentina.

With Nikola Maksimovic still AWOL, Toro have increased their options at centre back by capturing Brazilian defender Leandro Castan on loan from Roma. Castan was once considered one of the best centre-backs in the league whilst at Roma, but missed almost the entire 2014-15 season after undergoing brain surgery.  Now fully recovered, Castan will look to regain that form whilst wearing a Granata shirt, and has cut short a loan spell with Sampdoria in order to join the club.

There have also been a few outgoings, with defender Pontus Jansson moving to Leeds United on loan, whilst Uruguayan Gaston Silva has moved to Granada, also on loan.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Peres Departs

Torino have confirmed the departure of defender Bruno Peres as the Brazilian has joined fellow Serie A club Roma.

Peres has joined on an inital loan deal for a fee of €1 million and this deal will be made permanent in the summer for a possible total fee of €15 million.

The former Santos man signed for Toro in 2014 and will be best remembered for ending the Granata's twelve year wait for a goal in the derby against Juventus thanks to a sensational solo effort.

Toro have been busy in the transfer market today, as they also confirmed the signing of Bologna defender Luca Rossettini who has signed for a fee of €2 million.

Grazie Bruno and Benvenuto Luca!

Forza Toro

Torino 4-1 Pro Vercelli

Torino progressed through to the next round of the Coppa Italia following a convincing 4-1 victory over Serie B side Pro Vercelli.

Adem Ljajic was the only new signing to start the game, and the Serbian winger made the perfect start within ten minutes as he curled a free kick into the top corner from fully thirty yards.

Toro doubled their lead after twenty five minutes as Ljajic turned provider this time as his corner was headed home by Josef Martinez.

Six minutes after half time, Bruno Peres fired home a third goal for the Granata thanks to a powerful strike from outside the area. However, moments later the away side got a goal back thanks to a lovely volley from striker Andrea La Mantia.

In the closing stages, substitute Lucas Boyé scored the goal of the game as from twenty yards out, he flicked the ball up, before swivelling to hit a fine volley which flew into the net past Toro loanee Andrea Zaccagno.

Torino will now face Pisa in the next round of the cup after they beat fellow Serie B side Salernitana on penalties.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Torino v Pro Vercelli Preview

Torino will face Serie B side Pro Vercelli on Saturday evening in the Coppa Italia third round, in what will be Sinisa Mihajlovic's first competitive fixture in charge of the Granata.

There has been some controversy ahead of this game, as despite Mihajlovic stating that fellow Serbian Nikola Maksimovic would start the match, he was later not included in the squad. This has fuelled rumours that he could now be on his way to Napoli.

New signings Adem Ljajic, Lucas Boye, Sasa Lukic and Panagiotis Tachtsidis have all been included in the squad, as has Swedish midfielder Samuel Gustafson who only joined the club on Tuesday.

Pro Vercelli, who have been Italian champions on seven occasions - the last of which in 1921/22 - are coached by former Toro player and Primavera coach Moreno Longo. Longo has used these links with the Granata to sign youngsters Andrea Zaccagno and Claudio Morra on loan, whilst former Toro striker Dominque Malonga is also in their current squad.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Pro Vercelli

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Lukić and Tachtsidis Sign

Torino have strengthened their midfield for the upcoming season by signing midfielders Saša Lukić and Panagiotis Tachtsidis on permanent deals.

Serbian Lukić is a highly rated nineteen year old who joins Toro from Partizan Belgrad, whilst Greek international Tachtsidis returns for a second spell at the club, following a brief loan spell in the 2013/2014 season, and he joins from Genoa.

Hardworking midfielder Alessandro Gazzi has left the club after a four year spell with the Granata and has joined fellow Serie A side Palermo. 

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Torino Make Double Swoop

Torino have added to their squad ahead of the coming season by completing the signings of Roma duo Iago Falque and Adem Ljajić.

Spanish winger Falque has joined on an initial season long loan deal, although Toro will have the option to make that permanent at the end of next season.

Former Fiorentina winger Ljajić, who has worked with Toro coach Siniša Mihajlović at both the Viola and the Serbian national team has joined on a permanent deal for a club record fee.

Welcome to the club Iago and Adem!


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Glik Departs

Torino captain Kamil Glik has left the club to join French side Monaco on a four year deal for an initial fee of €11 million.

Glik joined Toro from Palermo five years ago and the committed central defender has enjoyed a number of memorable moments wearing the Granata shirt.

The Polish international was part of the squad who gained promotion to Serie A in the 2011/12 season. In the following campaign, despite receiving red cards in both fixtures against Juventus, his committed performances endeared him to the Torino supporters.

After the departure of Rolando Bianchi, Glik became Toro's first non-Italian captain since 1960 and under his leadership the Granata finished 7th in the league and qualified for Europe. The 2014-2015 season was arguably Glik's best with the club as he scored eight goals whilst also contributing defensively to memorable victories against Athletic Bilbao and Juventus.

Glik struggled to find his best form for Toro in the last season, but that could certainly be said for a number of Torino players, as the club endured an inconsistent campaign. However, Glik was one of Poland's best performers at Euro 2016, and helped his country to the the quarter finals before being eliminated on penalties by Portgual.

This move will give Glik a chance to play in the Champions League, although Monaco will have to progress through the qualifying rounds in order to reach the group stages.

Glik has posted a farewell message to the Toro fans on the official website which can be found here.

Grazie Kamil!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Ventura Departs, Mihajlović Hired

Torino have officially announced that veteran coach Giampiero Ventura has left the club, and has been replaced by former AC Milan tactician Siniša Mihajlović.

In his five year spell at the club, Ventura oversaw a number of memorable moments including promotion, a European adventure and a long awaited derby victory over Juventus.

However, despite a promising start, last season was a disappointing one for the Granata, as Toro could only manage a 12th placed finish. Therefore, with Ventura heavily linked with replacing Antonio Conte as Italy coach, his contract has been terminated by mutual consent.

Toro president Urbano Cairo has acted quickly to replace Ventura, with Siniša Mihajlović agreeing a two year deal to become the new coach.

Mihajlović was rather harshly sacked as AC Milan coach in April, and has previously been in charge of Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Catania.


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Bourne's Player Review 2015/2016

As if customary at the end of each season, I invited Toro fan and author Peter Bourne to review what has been a disappointing season from the Granata.

Daniele Padelli, age 30, 35 appearances (50 goals conceded)

Just six clean sheets all season (not entirely his fault) highlights the unexpected decline of the Toro back line. Remains a liability from free-kicks and the exceptional Padelli save is a rare sight. Thankfully his foot work has marginally improved.

2016-2017 : Contract runs down in 2017, likelihood his position will be pushed more closely next season, possibly by the returning Alfred Gomis. 

Rating: 6/10

Salvador Ichazo, age 24, 3 appearances (5 goals conceded)

Had his chance to oust Padelli indefinitely when Ventura dropped his No 1 after a home defeat against Empoli. Unconvincing displays against Frosinone, Sassuolo and Fiorentina and in his three-game Coppa Italia run out have yet to convince the club that the Uruguayan is the future.

2016-2017 : Perhaps a loan to Spain may be on the cards. Unlikely to be promoted to No 1 next season.

Rating: 5.5/10

Kamil Glik, age 28, 32 appearances (0 goals)

Following a monumental 2014-15 season, this was a fall from grace although not as disastrous as most people have pointed out. No goals following eight crucial strikes last year had an impact on results but it was Glik’s defending which regressed, noticeably a lack of concentration and a tendency to get drawn into needless fouls (ten yellow cards).

2016-2017 : Had seemed likely to leave last summer. The club may now seek to cash in on the captain. After 171 appearances, he will be missed for his commitment and instrumental role in the team’s revival. Has been a credit to the club. Destination England or Germany.

Rating: 5/10

Nikola Maksimovic, age 24, 16 appearances (0 goals)

Technically the best centre-back at the club and a player of great potential. A metatarsal injury sustained on international duty ruled him out for three months and on his return he struggled in a porous defence to to find any consistency.

2016-2017 : Would be foolish to sell Glik and Maksimovic (don’t rule it out) during the same summer. Makismovic’s value has taken a dent this year and the club may seek to rebuild his market value next year. More likely to stay than Glik. Especially now his mentor Sinisa Mihajlovic is being lined up as Ventura’s replacement.

Rating: 5/10

Gaston Silva, age 22, 12 appearances (0 goals)

17 Serie A appearances in two years is a disappointing return for the young Uruguayan. By the end of this campaign, there were small shoots of progress. Playing out of position as a left wing-back does him no favours but as a left-sided centre half has a future. Just needs to oust the evergreen Emiliano Moretti.

2016-2017 : May depend on the identity of coach and his formation. Is likely to stay and push Moretti closer for a starting birth. It will be his last call.

Rating: 5.5/10

Pontus Jansson, age 24, 7 appearances (1 goal)

For Jansson read Silva. 16 appearances in two years. While Moretti is in front of Silva, Jansson is understudy to Glik. The Swede has suffered from playing a bit part role. Is powerful and commanding but positional play and mobility issues remain unanswered. His goal in Udine was the most Kamil Glik moment of the season. Good enough to replace Glik? Doubtful.

2016-2017 : Handed a Euro 2016 call-up which was slightly surprising. He will be an interested observer of departures and arrivals but may trigger a desire for more first team football.

Rating: 5.5/10

Cesare Bovo, age 33, 21 appearances (2 goals)

First choice cover at centre-back, injuries bolstered his appearance column. Probably as consistent as any Toro defender. The free-kick specialist who never scores free-kicks managed a belting goal in the Turin derby and a crucial winner in Bergamo. Looked less composed towards the season’s close.

2016-2017 : Just one season left on his deal, unlikely to be anything more than back-up next year.

Rating: 6/10

Emiliano Moretti, age 34, 35 appearances (1 goal)

Mr Consistent, only one game skipped through injury, just four yellow cards and an Italy debut at the age of 34. Appeared infected by the defensive malaise by the spring. Still a calm, assured presence but not getting any younger.

2016-2017 : In a three-man defence will probably start next year as a regular. In a two-man defence, unlikely to be mobile enough.

Rating: 6/10

Danilo Avelar, age 26, 6 appearances (0 goals)

Left back, a position the club just can’t get right. Avelar was supposed to fill the berth in 2015-16. 195 minutes into the season a busted knee ruled him out until the New Year. Until then he had looked impressive, at least in the final third. On his return he looked unfit and unreliable and further knee trouble ruled him out for the season.

2016-2017 : Providing he returns to fitness, is definitely worth a second chance.
Rating: 5.5/10

Cristian Molinaro, age 32, 27 appearances (1 goal)

Molinaro is Molinaro. An honest enough professional who alternates between steady performances, the odd skillful run and then the brain fart in the final third. Guilty of poor game management (two red cards for quick-fire second bookings) and too many reckless penalty area interventions. That said, his goal at the San Siro worthy of respect.

2016-2017 : Contract runs down in a year. As back-up he may stay, but if Molinaro starts next year as first choice left-back we are in trouble.

Rating: 6/10

Bruno Peres, age 26, 31 appearances (3 goals)

Signed for next to nothing, he’s probably a 10-15 million euro asset. Credit to Petrachi for that. Defensively a liability and gives the ball a way in an industrial quantity, but going forward, in a team short of midfield creativity, is the key asset. Dynamic, unpredictable, commits defenders. Not as stellar as his breakthrough year, but still one of the better performers. And like Matteo Darmian a year earlier, was often forced to play out on the left.

2016-2017: Feeling is he sees himself at a Champions League club.Toro need to guard against selling all the crown jewels but personally I’d be surprised if Peres is still in granata next autumn.

Rating: 7/10

Davide Zappacosta, age 23, 25 appearances (1 goal)

I remember reading an interview with Zappacosta in his Atalanta days when he professed to being a juventino. When Toro signed him I had a few doubts about how he would settle. They remain. In his defence, Ventura rarely afforded him a consistent run of 90 minutes. In the final third he has the pace and trickery to cause defensive issues. On the other hand, his crossing is abysmal and has a tendency to get caught in possession.

2016-2017 : The theory is that this was his adaption season before he replaces Bruno Peres full-time. Still remains a theory.

Rating: 5/10

Alessandro Gazzi, age 33, 15 appearances (0 goals)
There’s a lot to like about Alessandro Gazzi. He’s hard working, reliable and gets on with it. However, he is no longer good enough for a team with aspirations of the top eight. This year seemed to mark a decline and a continued reliance on annoying tactical fouls.

2016-2017 : Looked set to move to Serie B last summer and despite having a year left on his contract, seems destined to move on.

Rating: 5.5/10

Giuseppe Vives, age 35, 31 appearances (1 goal)

At 35, the Senator is still knocking out 30 plus league appearances. For the fifth season in a row. 160 appearances now in total. There’s an argument to be said the club have failed miserably in finding an upgrade yet Vives remains one of few players capable of playing a constructive long ball and his influence on the team is crucial.

2016-2017 : One year left on his deal and every chance he’ll feature next season as the only player still on the books from the promotion campaign. One would expect he’d make fewer than 30 appearances.

Rating: 6.5/10

Daniele Baselli, age 24, 34 appearances (4 goals)
His season finished in the 67th minute against Palermo in late September. Injured, he hobbled off and missed a month. A week later Toro lost to Carpi when presented with the chance to go top of the league. Until then Baselli had delivered four goals and was arguably the best player in the league. On his return, he was an inconsistent and often anonymous. Would love to see him in a more advanced role. Doubts whether Ventura coached the skill out of him.

2016-2017 : Needs a summer off and faces a key season. We will see the Baselli who bossed midfield last autumn, or the pale cousin who featured for most of the season ?

Rating: 5.5/10

Marco Benassi, age 22, 32 appearances (3 goals)

The club acted swiftly to buy out his contract from Inter after a season of highs and lows, but largely positive. This season the one high was the stellar goal against Palermo. Has goals in him but his decision making is erratic and has a tendency to fade in games. Still bags of potential.

2016-2017 : Likely to be a key asset in midfield next season. After two seasons of finding his feet, he’ll need to assume more responsibility.

Rating: 6/10

Afriyie Acquah, age 24, 29 appearances (2 goals)

A player I really strive to like. Looked set to introduce welcome energy and verve to a stale midfield. Has provided bursts of this but too many feeble performances characterised by agricultural technique and some of the worst delivery from wide areas you’ll ever see. Needs to improve.

2016-2017 : Under a long contract and a potentially a key asset in certain type of matches but needs a coach to hone some of the raw elements in his game.

Rating: 5.5/10

Joel Obi, age 24, 10 appearances (1 goal)

Lost four months of the season through injury. Never got going in the autumn. A wild tackle (so late it could have been made in 1974) in what seems to have been a defining match against Palermo, cost him a lengthy ban too. In the spring, looked hesitant when called upon until some commanding displays (notably in Rome) which suggested a technically gifted player capable of carrying the ball.

2016-2017 : Hopefully free of injuries in 2016-17 as looks to have the skill set missing in the squad.

Rating: 6/10

Alexander Farnerud, age 32, 5 appearances (0 goals)

After two steady seasons, the Swede missed most of this one through a cruciate injury. Managed just five appearances over 90 minutes. Didn’t looked fit in any of them.

2016-2017 : Out of contract and will definitely be free to move on. Some good memories especially in the Europa League qualification campaign.

Rating: 5/10

Josef Martinez, age 22, 21 appearances (3 goals)

Finally a steady run of games once the season had nothing to offer. A fine display in Udine (when the home side failed to show up) shouldn’t mask a disappointing campaign. At times unlucky, other times imprecise, but generally unreliable in front of goal. Probably should have spent the season out on loan.

2016-2017 : Unlikely to be anything better than fourth choice again next year. Perhaps a season as a first choice in Serie B may not be a bad thing?
Rating: 5.5/10

Ciro Immobile, age 26, 14 appearances (5 goals)


Returned surprisingly and to much fanfare following the acrimonious demise of Fabio Quagliarella. Ciro was probably too eager to please. Arrived at a time when Andrea Belotti exploded, which resulted in the ex-Borussia man being pushed wider than he’d like. Created a good partnership with Belotti, provided a few exceptional performances and then limped out of the season during the Turin derby. Still has a tendency to run down dark allies with his head down.

2016-2017 : The club should do everything to sign him and form a lasting partnership with Belotti. My feeling is they’ll try and renegotiate the price and somebody else (Lazio, Napoli) may swoop in.

Rating: 6/10

Andrea Belotti, age 22, 35 appearances (12 goals)

The one breakout player this season despite scoring just once before Christmas. The arrival of Immobile coincided with Belotti finding confidence. Never stops working defenders and extremely adept at finding space in the six yard box. At 22, still raw but displays great calm from the penalty spot.

2016-2017 : Will start next season as a first choice.

Rating: 7/10

Maxi Lopez, age 32, 26 appearances (4 goals)

A wasted season from the continued public saga with his ex-wife to issues about his lifestyle and weight. If the rumours are true he weighed over 100 kilos some four months into the season then serious questions need to be raised. The third best striker on the books yet Toro are always a better team when he plays. Holds the ball up intelligently and when in the mood is a quality target man.

2016-2017 : Despite signing an extension to his contact, unlikely to be part of the squad given the way the final months of the season panned out.

Rating: 5.5/10

A mention to…. Fabio Quagliarella sold to Sampdoria after 18 bizarre months where he refused to celebrate a single goal against any of his many former clubs including the first derby winner in 20 years. The debacle at Napoli and his perceived joking with Juventus players during the 4-0 Coppa Italia defeat signalled his departure. Third choice keeper Luca Castellazzi never featured and now retires. Ukranian Vasyl Primya was offloaded to Frosinone after ten minutes of first team action. Sanjin Prcic looked timid following his arrival from Rennes but has done well enough on loan at Perugia. Amauri’s inglorious time at the club ended during the winter transfer window and given five minutes of action Simone Edera is first member of the title winning youth team to play for the first team. Too little.

Giampiero Ventura

After three positive seasons (promotion, Europa League qualification, the Europa League campaign), one so-so season (Serie A survival, albeit with an average squad), this season was undoubtedly Ventura’s worst. Is locked into a 3-5-2 formation which everyone has figured out and has shown very little tactical flexibility or evolution. Whatever the situation, he almost never sacrifices one of his three centre-backs. Too many matches were approached in a passive way, against the bigger clubs too often Toro start beaten or in awe of their opponents, and the level of football (considering the investment made) was the worst we’ve seen. An over-reliance on the counter-attack or inspiration from Bruno Peres. Ventura has done a great job, but this year’s he has given the impression of going through the motions. Time to move on Ace. Destination Azzurri.

5/10

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, 16 May 2016

Empoli 2-1 Torino

Torino ended the season in disappointing fashion as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Empoli on Sunday evening.

Kamil Glik, Emiliano Moretti and Joel Obi all returned for Toro who still had hopes of finishing in the top ten.

However those hopes were dashed after only twelve minutes when Massimo Maccarone gave the home side the lead with a fierce strike from just outside the area.

Toro dominated the game after that set back, and Davide Zappacosta and Josef Martinez both hit the cross bar with long range efforts.

Empoli doubled their lead nine minutes into the second half as Piotr Zielinski capitalised on an error from Bruno Peres to score.

However, Toro reduced the deficit two minutes later when Joel Obi headed home Davide Zappacosta's excellent cross.

However, the Granata could not find what would have been a deserved equalised, and therefore suffered a seventeenth defeat of what has been a frustrating season.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Empoli v Torino Preview

Torino will end what has been a largely disappointing season when they face Empoli in the final game of the season on Sunday evening.

Toro will be without Giuseppe Vives and Cesare Bovo who are both suspended, so Kamil Glik and Alessandro Gazzi should come into the team.

Elsewhere, Ciro Immobile should start to boost his hopes of getting into the Italy squad ahead of Euro 2016.

Empoli have had a decent season and would finish above Toro if they manage to win, however have been dealt a blow by the news that coach Marco Giampaolo will be leaving the club after this game.

Prediction
Empoli 1-2 Torino

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Torino 1-2 Napoli

Torino fell to their seventh home defeat of a disappointing season as they were beaten 2-1 by Napoli on Sunday evening.

Giampiero Ventura picked the same starting eleven who had thrashed Udinese last weekend, although Ciro Immobile was fit enough for a place on the bench.

Napoli took the lead on twelve minutes when Marek Hamsik played in Gonzalo Higuain who finished past Daniele Padelli to score his thirty-third league goal of what has been an excellent campaign for the Argentine.

That lead was doubled less than ten minutes later, and Hamsik was once again the provider as his low cross was tapped home by Jose Callejon.

Higuian almost added a third before half time, but his curling shot from just outside the box rebounded off the post.

After a change in approach at half time, Toro came back into the game in the second half, and pulled a goal back through Bruno Peres whose unconventional finish was enough to deceive Pepe Reina.

Ciro Immobile made his return from injury with twelve minutes remaining but Toro were unable to find an equaliser and to cap off a miserable night, Giuseppe Vives was dismissed for a second yellow card in injury time.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Torino v Napoli Preview

Torino will be looking to end the season on a high note when they face Napoli in their last home game of the campaign on Sunday evening.

Pontus Jansson should retain his place in defence following his impressive display at Udinese last weekend, whilst Ciro Immobile has returned to the squad following injury.

Napoli are two points ahead of Roma in the race for 2nd place, which would ensure qualification for the group stages of the Champions League - so they will certainly arrive in Turin looking for three points.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Napoli

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Udinese 1-5 Torino

Torino produced one of their best performances of the season as they thrashed Udinese 5-1 on Saturday evening.

Toro started without their first choice centre backs so Cesare Bovo, Pontus Jansson and Gaston Silva all started.

The Granata were thankful for a smart save from Daniele Padelli in the early stages, as the Toro keeper reacted quickly to deny Ryder Matos from close range.

The home side were made to pay for that early miss, as moments later Torino took the lead when Gaston Silva's corner was headed home by Pontus Jansson.

Toro doubled their lead on the stroke of half time as Udinese failed to clear their lines, and were punished by Afriyie Acquah who pounced on the loose ball before smashing it into the top corner.

Udinese reduced the arrears with only two minutes gone in the second half as Bruno Fernandes crossed for Felipe, who looped his header beyond Padelli.

However, Toro re-established their two goal lead three minutes later when Josef Martinez showed outstanding composure to run clear, cut back on his left foot, and finish beyond Orestis Karnezis.

Torino added a fourth on the counter attack when Andrea Belotti ran from inside his own area before finishing well beyond Karnezis from a difficult angle.

With less than ten minutes remaining, Martinez capitilised on a mistake from the Udinese defence to score his second of the game to cap a remarkable performance from the Granata.

Forza Toro!

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Udinese v Torino Preview

After two successive defeats, Torino will look to end the season on a high when they travel to Udine on Saturday evening.

Toro will be without Joel Obi who was injured in the warm up last weekend against Sassuolo, whilst Maxi Lopez could be available to start after featuring in the closing stages of that match.

The home side probably need one more win to guarantee their Serie A status, and have been impressive at home recently - beating Napoli and Fiorentina in the past month.

Prediction
Udinese 1-1 Torino

Monday, 25 April 2016

Torino 1-3 Sassuolo

The party atmosphere at the newly renamed Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino was ruined by visitors Sassuolo who ran out 3-1 winners on Sunday afternoon.

Joel Obi, who was so impressive in the narrow defeat at Roma, was injured in the warm up so Afriyie Acquah started in his place.

The away side took the lead with only two minutes on the clock when Alfred Duncan's cross was headed home by Nicola Sansone.

However, Toro were level just five minutes later after a swift counter attack that was started by Daniele Baselli, and finished by Bruno Peres - who has now scored in consecutive home games.

Torino should have gone into the break in the lead, but Josef Martinez hit the bar when one on one with Andrea Consigli.

Andrea Belotti had Toro's best chance of the second half, but he blazed over the bar after good work from his strike partner Martinez.

And the Granata were made to pay for that miss when Domenico Berardi's corner was headed home by former Juve defender Federico Peluso with fifteen minutes remaining.

Sassuolo made the scoreline even more convincing with the last kick of the game, as former Fulham striker Marcello Trotta broke clear before finishing past Daniele Padelli.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Torino v Sassuolo Preview

Torino will look to rebound after their late defeat against Roma when they face Sassuolo at the newly renamed Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on Sunday afternoon.

After an online petition by Toro supporters, the local council have agreed to honour Torino's greatest ever team by renaming the stadium after the side who tragically died in the Superga air crash.

Toro will be without the injured Nikola Maksimovic so Cesare Bovo should return, whilst youngster Simone Edera keeps his place in the squad.

Sassuolo are currently in 7th place and have enjoyed another good season under coach Eusebio Di Francesco, but have only won one of their last six matches.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Sassuolo

Friday, 22 April 2016

Roma 3-2 Torino

Torino slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Roma on Wednesday evening, as the home side were thankful for a memorable contribution from captain Francesco Totti.

Nikola Maksimovic, Gaston Silva and Alessandro Gazzi all came into the side, whilst Andrea Belotti continued to partner Josef Martinez up front. 

It was the Venezuelan striker Martinez who had the first chance of the game, as he received Bruno Peres' pass on his chest, flicked the ball past Kostas Manolas, but then blazed his volley high over the bar.

Toro were continuing to create chances, and this time it was the inform Andrea Belotti whose long range shot hit the post.

Ten minutes before the break, Torino were awarded a penalty when Kostas Manolas was penalised for pulling back Belotti in the area. The former Palermo man sent Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way to give Toro a deserved half time lead. 

With twenty-five minutes remaining, Kostas Manolas made amends for his earlier error by heading home Diego Perotti's corner to equalise. 

However, with ten minutes remaining a well worked move by the Granata culminated in Josef Martinez tapping home Bruno Peres' cross - and the former Young Boys striker finally scored his first goal of this season.

The home side needed divine intervention, and with five minutes remaining Luciano Spalletti bought on Roma captain Francesco Totti, in what could be his final season with the club.

Within twenty-two seconds Roma got the intervention they were looking for, as Totti got the final touch on a Miralem Pjanic free kick to equalise.

With the Stadio Olimpico now rocking, the home side side were awarded a controversial penalty moments later, as Nikola Maksimovic was adjudged to have handled Perotti's cross.

Francesco Totti stepped up to take the penalty, which narrowly beat Daniele Padelli but remarkably the Roma captain had now had two touches and scored two goals.

Giampiero Ventura threw on Primavera product Simone Edera in the dying seconds in search of an equaliser, but it was not to be. Despite an impressive performance, Toro fell to defeat on a night that belonged to one man - Francesco Totti.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Roma v Torino Preview

After three successive wins, Torino will travel to Rome on Wednesday evening with renewed confidence.

With Maxi Lopez still out with a fever, Giampiero Ventura has called up strikers Simone Edera and Leonardo Candellone from the Primavera side to act as cover for Andrea Belotti and Josef Martinez.

Edera has scored eleven goals in twenty-eight games at youth level this season, whilst Candellone has twelve goals in thirty-two matches.

Roma are currently on a twelve match unbeaten run, but have drawn their last two matches which may give the Granata hope of causing an upset.

Prediction
Roma 2-0 Torino

Monday, 18 April 2016

Bologna 0-1 Torino

Andrea Belotti's stoppage time penalty was enough for Torino to claim all three points at the Stadio Renato Dell'Ara on Saturday afternoon.

Maxi Lopez was not available, so Belotti was partnered in attack by Josef Martinez, whilst Joel Obi retained his place in midfield.

It was Martinez who had Toro's first chance of the game, but his low shot from outside the area was well saved by Antonio Mirante. 

Chances were few and far between in the Bologna sun, but mid-way through the second half, former Juve man Emanuele Giaccherini saw his shot hit the base of the post and roll clear of danger. 

In injury time, Josef Martinez came close to scoring his long-awaited first goal of the season, but the Venezuelan's shot went wide of the far post. 

However, the drama was still to come as in the third minute of injury time, Andrea Belotti was tripped in the area by Luca Rossettini and the referee awarded a penalty.

Belotti stepped up to take the penalty himself, and he sent Mirante the wrong way to give Toro all three points.

Forza Toro

Friday, 15 April 2016

Bologna v Torino Preview

Torino will look to win three successive league games for the first time this season when they face Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Saturday evening. 

Andrea Belotti is expected to be rested so Josef Martinez could get a rare start, whilst Afriyie Acquah's injury could allow Marco Benassi and Daniele Baselli to both start. 

Bologna ended their run of three successive defeats with a surprise draw against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday, but the Rossoblu have not won in seven games.

Prediction
Bologna 1-1 Torino

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Torino 2-1 Atalanta

Torino clinched their first home win since January after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Atalanta on Sunday afternoon.

Captain Kamil Glik returned to the starting eleven following suspension, whilst Joel Obi was surprisingly preferred to both Marco Benassi and Daniele Baselli in midfield.

Atalanta made the better start and Boukary Drame and Mauricio Pinilla both had great chances for the away side to take the lead.

However, ten minutes before half time, an exquisite Afriyie Acquah pass found Bruno Peres, and the Brazilian fired the ball into the top corner for his first goal of the season.

Less than a minute into the second half, Toro doubled their lead when an error from Atalanta defender Guglielmo Stendardo was capitalised on by Maxi Lopez who finished calmly.

With less than ten minutes remaining Luca Cigarini's free kick ensured a nervy ending for Toro, but the Granata held on to claim a second successive vctory.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Torino v Atalanta Preview

Torino will look to earn their first home victory since January when they face Atalanta on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata will be buoyed by their surprise victory over Inter last weekend, and will have captain Kamil Glik available after suspension.

Atalanta have won their last two games under former Toro coach Edy Reja, but have only won two away games all season - the last of which was a shock win against Roma in November.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Atalanta

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Inter 1-2 Torino

Torino finally end their long run without a victory thanks to an impressive 2-1 victory over nine men Inter on Sunday evening.

Inter were awarded a controversial penalty after only seventeen minutes when Marcelo Brozovic's shot hit the arm of Emiliano Moretti who had attempted to block the shot.

Mauro Icardi stepped up and his powerful effort beat Daniele Padelli from 12 yards to give the home side the lead.

Toro were level ten minutes into the 2nd half after excellent hold up play from Maxi Lopez allowed the Argentine to feed Cristian Molinaro who scored a rare goal with his right foot.

Moments after that goal Inter were reduced to ten men when defender Miranda was dismissed for a second yellow card. Despite that setback, Inter almost took the lead through Icardi's close range header, but he was denied by an excellent save from Padelli.

With less than twenty minutes remaining, Yuto Nagatomo was adjudged to have fouled Andrea Belotti in the area and as the Japanese international was the last man he was also given his marching orders.

Belotti stepped up and sent penalty saving expert Samir Handanovic the wrong way to give Toro the lead.

The Granata had more chances on the counter attack to extend their lead, with Daniele Baselli coming the closest but his effort hit the post late on. The score remained 2-1 as Toro claimed a much needed victory, and their second successive win against Inter at the San Siro.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Inter v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to the San Siro hoping for a repeat of last year's dramatic victory when Emiliano Moretti's scored in injury time.

With Toro just five points above the bottom three, the Granata need points quickly to ease any relegation fears. That task will be made more difficult by the fact that Kamil Glik is suspended whilst Afriyie Acquah and Ciro Immobile are both injured.

The home side are in good form and have won their last four league games at the San Siro and need points if they are to maintain their challenge for a top 3 finish.

Prediction
Inter 2-1 Torino