Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Torino v AC Milan Preview

Torino will look to keep their slim Europa League hopes alive when they face AC Milan at the Stadio Grande Torino on Wednesday evening.

M'Baye Niang has returned to the Granata squad and could face his former team, whilst Kevin Bonifazi, Antonio Barreca and Joel Obi could come into the team that started the draw against Chievo.

AC Milan look rejuvenated under the management of Rino Gattuso, however they have not won in four Serie A games, drawing the last three.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 AC Milan

Chievo 0-0 Torino

Torino were unable to win a fourth consecutive match on Saturday evening as they were held to a 0-0 draw with Chievo on Saturday afternoon.

Walter Mazzarri made just one change, as Tomas Rincon returned from suspension and came straight back into the starting eleven at the expense of Joel Obi.

Nicolas Burdisso almost had an embarrassing moment, just days after his 37th birthday, as his back header almost looped over Salvatore Sirigu, but the former PSG goalkeeper was able to prevent an own goal.

At the other end, Cristian Ansaldi bamboozled the home defence and was unlucky to see his left footed shot rebound off the post. Andrea Belotti also had a great chance for the Granata, but the Toro captain dragged his shot wide of the target.

In the second half, Mattia Bani headed over the bar from a set piece as Chievo started to threaten the Toro goal. Fabrizio Cacciatore also managed to somehow blaze over the bar after Salvatore Sirigu failed to claim a cross.

In the dying minutes, Mattia Bani received a straight red card for a late challenge on substitute Kevin Bonifazi. However, Toro could not make the numerical advantage count and were forced to settle for a point.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Chievo v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Verona in search of a romantic story of their own, as they look for a fourth consecutive victory to stay in race for Europa League qualification.

Tomas Rincon has returned from suspension, although Adem Ljajic is a doubt and could miss out through injury.

Opponents Chievo are in a relegation battle this campaign and are only two points above the bottom three. However, they have won two of their last three home matches, including a surprise win over Sampdoria so will be tough opposition.

Prediction
Chievo 1-2 Torino

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Torino 1-0 Inter

Torino won a third consecutive game for the first time this season as they beat Inter 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.

As expected, Nicolas N'Koulou returned to the starting eleven whilst Joel Obi replaced the suspended Tomas Rincon.

Inter thought they had taken the lead in the early moments, but Salvatore Sirigu made a sensational save to tip Mauro Icardi's volley over the bar.

The away side were enjoying the majority of possession, and Croatian winger Ivan Perisic also came close, but his header hit the bar.

Ten minutes before half time, Toro took the lead against the run of play, as Perisic inadvertently played the ball into the path of Lorenzo De Silvestri who crossed for Adem Ljajic to score.

In the second half, it was Samir Handanovic's turn to make a miraculous save as he denied Lorenzo De Silvestri's acrobatic effort.

Adem Ljajic also had an opportunity to double Toro's lead, and perhaps should have crossed for Andrea Belotti who was better placed.

Nicolas N'Koulou enhanced his reputation by making an excellent goal line clearance to deny Miranda's header, whilst Rafinha saw his volley rebound off the post.

Torino held on for a hard fought victory to keep their slim chances of Europa League qualification alive for another week at least.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Torino v Inter Preview

Torino face Inter on Sunday afternoon looking to achieve a third successive victory to keep their slight Europa League hopes on track. 

Toro will be without the suspended Tomas Rincon so Afriyie Acquah should deputise whilst Nicolas N'Koulou could replace Kevin Bonifazi in the back three.

Inter are unbeaten in their last five and are hoping for a positive result to ensure qualification for next season's Champions League. 

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Inter


Friday, 6 April 2018

Torino 4-1 Crotone

Torino won successive games for only the second time this season following a convincing 4-1 victory over Crotone.

Kevin Bonifazi made his first start of the season, whilst Adem Ljajic made his first start under Walter Mazzarri's management.

Toro took the lead after only sixteen minutes when captain Andrea Belotti found the net from a corner, despite Alex Cordaz saving his initial effort.

The Granata doubled their lead four minutes later as Iago Falque finished well from just outside the area.

Torino added a third goal ten minutes before half time, as Adem Ljajic's excellent free kick was diverted goal wards by Andrea Belotti.

Crotone should have had a goal back before half time, but Simy's close range header hit the bar.

With twenty minutes remaining, Andrea Belotti completed his hat trick following a cool finish after an assist by Iago Falque.

Toro were denied consecutive 4-0 victories in the dying seconds, as Nicolas Burdisso's missed interception allowed Davide Faraoni to score.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Torino v Crotone Preview

Torino will face Crotone on Wednesday evening looking for back to back victories for only the second time this season.

Toro's inconsistent campaign is highlighted by the fact the Granata have not won consecutive Serie A games since September, and that was only thanks to Iago Falque's injury time winner at Benevento.

Despite losing four of their last five matches, Toro could move to within five points of the final Europa League spot with a victory. Nicolas N'Koulou has recovered from the injury that forced him off at half time against Cagliari, whilst Adem Ljajic is in line to make his first start under Walter Mazzarri.

Like Toro, Crotone have lost four of their last five, although that win was an impressive 4-1 victory against Sampdoria who currently occupy the final European place.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Crotone

Cagliari 0-4 Torino

Torino ended a run of four successive defeats with a surprise 4-0 victory over Cagliari on Saturday afternoon.

The Granata lined up in a 3-5-2 formation for the first time this season , with Iago Falque supporting Andrea Belotti in attack.

Toro had the first chance of the match, but Daniele Baselli somehow missed the target from close range after good work from Tomas Rincon.

At the other end, Alessandro Deiola should have given the home side the lead but he blazed over the bar from close range. Former Juventus man Simone Padoin should have done better when through on goal, but he was denied by Salvatore Sirigu.

The turning point arrived ten minutes after half time as Adem Ljajic replaced Afriyie Acquah and Toro switched to a more adventurous 3-4-1-2 formation. The impact was almost immediate as Andrea Belotti inadvertently set up Iago Falque to score, after the Toro captain's own shot hit the post and then ricocheted off him and into the path of Falque.

That bit of luck is what Toro had been missing in recent weeks, and Ljajic soon added a second with a smart finish.

Cristian Ansaldi added a third as the Argentine scored his first Toro goal from just inside the area, whilst Andrea Belotti set up substitute Joel Obi to score a VAR assisted fourth goal in the dying moments.

Forza Toro

Friday, 30 March 2018

Cagliari v Torino Preview

After four successive defeats, Torino travel to Sardinia to face Cagliari desperately in need of a victory.

Walter Mazzarri is expected to change to a 3-5-2 formation to improve the Granata's fortunes, whilst Daniele Baselli should return to the starting eleven following illness.

Cagliari are safely in mid table and should have no worries about a relegation battle, despite having only won one of their last five Serie A games, which was a fortnight ago against Benevento.

Prediction
Cagliari 1-1 Torino

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Fans frustrated as Toro lose again

The atmosphere in the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday afternoon was a strange one, even before the match with Fiorentina kicked off.

The fixture against Fiorentina is usually a surreal match, and has been described as a 'festival of friendship' due to the gemellaggio (twinning) between the two sets of supporters due to their mutual dislike of Juventus, never has the saying 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' been more apt.

However, the atmosphere on Sunday was different. This was in part due to the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori two weeks ago, which meant that there was a sombre mood around the stadium, and Torino ultras paraded a 'ciao Davide' banner before kick off  that was well received by the travelling Fiorentina supporters.


There was also seeds of discontent amongst the home supporters who were unhappy at how their season has derailed in recent weeks. After a promising start to Walter Mazzarri's reign as Toro coach, where the Granata picked up an impressive eleven points out of a possible fifteen the Granata had lost three consecutive games prior to this match.

Mazzarri's unbeaten record as Toro coach ended with a 1-0 home defeat to Juventus in mid-February, and despite their impressive form, the timid performance of Torino in that match was heavily criticised. Former Torino striker Marco Ferrante questioned the teams 'courage' as the players almost seemed content with a narrow defeat in a match that is, for the supporters at least, the most important of the season. 

Defeats against Hellas Verona and Roma followed and the Torino supporters unveiled a number of banners criticising both the players and club ahead of the Fiorentina match. 

Copyright : ToroNews.net
'You only think about money and on the pitch you don't fight anymore' one of the banners read and the team were greeted onto the pitch with whistles and jeers at the beginning of the second half after a disappointing first half performance.

Sometimes it takes an outsider's view to gain some perspective on a situation, and I attended Sunday's match with my girlfriend, who despite disliking football, reluctantly agreed to attend her first ever live match. Upon hearing the jeers of the Maratona she rhetorically asked 'well that's not going to help the players is it?'

Whilst I was in total agreement with her, I could also understand the frustrations of the Toro supporters who had decided to protest. Toro currently find themselves in Serie A purgatory, where they are not good enough to qualify for Europe but are also too good to find themselves in a relegation battle, so they find themselves in mid-table, with little to aim for. 

Supporters would probably accept mid-table mediocrity as long as it was combined with entertaining football, young talents being given opportunities and the odd impressive victory over top six opponents, however, Toro have not been able to provide this either. Talented youngsters such as Kevin Bonifazi, Antonio Barreca and Simone Edera are having their progress stifled by more experienced players who continue to under perform. In addition, Toro have also only beaten one top ten opponent all season, and that was a Lazio team who had Ciro Immobile harshly sent off before half time. 

Whilst teams with similar wage budgets such as Atalanta and Sampdoria are troubling the established elite, Toro are left wondering what might have been. When Sinisa Mihajlovic was sacked in January and replaced by Walter Mazzarri, this was seen as a move to try and re-energise the clubs target of European football. However, Torino did not reinforce their squad at all in the January transfer window, despite there being obvious areas in which improvement was needed.

It is fair to say that luck has also not been on Toro's side this season, captain Andrea Belotti has struggled to replicate last season's excellent form and has suffered with a number of injuries. As has promising Brazilian defender Lyanco who has rarely been able to partner the outstanding Nicolas N'Koulou in the heart of the Toro defence. Speaking of whom, the Cameroon international has been a rare positive in this disappointing campaign, and sporting director Gianluca Petrachi must prioritise retaining his services on a permanent basis in the summer. 

After another disappointing performance on Sunday, Toro fell to a fourth consecutive defeat to all but end their chances of European qualification, and if performances do not improve, the protests may not end there.  

Forza Toro

Torino 1-2 Fiorentina

Torino produced their worst performance of the season as they fell to a fourth consecutive defeat at home to Fiorentina.

Walter Mazzarri made one change from the team who were beaten at Roma as Mirko Valdifiori replaced Daniele Baselli who missed out with flu.

It was a chaotic opening few minutes, as Fiorentina were awarded a penalty when Giovanni Simeone went down in the area under a challenge from Emiliano Moretti, however this decision was reversed after consulting VAR.

However, moments later, Fiorentina were awarded a penalty, as Lorenzo De Silvestri handled Cristiano Biraghi's shot. Despite initially being turned down by referee Claudio Gavillucci, the Viola's appeal went to VAR and they were eventually awarded a penalty. However, Salvatore Sirigu saved Jordan Veretout's weak effort.

Toro were struggling to get going and create chances, although Nicolas N'Koulou did have a half chance from a corner.

Fiorentina took the lead on the hour mark as Afriyie Acquah lost the ball in his own half and Jordan Veretout atoned for his earlier penalty miss by curling the ball past Sirigu. Adem Ljajic came on to make a rare appearance as a substitute to try and create an equalise, and the Serbian did just that.

Five minutes before full time, Ljajic's clever free kick was converted by Andrea Belotti to equalise for Toro.

However, the drama did not end there, and in injury time, another handball decision went to VAR after initially being turned down by Gavillucci who was having a miserable afternoon. VAR adjudged that Cristian Ansaldi did handle Biraghi's cross and Fiorentina were awarded their second penalty of the game.

Substitute Cyril Thereau made no mistake and converted the spot kick to earn Fiorentina all three points and to finally end Toro's hopes of European qualification, with the Granata now eight points away from 7th place with only ten games remaining.

Forza Toro

Friday, 16 March 2018

Torino v Fiorentina Preview

Torino will try and end a run of three successive defeats when they face Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon.

Toro had an improved performance in their last match against Roma, particularly in the first half, but were disappointing after conceding the first goal.

M'Baye Niang could return to the starting eleven, whilst Nicolas Burdisso has returned from suspension.

This fixture is bound to be an emotional affair, following the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori only two weeks ago. Fiorentina come into this match in good form, having won three of their last five games, including a narrow 1-0 victory over Benevento last weekend.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Fiorentina

Monday, 12 March 2018

Roma 3-0 Torino

Torino lost a third successive game as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against Champions League contenders Roma on Friday night.

Alex Berenguer and Daniele Baselli both came into the starting eleven, in place of M'Baye Niang and Joel Obi.

Toro were the better side in the first half, and Roma keeper Alisson had to make a great save to tip Iago Falque's low shot round the post. Falque then turned provided as his excellent cross found Andrea Belotti, he somehow blazed the ball over the bar.

The Granata were continuing to create chances, as they recovered the ball inside the Roma half and Afriyie Acquah forced another save out of Alisson.

Roma took the lead ten minutes into the second half as Kostas Manolas headed home Alessandro Florenzi's excellent cross. Toro struggled to react after going a goal behind, and with less than twenty minutes remaining, Roma doubled their lead as Daniele De Rossi reacted quickest as Toro failed to clear a free kick.

In injury time, Roma added a third goal through substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini which was harsh on Toro, especially considering their promising first half performance.

Forza Toro

Friday, 9 March 2018

Roma v Torino Preview

Torino will look to win at the Stadio Olimpico for the third time this season as they face Roma on Friday evening.

Toro have already knocked Roma out of the Coppa Italia, whilst they also shocked city rivals Lazio 3-1 in the same stadium after Ciro Immobile received a first half red card.

The Granata have not played for a fortnight after their home match against Crotone was postponed following the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori.

Roma come into this match in good form,  after beating league leaders Napoli 4-2 at the San Paolo last Saturday - although Edin Dzeko is suspended for this game.

Prediction
Roma 2-2 Torino

Friday, 2 March 2018

Hellas Verona 2-1 Torino

Torino fell to a second successive defeat as they lost to relegation threatened Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon.

M'Baye Niang returned to the starting eleven, whilst Afriyie Acquah was preferred to Daniele Baselli in midfield.

Toro made a poor start and were behind after only twelve minutes as Mattia Valoti headed home from a corner. The Granata failed to have a shot on target in the first half, with only Niang and captain Andrea Belotti even having half chances.

Toro were level four minutes into the second half as a rapid counter attack involving the front three culminated in Niang firing past Nicolas in the Hellas Verona goal.

Nicolas N'Koulou had a great chance to give Toro the lead, but the defender blazed the ball over the bar when well placed. Somewhat against the run of play, Hellas took the lead with thirteen minutes left, as Mattia Valoti scored his second of the game, reacting quickest after Salvatore Sirigu parried Bruno Petkovic's initial effort.

Toro could not find a equaliser so fell to a second successive defeat, and with Sampdoria and AC Milan both winning, the Granata are now eight points away from the Europa League places.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Hellas Verona v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Verona on Sunday afternoon aiming to get back to winning ways after a disappointing performance in the Derby Della Mole last weekend.

Toro will be without Cristian Molinaro who suffered an injury in training this week, so Antonio Barreca could return to the starting eleven. Brazilian defender Lyanco has also returned to the squad after his own injury problems.

Hellas Verona are currently in the bottom three and are desperate for points having lost 7 of their last 8 matches. However, Hellas did pick up a surprise 4-1 away victory at Fiorentina last month.

In the reverse fixture back in October, Toro threw away a two goal lead in the dying minutes to draw 2-2, so the Granata must be wary.

Prediction
Hellas Verona 1-2 Torino

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Torino 0-1 Juventus

Torino's miserable Derby Della Mole record continued on Sunday afternoon as the Granata fell to a 1-0 defeat.

As expected, Walter Mazzarri chose to reinforce the midfield with Cristian Ansaldi coming into a 4-1-4-1 formation, and M'Baye Niang dropping to the bench.

The away side were dealt an early blow when Gonzalo Higuain was forced off the field with an injury after an innocuous clash with Salvatore Sirigu.

At the other end, Toro were struggling to create clear cut chances, but Andrea Belotti and Lorenzo De Silvestri did have half chances. Just after the half hour mark, Juventus did take the lead as Federico Bernardeschi crossed for Alex Sandro to convert.

In the second half, substitute Paulo Dybala should have doubled Juventus' lead on two occasions, but the Argentine striker clipped his shot wide of the target and then blazed over the crossbar when well placed.

Toro were once again unable to seriously test the Juventus backline, and whilst Iago Falque did manage a shot on target, it was easily saved by Wojciech Szczęsny as Torino were defeated by their rivals once again.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Torino v Juventus Preview

Torino will host neighbours Juventus in the Derby Della Mole hoping for only a second derby victory since 1995.

Toro's last win in this fixture came just under three years ago as the Granata came from behind to win thanks to goals from Matteo Darmian and Fabio Quagliarella. However, Torino did come close to beating Juve away from home last season, although were denied by Gonzalo Higuian's late equaliser.

Walter Mazzarri is expected to utilise a 4-3-1-2 formation like he did to good effect against Sampdoria a fortnight ago, and that may mean that M'Baye Niang drops to the bench.

Juventus are in imperious domestic form, having won eight consecutive games, and have kept clean sheets in their last five Serie A matches. However, Tuesday's Champions League game against Tottenham showed that Juve can be vulnerable, as 'The Old Lady' threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2.

Forza Toro

Monday, 12 February 2018

Torino 2-0 Udinese

Walter Mazzarri maintained his unbeaten start, and 100% home record as Torino coach with a 2-0 victory over Udinese on Sunday afternoon.

Andrea Belotti returned to the starting eleven as Toro reverted to a 4-3-3 formation, with M'Baye Niang and Iago Falque completing the front three.

Toro almost took the lead in the early stages, but Iago Falque's wide free kick rebounded of the crossbar. Nicolas Burdisso also came close to scoring, but the Argentine saw his header cleared off the line.

Torino then had a lucky escape as Antonin Barak thought he had given Udinese the lead, but after consultation with VAR, the goal was disallowed.

Just after the half hour mark, Toro took the lead as Falque's corner was met by an excellent glancing header from Nicolas N'Koulou.

The Granata doubled their lead mid-way through the second half thanks to Andrea Belotti's sensational solo effort. The Toro captain ran from inside his own half before beating two Udinese defenders before finishing past Albano Bizzarri in the Udinese goal.

Daniele Baselli missed a great chance to extend Toro's lead, but Torino held on for a third successive home victory since Mazzarri replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Forza Toro 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Torino v Udinese Preview

Torino will look to maintain their unbeaten record under coach Walter Mazzarri when they host Udinese at the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday afternoon.

Afriyie Acquah will miss out due to suspension after being sent off against Sampdoria last weekend, whilst captain Andrea Belotti is now fully fit and should start.

Udinese have been one of the form teams in Serie A since Massimo Oddo took charge in November, however the Zebrette have only won one of their last five matches.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Udinese

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Sampdoria 1-1 Torino

Walter Mazzarri kept his unbeaten record as Torino head coach in tact as ten man Toro earned an impressive point against Sampdoria.

Mazzarri changed formation for this game as the Granata lined up in a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Afriyie Acquah replacing Alex Berenguer in the starting eleven.

Toro had a great chances to take the lead in the opening moments, but Iago Falque's shot was blocked by Nicola Murru. The home side then took the lead after only eleven minutes thanks to Lucas Torreira's clever free kick. The Uruguayan midfielder drilled the ball into the Sampdoria players in the wall, who ducked, and unsighted Toro keeper Salvatore Sirigu.

Toro equalised less than fifteen minutes later thanks to Afriyie Aquah's deflected shot from outside the area.

In the second half, Tomas Rincon tested one-time Toro target Emiliano Viviano with a volley from just outside the area. With seventeen minutes remaining, Afriyie Acquah was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Torreira.

However, despite being down to ten men, Toro were continuing to create chances, and after a quickly taken free kick, substitute Andrea Belotti went through on goal but blazed over the bar.

Sampdoria came close to clinching all three points thanks to Valerio Verre's long range strike, but Sirigu tipped it over the bar to earn Toro a deserved point.

Forza Toro

Friday, 2 February 2018

Sampdoria v Torino Preview

Walter Mazzarri will return to former club Sampdoria looking to maintain his unbeaten record as Torino coach.

Mazzarri enjoyed a successful two year spell in charge of Samp as he guided them to a 6th placed finish and a Coppa Italia final.

Andrea Belotti could return to the starting eleven after he returned from injury against Benevento, whilst Simone Edera also returns to the squad.

Sampdoria have enjoyed another impressive under coach Marco Giampaolo and are currently in 6th place, five points ahead of Toro. Their home record is also an intimidating one, having won eight of their eleven fixtures at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Prediction
Sampdoria 2-1 Torino

Torino 3-0 Benevento

Torino made it seven points in three games since Walter Mazzarri took charge as they beat 10 man Benevento 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

Mazzarri once again named an unchanged starting eleven, although Andrea Belotti was fit enough for a place on the bench.

Toro made the perfect start and were ahead after only three minutes when Alex Berenguer's cross found fellow countryman Iago Falque who headed home.

Despite the early goal, Benevento were the better team and had chances to equalise through Massimo Coda and Guilherme. However, the turning point of the game occurred in a strange incident ten minutes before half time when visiting goalkeeper Vid Belec was shown a straight red card.

Belec was initially impeded from releasing the ball to start a counter attack by M'Baye Niang, and the Slovenian keeper reacted by kicking out Niang, leaving the referee with little option but to send him off.

Niang showed no ill effects of his altercation with Belec, as only moments later, he doubled Torino's lead with a well-taken goal. Toro added a third goal on the stroke of half time (after a VAR review), as Joel Obi was on hand to score after Lorenzo De Silvestri's original header was parried.

Daniele Baselli and Iago Falque both had excellent chances to extend the Granata's lead in the second half, whilst Andrea Belotti also made his return from injury for the last half an hour but Toro settled for a 3-0 victory.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Torino v Benevento Preview


Torino host Benevento on Sunday afternoon as Walter Mazzarri looks to maintain his unbeaten record as Toro coach.

The Granata won the reverse fixture back in September thanks to Iago Falque's late winner, although Benevento have improved since then, and finally earned their first Serie A victory in December against Chievo. However, the Stregoni have lost all ten of their Serie A away games.

Former Toro striker Vittorio Parigini could face his old team, whilst Andrea Belotti has returned from injury and could make an appearance off the bench.

Prediction
Torino 3-1 Benevento

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Sassuolo 1-1 Torino

Torino were lucky escape from Reggio Emilia with a point after a disappointing second half performance against Sassuolo on Sunday afternoon.

Walter Mazzarri named an unchanged team from the eleven who started against Bologna in his first game in charge.

The home side should have taken the lead early on, but Diego Falcinelli somehow managed to head wide from close range. Sassuolo were made to pay for that miss, as mid-way through the first half Toro took the lead.

After the Sassuolo defence failed to clear a Alex Berenguer free kick, the ball ricocheted to Joel Obi who swept home from close range.

Salvatore Sirigu made good saves from Domenico Berardi and Antonino Ragusa before the break but Toro went in at half time in front.

Sassuolo equalised ten minutes after half time as Berardi controlled a long pass before curling an excellent shot into the far corner. The neroverdi should have then taken the lead, but substitute Alessandro Matri somehow missed the target from only two yards out.

Toro were holding on, and despite Walter Mazzarri bringing on Emiliano Moretti and switching to a 3-5-2 formation, Sassuolo were still creating chances, as defender Federico Peluso hit the post.

Iago Falque had the best chance to win the game for Toro, but his shot from just inside the area went wide, and Toro had to settle for a point.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Sassuolo v Torino Preview

Walter Mazzarri will look to continue his 100% record as Torino coach when they travel to Sassuolo on Sunday afternoon.

Mazzarri enjoyed an impressive start to his Toro career a fortnight ago thanks to a 3-0 win against Bologna, and the winter break will have given the experienced coach more time to work with his new players.

Joel Obi is fit for selection, despite being injured in the game against Bologna, therefore Mazzarri may choose to stick with the same starting eleven from that game.

Sassuolo have been in good form in recent weeks, winning three of their last five matches, although they did lose 1-0 to Genoa in their last game.

Prediction
Sassuolo 1-2 Torino

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Torino 3-0 Bologna

Walter Mazzarri made a perfect start as Torino coach, as the Granata won 3-0 against Bologna on Saturday afternoon.

Mazzarri made only two changes from the team who lost to Juventus in the Coppa Italia, as Salvatore Sirigu and Joel Obi came into the team.

Toro had a great chance to take the lead early on, but in-form winger Iago Falque blazed well over the bar when through on goal. The Granata were then denied by an excellent save by Bologna keeper Antonio Mirante who tipped a M'Baye Niang effort over the bar.

Seven minutes before half time, Toro took a deserved lead as Alex Berenguer's excellent free kick was headed home by Lorenzo De Silvestri.

However, five minutes after half time Bologna were awarded a controversial penalty. Despite Simone Verdi originally being booked for diving, after a VAR review, the decision was reversed and a penalty awarded as Cristian Molinaro was adjudged to have fouled the former Toro man.

Erick Pulgar stepped up to take the penalty, but the Chilean was denied by an excellent save by Salvatore Sirigu.

Less than five minutes later, Toro doubled their lead as M'Baye Niang scored a deserved goal by skillfully dummying the defender before curling a left footed shot beyond Mirante.

Toro added a third in the closing stages to seal a convincing victory as Iago Falque scored with a low drive from just outside the area.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Torino v Bologna Preview

Walter Mazzarri will take charge of Torino for the first time when Toro face Bologna at the Stadio Grande Torino on Saturday afternoon.

Whilst Mazzarri usually favours a 3-5-2 formation, it is expected that he will not change too much having only taken charge on Thursday. Andrea Belotti is still injured, but Adem Ljajic has returned to the squad but may not be fit to start.

Bologna are currently 1 point behind Toro in 12th place, but are in poor form having lost three of their last four matches.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Bologna

Friday, 5 January 2018

Mihajlovic Sacked, Mazzarri hired


Within hours of Torino's Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus, rumours emerged that Torino chairman Urbano Cairo had sacked coach Sinisa Mihajlovic.

This was confirmed on Thursday morning, as Mihajlovic paid the price for a disappointing first half of the season. Whilst from the outside, the sacking may appear to be harsh, especially considering the fact that Toro have only lost four league games all season - to Juventus, Napoli, Roma and Fiorentina.

However, the Granata have only won five games, as they have suffered far too many draws - including disappointing stalemates with Hellas Verona and SPAL despite taking a 2-0 lead in each game. Toro are currently in 10th place, 5pts off 6th - the final guaranteed position for Europa League qualification.

Mihajlovic was appointed Torino manager in May 2016, and in his first season in charge achieved some notable results early on, including an impressive win against Roma. However, the Granata stalled in the second half of the campaign and finished the season in 9th place.

One of the main criticisms of Mihajlovic's reign as Torino's coach was their defensive record, as Toro conceded an incredible sixty-six goals in thirty-eight league games last season. The defence has improved this season, but Torino still have a negative goal difference of -2.

Another criticism of Mihajlovic related to his tactical nous, as Toro were often involved in matches where the midfield was clearly being outnumbered. However, the Serbian coach rarely made changes to try and rectify this.

On Thursday, Mihajlovic's replacement was confirmed, as Walter Mazzarri signed a contract until 2020.

Mazzarri achieved success at both Reggina and Sampdoria before getting his 'big break' at Napoli in the 2009-10 season. Under Mazzarri, Napoli qualified for the Champions League, won the Coppa Italia and achieved their highest league finish (2nd) in over 20 years.

The Tuscan tactician was unable to replicate that success in his next two jobs, at Inter, and also last season at Watford in the Premier League.

However, Urbano Cairo hopes that he can be the man to help a talented squad live up to their potential, and perhaps even qualify for the Europa League which was their target at the start of the season.

Forza Toro

Juventus 2-0 Torino

Torino were knocked out of the Coppa Italia on Wednesday night, following a 2-0 defeat to Juventus, a result that ultimately cost Sinisa Mihajlovic his job.

Nicolas Burdisso and Afriyie Acquah were preferred to Emiliano Moretti and Joel Obi, whilst Vanja Milinkovic-Savic returned in goal after his heroics against Roma in the previous round.

Toro had the first chance of the game when Stefano Sturaro misjudged a cross-field field pass, and let Alex Berenguer through on goal, but the Spaniard dragged his shot well wide of the target.

Juventus took the lead after fifteen minutes when Daniele Baselli's hurried clearance ricocheted off Paulo Dybala, and perfectly into the path of Douglas Costa who hit an exquisite left footed volley into the top corner.

Toro had a chance to equalise, as M'Baye Niang latched onto a long ball, and was unlucky to see his shot from a difficult angle hit the post.

In the second half, Mario Mandzukic and then Blaise Matuidi both missed good chances to double the home sides lead. However, mid-way through the second half, Juventus did get their second goal in controversial circumstances.

Afriyie Acquah appeared to be fouled by Sami Khedira, but play continued, and Paulo Dybala's cross hit Daniele Baselli's back and rebounded into the path of Mario Mandzukic who scored. However, despite referee Daniele Doveri going to VAR, he somehow adjudged that Khedira had not fouled Acquah and the goal was allowed to stand.

Young striker Manuel De Luca came off the bench with ten minutes remaining to make his debut, but could do nothing to prevent yet another derby defeat.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Juventus v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to the Juventus Stadium for the second time this season as they look to progress to the Coppa Italia semi finals.

Toro, who last won the Coppa Italia twenty-five years ago will be looking to fare better than they did in the league fixture between the two sides in September, a 4-0 defeat for the Granata.

In mitigation for that defeat, Toro had Daniele Baselli sent off in the first half, and the midfielder ironically returns from suspension for this game. However, the Granata will once again be without key attackers Adem Ljajic and Andrea Belotti.

Rivals Juventus are looking for a fourth successive Coppa Italia triumph and are in good form, having not lost in the league since November, winning five of their last six matches.

Forza Toro

Torino 0-0 Genoa

Torino ended 2017 on a disappointing note as they could only manage a 0-0 draw with Genoa on Saturday afternoon - their 10th stalemate of the season.

Nicolas Burdisso and Joel Obi replaced Lyanco and Daniele Baselli as expected, whilst M'Baye Niang was deployed as a central striker in the absence of the injured Andrea Belotti.

Toro made a bright start, and M'Baye Niang curled a left footed narrowly over the bar in the early stages. Nicolas Burdisso and Nicolas N'Koulou both came close to scoring from set pieces as the Granata were dominating the first half.

However, at the other end, Goran Pandev fired a shot wide of Salvatore Sirigu's far post to show the visitors were still a threat.

Alex Berenguer almost gave Torino the lead in sensational fashion, but the Spaniard's long range shot was tipped over the bar by Mattia Perin.

In the second half, M'Baye Niang was continuing to be a threat against his former club, and almost scored with a clever lob before the ball was cleared off the line by Armando Izzo. Mattia Perin continued his heroics in the Genoa goal, as he made an excellent save to deny Niang's low drive.

Once again Toro had to settle for a point, and Torino fans will be wondering what might have been this season if a few of those had been converted into victories.

Forza Toro