Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Torino v Wolves Preview

Torino host Wolves on Thursday evening in the first leg of their crucial Europa League playoff round tie.

Toro have an almost full strength squad at their disposal, however Lyanco and Iago Falque are missing through injury. Walter Mazzarri may choose to reinforce the midfield against their English opponents, so Tomas Rincon, Daniele Baselli and Soualiho Meite could all feature.

Wolves played Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday evening, and an improved second half performance meant they picked up an impressive 1-1 draw. Wolves coach Nuno Espírito Santo does not tend to rotate his preferred starting eleven that often, so an unchanged team is perhaps likely.

Prediction
Torino 0-0 Wolves

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Shakhtyor Soligorsk 1-1 Torino

Torino could only manage a 1-1 draw in Belarus against Shakhtyor Soligorsk, however, the Granata still progressed to the next round of the Europa League 6-1 on aggregate.

Walter Mazzarri rotated his team as Kevin Bonifazi, Tomas Rincon and Sasa Lukic all came into the starting eleven from the first leg.

The home side started well, and Max Ebong Ngome came close to opening the scoring and was unlucky to see his effort come back off the crossbar.

Toro started to create more chances in the second half, as both Simone Zaza and Lorenzo De Silvestri went close. With ten minutes remaining, Torino opened the scoring with a sensational solo effort from Zaza, who picked the ball and navigated past two challenges before finishing well in the bottom corner.

However, in injury time Shakhtyor were awarded a penalty when substitute Nikolai Yanush was upended in the area by Salvatore Sirigu. Yanush emphatically converted the penalty to give the Belarusian side the goal they ultimately deserved on the night, but it was Toro who progressed to the Playoff Round.

Torino will now face a tough tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers, with a place in the Europa League group stage at stake.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Shakhtyor Soligorsk v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to Belarus for the second leg of their Europa League tie with Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Thursday evening.

The Granata may choose to rest a few key players given their 5-0 advantage from the first leg, so Kevin Bonifazi, Tomas Rincon and Sasa Lukic could feature.

The home side may have lost convincingly in Turin, but that did not seem to bother Shakhtyor domestically as they beat Neman Grodno 6-0 at the weekend.

Prediction
Shakhtyor Soligorsk 1-2 Torino

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Torino 5-0 Shakhtyor Soligorsk

Torino produced an impressive European performance as they thrashed their Belarusian counterparts Shakhtyor Soligorsk 5-0 at the Stadio Grande Torino on Thursday night.

The Granata made a dream start when Andrea Belotti headed home with just sixty seven seconds on the clock.

Toro then doubled their lead thanks to another set piece, this time it was Armando Izzo who was able to nod in at the far post. The away side should have pulled a goal back ten minutes before half time after a nicely worked move, however Pavel Rybak somehow chipped over the bar when well placed.

Rybak's night went from bad to worse as he conceded a penalty after fouling Alex Berenguer in the area, and Andrea Belotti made no mistake from the spot to make it 3-0.

Lorenzo De Silvestri added a fortuitous fourth goal after an attempted clearance by a defender ricocheted off the wing back and into the net. Substitute Kevin Bonifazi added a fifth goal after Andrea Belotti's free kick could only be parried by the goalkeeper.

The result was harsh on the visitors who did have their chances, but Toro will travel to Belarus with a healthy first leg advantage.

Forza Toro




Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Torino v Shakhtyor Soligorsk Preview

Torino host Belarusian side Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Thursday evening in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

Walter Mazzarri is not expected to make many changes from the side that beat Debrecen 7-1 on aggregate in the previous round, especially as Iago Falque is still unavailable.

The Belarusian side are currently mid-way through their league season, and are currently third after fourteen matches. There will be a familiar face in the Shakhtyor team, as Ukrainian defender Vasyl Pryima is a former Toro player, but only made one appearance, with that coming in a Coppa Italia tie.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Shakhtyor Soligorsk

Monday, 5 August 2019

Debrecen 1-4 Torino

Torino qualified for the third qualifying round of the Europa League after a comfortable victory in Hungary secured a 7-1 aggregate victory.

Andrea Belotti and Simone Zaza had both had good opportunities to give Toro the lead before the latter finally opened the scoring with a nicely taken left footed finish.

The Granata then doubled their lead just five minutes later when Armando Izzo tapped home at the far post.

Simone Zaza almost added a sensational third goal, but his chipped effort from almost 40 yards went just wide of the post.

The home side pulled a goal back just after the break when Nigerian striker Haruna Garba headed home from close range.

However, the Granata restored their two goal lead on the night after great interplay by Simone Zaza and Andrea Belotti allowed the Toro captain to score.

Torino added a fourth goal in injury time, with youngster Vincenzo Millico coming off the bench to score his first senior goal with a looping header.

Toro will now face Belarusian side Shakhtyor Soligorsk in the next round.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Debrecen v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to Debrecen on Thursday evening. confident of making it through to the next round of the Europa League.

The Granata produced a professional performance a week ago with a 3-0 1st leg victory, but will be without Iago Falque for the return leg. Simone Zaza, a goalscoring substitute in the win last week is the most likely candidate to replace the Spaniard.

Should the Granata emerge victorious, they will face the winners of the tie between Esbjerg and Shakhtyor Soligorsk. The Belarusian side are 2-0 up from the first leg.

Prediction
Debrecen 1-2 Torino

Friday, 26 July 2019

Torino 3-0 Debrecen

Torino will take a commanding 3-0 lead to Hungary after a convincing first leg performance against Debrecen on Thursday night.

Toro should have taken the lead within the opening five minutes, but Bremer was unable to make contact with Andrea Belotti's cross. However, the Toro captain then won his side a penalty when he was upended in the area by Debrecen keeper Sandor Nagy.

Belotti stepped up himself and thumped home the penalty to score Torino's first European goal in four years. The Granata doubled their lead in fortuitous fashion just before half time when Cristian Ansaldi's miscued cross somehow made its way past Nagy and into the Debrecen goal.

Torino had chances to extend their lead in the second half, with Spanish winger Alex Berenguer twice going close. However, in injury time, Torino finally scored a third goal as substitute Simone Zaza headed home from a corner.

Forza Toro

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Torino v Debrecen Preview


Torino's Europa League campaign will begin in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Stadio Moccagatta in Alessandria on Thursday evening.

AC Milan's withdrawal and Toro's late entry into the Europa League led to a number of issues, one of which being the Stadio Grande Torino being unavailable on this date due to a concert.

Toro have name a strong squad for the tie, with Koffi Djidji, Ola Aina and Vittorio Parigini being the only absentees.

Debrecen finished 3rd in the Hungarian league last season to qualify for the Europa League and are captained by former Genoa midfielder Dániel Tőzsér.

In order to gain more information from a Debrecen perspective, I spoke with Loki fan Charlie_Barca on Twitter.

1. Firstly, how did you become a Debrecen supporter? 

My wife is Hungarian and it is her hometown.

2. Was qualifying for the Europa League last season seen as a big achievement, or were they expected to do so? 

We haven’t been in Europe since our new stadium (20k capacity Nagyerdei Stadion) was finished so this is quite a big deal for Debrecen supporters. We got the last Europa League spot on the last day, so it was a bit of a relief.

3. What European experience have Debrecen had in recent years? I seem to remember them playing Liverpool a few years ago? 

We have been in the Champions League and played Liverpool and Man Utd, however we had to travel to Budapest to play these games.

5. Which players should we watch out for? Who was the best performer last season?

Kevin Varga can be a tricky player on his day, just not sure which day. Csaba Szatmári is a decent defender, who can cover a lot of mistakes. 

6. What would winning the tie mean for Debrecen and Hungarian football in general? 

Winning anything would be amazing, but I think we are a few years away at the moment, but things are getting better especially with all the new stadiums that have been built. It’s encouraging and we are ready to be seen as a European football country.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Torino 3-1 Lazio

Torino ended the season in style with a 3-1 victory over Lazio on Sunday afternoon in Emiliano Moretti's final game before retirement.

Despite it being his last professional game, Emiliano Moretti started the game on the bench, with Bremer given a rare start.

The first half was one of few chances, but five minutes into the second half, the Granata took the lead when Ola Aina's long throw was volleyed home by Iago Falque.

Toro doubled their lead just two minutes later as good footwork from Soualiho Meïté put Sasa Lukic through on goal, and the Serbian slotted the ball past the on rushing Silvio Proto.

Lazio reduced the deficit when former Toro striker Ciro Immobile finished well despite being under pressure from Nicolas Nkoulou.

However, Toro made sure of the points with ten minutes remaining when Lorenzo De Silvestri was on hand to score after Proto saved Simone Zaza's shot.

Emiliano Moretti came on for the final five minutes and received the captain's armband from Andrea Belotti as he ended his career as a professional footballer on the winning side.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Torino v Lazio Preview

Torino host Lazio in the final game of the 2018/19 Serie A season, as Emiliano Moretti plays the final  game of his career.

The experienced defender announced his retirement during the week, and highlighted his class by asking coach Walter Mazzarri not to be involved in case it overshadowed the match itself.

The home side’s Europa League aspirations were dented when Lazio won the Coppa Italia, but the Granata will finish the season in 7th if they avoid defeat.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Lazio

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Empoli 4-1 Torino

Torino's European dreams capitulated on a day to forget in Tuscany as they lost 4-1 to Empoli on Sunday afternoon.

Tomas Rincon returned from suspension, whilst Ola Aina replaced the injured Cristian Ansaldi at left wing back.

The Granata made a slow start, and the home side, fighting desperately against relegation were given a gift after just before the half hour mark.

Ola Aina carelessly gave the ball away on the edge of his own area, and former Toro midfielder Afriyie Acquah's cross-cum-shot found the bottom corner.

Torino improved after going behind, and Andrea Belotti twice came close to finding an equaliser. The Italian international was first denied by Bartlomiej Dragowski, and he then had a header miraculously cleared off the line by Hamed Traore.

Toro got a deserved equaliser ten minutes into the second half, as substitute Iago Falque curled home from the edge of the area. However, Empoli took the lead once again, as another former Toro player Matteo Brighi tapped home just moments after coming onto the pitch.

With the Granata pressing for an equaliser, they were hit on the counter attack, and wing back Giovanni Di Lorenzo fired home after some clever footwork to evade Armando Izzo. Francesco Caputo added a fourth goal in the dying seconds against a tired Toro defence who saw their slim chances of European qualification well and truly extinguished.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Empoli v Torino Preview

Torino face Empoli on Sunday afternoon knowing that even maximum points in their final two games may not be enough for European qualification.

Lazio's victory in the Coppa Italia final means that in order to qualify for Europe, Toro will need to finish in 6th place - thus needing one of Atalanta, AC Milan or Roma to slip up.

Cristian Ansaldi picked up an injury in the victory against Sassuolo so misses out and should be replaced by Ola Aina, whilst Tomas Rincon has returned from suspension.

Empoli are currently fighting to stay in the league, and despite winning their last two games, still occupy the third and final relegation spot.

Prediction
Empoli 1-2 Torino

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Torino 3-2 Sassuolo

Torino scored twice in a minute as they came from behind to beat Sassuolo and claim a vital three points on Sunday afternoon.

Emiliano Moretti returned from suspension and replaced Bremer in defence, whilst Daniele Baselli replaced the suspended Tomas Rincon in midfield.

Torino had an early chance to open the scoring when VAR harshly punished Sassuolo captain Francesco Magnanelli for a handball in the area. However, Toro captain Andrea Belotti blazed the spot kick high over the bar.

Ten minutes later, the away side then took the lead against the run of play thanks to Mehdi Bourabia's low drive from distance. However, the Moroccan midfielder was then dismissed as he received a second yellow card for removing his shirt in celebration.

Despite now being against ten men, it was the Granata who needed the half time interval to regroup from the psychological blow of missing the penalty and then conceding. Toro started the second half
brightly, and Andrea Consigli made a great save to deny Andrea Belotti's overhead kick.

Toro were level soon afterwards, as Lorenzo De Silvestri crossed for Belotti to make amends and score from close range.

However, with twenty minutes remaining, ten man Sassuolo surprisingly took the lead thanks to Pol Lirola's clever back heel following good work from Jeremie Boga.

With ten minutes remaining, Toro equalised when substitute Simone Zaza broke the offside and finished well. Incredibly, just a minute later, Toro took the lead as another De Silvestri cross was met by Andrea Belotti, whose bicycle kick flew past Consigli.

Toro were able to hold on and clinch all three points to maintain their challenge for European qualification.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Torino v Sassuolo Preview

Torino will continue their quest for European qualification when they face Sassuolo on Sunday afternoon.

Toro will be without the suspended Tomas Rincon, however Iago Falque is fit again and included in the squad.

The away side are safely in mid-table and have been in good form as of late, and are unbeaten in their last six games.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Sassuolo

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Juventus 1-1 Torino

Torino came close to securing their first away win in a Turin derby since 1995, but were cruelly denied late on.

Bremer made his first start for the club as he replaced the suspended Emiliano Moretti in defence, whilst Sasa Lukic was preferred to Daniele Baselli in midfield.

Toro made a bright start, and Wojciech Szczęsny was forced to make an early save to deny Andrea Belotti. The Granata got their reward for their positive play, and took the lead after seventeen minutes when Sasa Lukic capitalised on a Miralem Pjanic error and curled the ball into the top corner.

The home side reacted well, and Salvatore Sirigu made a good save to deny Blaise Matuidi, whilst Cristiano Ronaldo narrowly fired a shot wide of the post.

In the second half, substitute Ola Aina almost made the perfect entrance, as he almost doubled Toro's lead within seconds of coming on, but the Nigerian international's shot went over the bar.

With just six minutes remaining, Toro finally succumbed to the Juventus pressure as Leonardo Spinazzola's cross was expertly headed home by Ronaldo.

The Granata had to settle for a point, which they certainly would have taken pre-match, but they will be left wondering what could have been.

Forza Toro

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Juventus v Torino Preview


Torino travel to face their neighbours Juventus in the Derby Della Mole on Friday evening hoping to prolong their hopes of Champions League qualification.

The Granata have won their last two games, and a third consecutive victory would put them, temporarily at least, into 4th place.

Emiliano Moretti is suspended, so Bremer could replace the experienced defender, whilst Daniele Baselli will be pushing for a return to the starting eleven following his own suspension.

Juventus have already sealed an 8th successive Scudetto, but should be motivated to prevent their rivals having the local bragging rights.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Torino 2-0 AC Milan

Torino became serious Champions League contenders with an impressive 2-0 victory over AC Milan on Sunday evening.

With Daniele Baselli suspended, Sasa Lukic replaced the Italian midfielder, whilst Alex Berenguer continued to support Andrea Belotti in attack.

In a first half of few chances, the best of which fell to Suso, who had an early opportunity for the visitors, but the Spanish winger was denied by Salvatore Sirigu

At the start of the second half, Toro were awarded a penalty when Armando Izzo was pushed in the area by Franck Kessie. Andrea Belotti stepped forward and hit his penalty straight down the middle to give Toro the lead.

AC Milan came close to equalising, but Tiémoué Bakayoko's header from the edge of the area hit the crossbar. However, it was Toro who doubled their lead, as a poor defensive header from Mateo Musacchio was punished by Alex Berenguer's magnificent volley.

The away side were reduced to ten men when Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli was dismissed for dissent after sarcastically applauding the referee. The Granata were able to hold on and claim a vital victory, to increase their hopes of European football next season.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Torino v AC Milan

Torino can move above AC Milan in the Serie A table if they beat the Rossoneri at the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday evening.

The Granata will be without the suspended Daniele Baselli and Simone Zaza, but Iago Falque and young striker Vincenzo Millico have both made a timely return to the squad following injury.

Gennaro Gattuso will be looking for a reaction from his side, who were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Lazio in mid week, and have only picked up 1 point from their last three away games.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 AC Milan

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Genoa 0-1 Torino

Torino boosted their hopes of qualifying for Europe with a vital 1-0 win against Genoa on Saturday afternoon.

Andrea Belotti returned from suspension to the lead the line for the Granata, whilst Ola Aina returned to the starting eleven.

The home side had the first chance of the game, but Ervin Zukanovic put his free header wide of the post. Toro then had Salvatore Sirigu to thank for ensuring parity, as the former PSG goalkeeper made a sensational Gordon Banks-esque save to deny Lukas Lerager.

After a disappointing first half, the Granata started the second half much better and Daniele Baselli curled a low free kick narrowly wide.

Just before the hour mark, Toro took the lead when a swift counter attack was finished off by former Genoa man Cristian Ansaldi. Salvatore Sirigu once again made a sensational save to deny Genoa, this time from substitute Christian Kouamé's header.

Torino had a chance to increase the margin of victory in the dying stages, as Andrea Belotti set up Vittorio Parigini, but the youth team product was denied his first Toro goal by Ionut Radu.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Genoa v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Genoa on Saturday afternoon looking to reignite their challenge for Europa League qualification.

Two successive draws have hampered Toro's European aspirations, but the Granata did achieve one of their best victories of the season in this stadium back in November - a 4-1 win over Sampdoria.

Andrea Belotti returns to the squad following suspension, whilst Ola Aina could be preferred to Lorenzo De Silvestri at right wing back.

Genoa have been in poor form since surprisingly beating Juventus last month, and have lost three of their last four matches - including the derby with Sampdoria last weekend.

Prediction
Genoa 1-1 Torino

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Torino 1-1 Cagliari

Torino lost ground on the teams chasing European football as they dropped two points at home to Cagliari on Sunday afternoon.

With Andrea Belotti suspended, Simone Zaza was given a rare start up front, and with Iago Falque still out, Alex Berenguer retained his place.

Alessio Cragno in the Cagliari goal made an excellent save to deny Daniele Baselli from just inside the area. At the other end, Artur Ionita almost gave the Sardinians a shock lead, but his powerful effort hit the bar.

Toro took the lead early in the second half as Armando Izzo kept the ball alive from a set piece and crossed for Simone Zaza to score just his third goal of the season.

However, the former Sassuolo man then turned from hero to zero as he was given a straight red card for dissent after being penalised by the referee.

Toro were punished almost immediately as Leonardo Pavoletti headed home a Luca Cigarini cross to equalise. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but was then correctly given following a VAR review.

Cagliari ended the game with 9 men as both Luca Pellegrini and Nicolo Barella were both dismissed for second yellow cards. The Granata almost snatched all three points in the dying seconds, but Daniele Baselli's free kick was tipped over the bar by Cragno.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Torino v Cagliari Preview

Torino host Cagliari early on Sunday afternoon hoping for more points as they continue their quest for European qualification.

The Granata are just four points behind AC Milan in 4th, and Toro could be unlikely challengers for the Champions League if they can continue their impressive home form.

However, Toro will be without top scorer Andrea Belotti through suspension, and with Iago Falque still injured, the Granata will have to rely on Simone Zaza - who has scored just twice in a disappointing campaign.

Cagliari are in good form, having won three of their last four games, although they have struggled on their travels this season. Before winning 3-0 at Chievo in their last away game, the Sardinians had lost five consecutive games away from home without scoring.

Prediction
Torino 1-0 Cagliari

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Parma 0-0 Torino

Torino missed an opportunity in the race for European football as they could only manage a goalless draw away to Parma on Saturday afternoon.

The Granata name an unchanged starting eleven following Wednesday's impressive 2-1 victory over Sampdoria.

The first half was one of few chances, but Toro came closest to opening the scoring through Daniele Baselli, but his volley from outside the area went just wide of the post.

In the second half, Daniele Baselli once again had a good chance, but blazed over when he could have found Lorenzo De Silvestri in space.

Parma were presenting a threat on the counter attack, and full back Federico Dimarco forced a save out of Salvatore Sirigu.

Toro had a chance to claim all three points on their own chance on the counter attack through substitute Vittorio Parigini, but the youngster opted to go for goal rather than crossing for Simone Zaza who was better placed, and therefore had to settle for a point.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Parma v Torino Preview

Torino will travel to Parma on Saturday afternoon hoping to continue their recent good form in the chase for European places.

Lorenzo De Silvestri has been included in the squad, despite picking up an injury in Wednesday's victory against Sampdoria, therefore Walter Mazzarri may name an unchanged starting eleven.

The home side have lost their last three games, but did cause an upset by beating Toro 2-1 in Turin back in November.

Prediction
Parma 1-2 Torino

Torino 2-1 Sampdoria

Torino produced one of their finest performances of the season as they beat fellow Europa League contenders Sampdoria 2-1 on Wednesday evening.

As expected, Nicolas Nkoulou returned from suspension, whilst Alex Berenguer was preferred to the out of form Simone Zaza in attack.

Toro made the brighter start and took a deserved lead ten minutes before half time when Lorenzo De Silvestri's floated cross was sensationally headed home at the far post by Andrea Belotti.

On the stroke of half time, Toro doubled their lead when Cristian Ansaldi's cross was only partially cleared by Joachim Anderson, and Andrea Belotti finished well with the outside of his right foot.

The Torino captain came close to sealing a perfect hat trick, but his left foot shot from just outside the area narrowly whistled past the post.

The away side were struggling to create many chances, but Salvatore Sirigu made a good save to deny Gaston Ramirez's half volley. Another former Southampton player, Manolo Gabbiadini did ensure a nervy last ten minutes for the Granata, as he reduced the deficit with a fine left footed strike from outside the area.

However, Toro were able to hold on to seal a crucial three points in their quest for European qualification.

Forza Toro

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Torino v Sampdoria Preview

Torino will look to get back to winning ways when they host Sampdoria at the Stadio Grande Torino on Wednesday evening.

Nicolas Nkoulou will return to the starting eleven following suspension, although Iago Falque picked up an injury against Fiorentina and will miss out.

Sampdoria are one of the form teams in the division, having won four of their last five games which has catapulted them into the conversation for European qualification.

However, the reverse fixture back in November was arguably Torino's finest performance of the season as they claimed an impressive 4-1 victory.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Sampdoria

Fiorentina 1-1 Torino

Torino fought back to earn a point against Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon as they stayed in touch with their fellow Europa League challengers.

As expected, Lorenzo De Silvestri and Emiliano Moretti replaced the suspended Ola Aina and Nicolas Nkoulou, whilst Iago Falque partnered Andrea Belotti upfront.

The Granata were behind after only seven minutes, as comical defending allowed Giovanni Simeone to beat the offside trap and round Salvatore Sirigu to score.

That goal seemed to wake the Granata up from a sluggish start, and they were level just after the half hour mark. Iago Falque held the ball up well, before setting up Daniele Baselli who curled a sensational strike into the top corner from just outside the area.

Salvatore Sirigu was once again Toro's hero as he first denied Giovanni Simeone and then former Toro man Marco Benassi to ensure the two teams went in at half time level.

Alban Lafont almost had an embarrassing moment as Cristian Ansaldi almost caught the young Frenchman off his line with a quickly taken free kick from the half way line, however the Argentine's effort went just over the bar.

Toro perhaps had the better of the second half, but it was the hosts who probably should have claimed all three points, but substitute Dusan Vlahovic headed over from close range and both sides had to settle for a point.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Fiorentina v Torino Preview

Torino will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Florence to face Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon.

The Granata will be without the suspended Ola Aina and Nicolas Nkoulou, so Emiliano Moretti and Lorenzo De Silvestri should both feature against their former side.

The home side will be without the injured Federico Chiesa, who scored two late goals when the Viola knocked Toro out of the Coppa Italia back in January.

Fiorentina are without a win in their last four matches and will be looking for a positive result to keep alive their own hopes of European qualification via the league.

Prediction
Fiorentina 1-1 Torino

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Torino 2-3 Bologna

Torino's excellent run of form finally ended as they succumbed to a surprise 3-2 defeat at home to Bologna.

Toro had an early reprieve when Lyanco, on loan from the Granata had an early goal for the visitors disallowed due to offside. Torino then took the lead as Cristian Ansaldi's shot from outside the area deflected off Erick Pulgar and into the net.

However, Bologna were deservedly level when good play from Rodrigo Palacio allowed Andrea Poli to head home at the far post. The away side were then awarded a penalty following a VAR referral after Soualiho Meite inexplicably handled the ball in the area. Erick Pulgar stepped up and converted the penalty to make amends for his earlier own goal.

Tomas Rincon came closest to an equaliser in the second half, however his long range effort was well saved by Lukasz Skorupski. Bologna then added a third goal after a swift counter attack ended with Ricardo Orsolini finishing nonchalantly past Salvatore Sirigu.

Lyanco's eventful day against his parent club continued as he was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. Toro were able to capitalise almost immediately as Armando Izzo headed home Alex Berenguer's free kick to reduce the deficit.

However, Ola Aina's frustrations got the better of him in stoppage time, and the Nigerian received two yellow cards in quick succession, the second of which for dissent, as Toro slipped to their first defeat since January.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Torino v Bologna Preview

Torino could move to within three points of the Champions League places with a victory against Bologna at the Stadio Grande Torino on Saturday afternoon.

Ola Aina and Iago Falque could return to the starting eleven after impressive performances as substitutes in the come back victory against Frosinone last weekend.

The Toro fans will welcome a number of familiar faces as Bologna are now coached by Sinisa Mihajlovic, who was Toro coach between 2016-2018, whilst Lyanco and Simone Edera are both currently on loan at the Rossoblu.

Bologna have seen a recent improvement since Mihajlovic took charge, winning two of his six games in charge, however they still remain in the bottom three.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Bologna

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Frosinone 1-2 Torino

Torino's impressive run of form continued as they came from behind to beat Frosinone on Sunday afternoon.

Tomas Rincon and Simone Zaza both earned starts following their goal scoring cameo's as substitutes against Chievo last weekend.

However, Toro once again made a slow start to the first half and it was the home side who had the first chance of the game as Salvatore Sirigu had to make a save from Camillo Ciano following a rare mistake from Armando Izzo.

Toro had to rely on Sirigu once again, this time to deny Luca Paganini's curling shot from just outside the area. However, Paganini did not have to wait long to get on the score sheet as he headed home from a corner just three minutes before half time to end Toro's run of 599 minutes without conceding.

Torino looked a totally different team to start the second half, and twice came close to equalising in the same move. Firstly, Simone Zaza was denied by Marco Sportiello, and then Tomas Rincon curled the rebound wide of the target.

Iago Falque came on as Toro desperately searched for an equaliser, and his inch perfect free kick was met by Andrea Belotti who headed home to level things up.

With twelve minutes remaining, Torino took the lead as Cristian Ansaldi's deep cross was intelligently headed back by substitute Ola Aina, and Andrea Belotti volleyed in.

Toro could have extended their margin of victory as Iago Falque hit the post with a free kick, and Andrea Belotti missed a great one on one chance in stoppage time to seal his hat trick. However, the Granata still did enough to claim a fifth win from their last seven games.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Frosinone v Torino Preview

Torino will be looking to record a first away victory since November when they travel to face Frosinone on Sunday afternoon.

Tomas Rincon and Simone Zaza could both be in line to start after goal scoring cameo's in the victory against Chievo. Ola Aina, who picked up an injury in the warm up for that game has been included in the squad and could feature.

Frosinone are currently in 19th place having lost four of their last five home games, but picked up a creditable 0-0 draw at Genoa last weekend despite playing most of the game with ten men.

Prediction
Frosinone 0-1 Torino

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Torino 3-0 Chievo

Torino secured a fifth consecutive Serie A home victory after three late goals secured a victory over a stubborn Chievo side.

Walter Mazzarri had named an unchanged starting eleven from the team who beat Atalanta last weekend, however Ola Aina was injured in the warm up and was replaced by Cristian Ansaldi.

The first half was devoid of any quality or any clear cut chances, however the struggling visitors did pose a threat on the counter attack but could not find a killer pass in the final third.

The Granata did not heed these warnings at the start of the second half, and Filip Đorđević should have given Chievo the lead, but the Serbian was twice denied by Salvatore Sirigu.

Simone Zaza came off the bench for Toro as they looked for the breakthrough, and he came close from a free kick that well saved by former Torino keeper Stefano Sorrentino.

With fourteen minutes remaining, Torino finally got the breakthrough, as captain Andrea Belotti broke his goal drought with a sensational long range strike.

In injury time, substitute Tomas Rincon doubled Toro's lead with a curling effort from just outside the area. Simone Zaza then added a third goal, virtually from the kick off, as Torino sealed all three points and a sixth consecutive clean sheet.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Torino v Chievo Preview

Torino will be looking to continue their impressive run of form when they face bottom of the table Chievo on Sunday afternoon.

After the impressive 2-0 victory against Atalanta, Walter Mazzarri may choose to name an unchanged starting eleven. However, youngster Vincenzo Millico who made his debut as a substitute in that match will be unavailable for selection due to injury.

Chievo have had a miserable season after starting the campaign with a three point deduction, and the Flying Donkeys have only won one of their twenty-five games this season.

Prediction
Torino 2-0 Chievo

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Torino 2-0 Atalanta

Torino moved into 6th place and reignited their Europa League hopes with an impressive 2-0 victory over Atalanta on Saturday afternoon.

Soualiho Meite, Daniele Baselli and Iago Falque all returned to the starting eleven as Toro faced a fellow European challenger.

Mid way through the first half, Atalanta had a chance to take the lead, but Gianluca Mancini was denied by Salvatore Sirigu. On the stroke of half time, it was Torino who took the lead as Armando Izzo poked home following a corner.

Toro then made a dream start to the second half as they doubled their lead within a minute, thanks to Iago Falque's clever toe poked finish.

Atalanta came close to reducing the deficit but Duvan Zupata was denied by Sirigu as the Granata defence held firm to earn their fifth consecutive clean sheet, and claim a vital three points.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Torino v Atalanta Preview

Torino host Atalanta on Saturday afternoon hoping to continue their recent good form as they continue to challenge for European qualification.

Koffi Djidji misses out through injury so Emiliano Moretti should continue in defence, whilst Tomas Rincon also misses out due to suspension.

Atalanta have qualified for the Europa League in the past two seasons, and are currently three points above Torino in the table and have won four of their last five away games in Serie A.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Atalanta

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Napoli 0-0 Torino

Torino survived a first half onslaught as they somehow managed to hold Napoli to a 0-0 draw on Sunday evening.

Nicolas Nkoulou came back into the team in place of the injured Koffi Djidji whilst Alex Berenguer was surprisingly preferred to Iago Falque as the support to Andrea Belotti in attack.

Lorenzo Insigne had the first opportunity of the game but was denied by Salvatore Sirigu, whilst Arkadiusz Milik also had a great chance but put his effort wide of the target.

Napoli continued to create chances in the second half, with Sirigu twice denying Milik and Insigne hitting the post, but Toro were proving to be a bigger threat on the counter attack through the pace of Ola Aina.

Toro somehow managed to hold on and earn what could be a valuable point, whilst Napoli will wonder how they didn't manage to win the game.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Napoli v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Naples on Sunday evening looking to extend their mini unbeaten run and improve their chances of Europa League qualification.

Nicolas Nkoulou and Simone Zaza have both returned from suspension, whilst Daniele Baselli and Soualiho Meite will be pushing for recalls to the starting eleven.

Napoli have been formidable at home recently, winning their last five games in the league, but did travel to Zurich in midweek for the Europa League, so may feel some fatigue.

Prediction
Napoli 2-1 Torino

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Torino 1-0 Udinese

It is believed that former New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez first coined the phrase 'I'd rather be lucky than good' and Torino certainly lived up to that mantra on Sunday afternoon as they somehow emerged victorious.

As expected, Koffi Djidji and Iago Falque replaced the suspended Nicolas Nkoulou and Simone Zaza as Toro lined up in a 3-4-3 formation with Alex Berenguer earning a rare start.

Torino should have taken the lead when Sasa Lukic's corner found an unmarked Andrea Belotti, but his header was magnificently tipped over the bar by Juan Musso in the Udinese goal.

However the Granata did not have to wait long to open the scoring, as Cristian Ansaldi's accurate cross found Ola Aina who headed home his first goal for the club.

Udinese's best chance in the first half was from a set piece, but Rodrigo De Paul's long range free kick was easily dealt with by Salvatore Sirigu.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Udinese were awarded a penalty by VAR after Koffi Djidji was adjudged to have fouled Stefano Okaka. However, De Paul was denied from the spot following an outstanding save from Sirigu.

In the final minute of normal time, Udinese thought they had their equaliser as Stefano Okaka fired a low drive past Sirigu, however this time Toro were reprieved by VAR as Kevin Lasagna was adjudged to be in an offside position and interfering with play.

It was proving not to be Udinese's day, as in injury time, they somehow managed to hit both the bar and then the post in the same move as Torino, somehow, survived for three points.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Torino v Udinese Preview

Torino host Udinese on Sunday afternoon looking to maintain their challenge for Europa League qualification.

Nicolas Nkoulou and Simone Zaza are both suspended, so should be replaced by Koffi Djidji and Iago Falque, whilst Daniele Baselli and Soualiho Meite will also be pushing for recalls.

Udinese had seen an upturn in their fortunes under new coach and former Toro defender Davide Nicola, however, they are win less in their last three Serie A matches. Perhaps more worryingly for the away side, the Zebrette's last away game was a 4-0 defeat against Sampdoria two weeks ago.

Prediction
Torino 2-1 Udinese

Thursday, 7 February 2019

SPAL 0-0 Torino

Torino once again failed to win consecutive Serie A matches as they could only draw 0-0 with SPAL on Sunday afternoon.

Toro made just one change from the team who beat Inter, as Emiliano Moretti replaced Koffi Djidji in defence.

Andrea Belotti came closest to giving Toro the lead in the first half, but his low drive from long range was tipped round the post by Emiliano Viviano.

At the other end, both Mirco Antenucci and Mohamed Fares had good chances for SPAL but put them over the bar.

In the second half, Armando Izzo almost opened the scoring for the second game in a row, but the defender headed wide of the target.

With twenty five minutes remaining, Torino were reduced to ten men when Nicolas Nkoulou was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Mattia Valoti should have given the home side all three points, but once again a player in blue and white missed the target, and 10 man Torino held on for a point.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 2 February 2019

SPAL v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Ferrara on Sunday afternoon looking for consecutive Serie A victories for only the second time this season.

Koffi Djidji may miss out after picking up a knock in training, although Soualiho Meïte is back in the squad following suspension.

SPAL came back from 2-0 down to beat Parma 3-2 last weekend, their first win since a shock victory at Roma in October. However, they have been difficult to beat at home in recent months, drawing their last five games at the Stadio Paolo Mazza.

Prediction
SPAL 0-1 Torino

Friday, 1 February 2019

Primavera Problems

One can argue that no team in the history of Italian football has a stronger bond between their first team and their Primavera (youth) team than Torino FC.

The main reason for this is, after the Superga disaster of 1949, that resulted in the death of the entire ‘Grande Torino’ team who had won five consecutive Serie A titles, it was the Primavera squad who had to fulfil the Granata’s remaining fixtures.

Despite this inextricable link between the youth team and the first team, in recent years, Torino have not managed to have many youth team products breakthrough and become regular first team players.

One of these reasons is of course the fact that in 2005, Torino were declared bankrupt, and as a result, all players were released from their contracts. These included players who began their careers at Toro, and have gone on to have successful Serie A careers elsewhere -Stefano Sorrentino, Federico Balzaretti and Fabio Quagliarella (who would later return to the club).

If not for bankruptcy, one of these players could have stayed at Torino for their entire careers, and been a bandiera, much like Francesco Totti at Roma.

In the years since bankruptcy, only one player who came through the Torino academy has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the first team - Angelo Ogbonna. Whilst the majority of these appearances came in Serie B, Ogbonna then made the move to cross city rivals Juventus after his first full season in Serie A, much to the dismay of Torino supporters.

In the current first team squad, both Vittorio Parigini and Simone Edera were born in the city, starred for the Primavera and then impressed whilst out on loan. However, neither player has made more than 2 starts in Serie A this season and therefore been unable to force their way into a regular starting birth.

With Torino still fighting for Europa League qualification this season, it would be a surprise to see these statistics change dramatically. However, should Toro fall out of the race for Europe, one would hope that Walter Mazzarri looks to the future when picking his starting eleven for the rest of the season. However, with Simone Edera completing a deadline day loan move to Bologna this now looks a remote possibility, although it is hoped he will finally manage to get regular game time in Serie A.

Torino’s proud history extends to it’s Primavera team, and no team in Italian football has won more League titles (9) or Coppa Italia’s (8) than Toro.

Much is expected of the latest star of the Torino Primavera team, Vincenzo Millico, who has scored an incredible 22 goals in 15 league appearances. The day after being named on the bench for the first team’s 1-0 victory over Inter, Millico captained the Primavera team to a 4-0 win over Palermo.

Vincenzo Millico
After a goalless first half, Millico produced a piece a magic that belied his inexperience by taking a quick free kick and delivering an inch perfect assist to find substitute Luca Petrungaro to open the scoring. Whilst Petrungaro went on to complete his hat trick, it was Millico who was the catalyst for the Granata, and he deservedly got on the score sheet himself in injury time. This impressive victory took Torino to the top of the Campionato Primavera 1 standings.

This past Saturday marked the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Valentino Mazzola, captain of the Grande Torino team. As part of the celebrations, Torino hosted a youth tournament for players in the Pulcini age group (born in 2008). The other teams involved were Venezia, Valentino’s former team, and Inter, who his son Sandro served with such distinction from 1960-1977.

There was however, a familiar name within the Torino squad - Valentino Mazzola, the eleven year old great-grandson of the former Torino captain who was also invited to play in the tournament.

The young Valentino Mazzola, flanked by Toro president Urbano Cairo and record goalscorer Paolo Pulici
Who knows, in 10 years time, Torino supporters may once again be cheering on a Mazzola from the stands.

But lets not put too much pressure on the kid.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Torino 1-0 Inter

Torino reignited their hopes for Europa League qualification following a narrow 1-0 victory over Inter on Sunday evening.

Armando Izzo returned to the starting eleven following suspension, whilst Cristian Ansaldi maintained his place in centre midfield, and Simone Zaza made a rare start upfront.

The away side should have taken the lead in the early stages but Lautaro Martínez somehow put his shot wide of the post when well placed.

Salvatore Sirigu made a good save to deny Mauro Icardi as the Granata had to withstand a spell of early pressure from Inter.

However, with ten minutes until half time, it was Toro who would take the lead as Armando Izzo met Cristian Ansaldi's cross with a looping header into the far corner.

Both sides struggled to create chances after the break, although substitute Matteo Politano whistled a shot just past the post from long range.

Frustration would later get the better of the former Sassuolo man, as he was shown a straight red card in the dying moments for dissent, and Toro were able to hold on for a valuable three points.

Forza Toro

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Torino v Inter Preview


Torino face Inter at the Stadio Grande Torino on Sunday evening hoping to re-ignite their challenge for a Europa League place.

Armando Izzo has recovered from suspension and should replace Lyanco in defence, whilst Daniele Baselli and Sasa Lukic have both recovered from injury. However, Cristian Ansaldi, who impressed when deputising in centre midfield against Roma could keep his place.

Up front, Simone Zaza could earn a rare start and partner Andrea Belotti in attack, with Iago Falque dropped to the bench.

Inter are unbeaten in their last five Serie A matches, however, they did only draw against Chievo and Sassuolo, which should give Toro hope of causing an upset.

Prediction
Torino 1-1 Inter

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Roma 3-2 Torino

Torino's unbeaten away record is no more as they were beaten 3-2 in the Italian capital by Roma on Saturday afternoon.

In the absence of the suspended Armando Izzo, Lyanco made his first league start in over a year, whilst an injury crisis in midfield forced Cristian Ansaldi to play as a makeshift centre midfielder. A late injury in the warm up for Sasa Lukic meant a change in formation and a rare start for Vittorio Parigini.

Despite a bright start, Toro were behind after only fifteen minutes when they failed to clear a set piece, and whilst Nicolo Zaniolo's initial shot was saved by Salvatore Sirigu, he was still able to have a second shot which went past the former PSG keeper.

Roma doubled their lead ten minutes before half time when Salvatore Sirigu upended snooker fanatic Stephen El Shaarawy in the area. That allowed Aleksander Kolarov to step up and send Sirigu the wrong way.

Toro had a chance to reduce the deficit just before half time, but Iago Falque could only hit the post when through on goal.

However, Torino looked a totally different team after half time, and it only took them six minutes to  get a goal back, through Tomas Rincon's curling effort from just outside the area.

Mid way through the second half, Torino then scored a deserved equaliser thanks to Cristian Ansaldi's excellent first time volley from nearly twenty-five yards.

However, just five minutes later, Roma regained the lead thanks to El Shaarawy's calm finish following Lorenzo Pellegrini's excellent through ball.

Toro thought they should have had a penalty following a foul by Robin Olsen on Andrea Belotti, but it was not given, and the Granata lost their first away game of the season.

Forza Toro

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Roma v Torino Preview

Torino travel to Rome on Saturday afternoon for their first Serie A game of 2019 hoping to maintain their impressive away record.

The Granata are unbeaten away from home this season, but that has included eight draws and only two victories.

Toro will be without the suspended Armando Izzo and Soualiho Meïté for the game, whilst Emiliano Moretti and Daniele Baselli are injured.

With so many absentees, Walter Mazzarri has included three Primavera products in the squad, defender Erick Ferigra, midfielder Michel Adopo and striker Vincenzo Millico, who has scored a remarkable 21 goals already this season.

Roma are currently three points above Toro, and have won three of their last four home games in the league.

Prediction
Roma 2-1 Torino

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Torino 0-2 Fiorentina

Torino were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon after conceding two late Federico Chiesa goals.

As expected, Toro named their strongest available line up, although Simone Zaza picked up an injury in training so was not on the bench.

In a first half devoid of quality, it was the away side who had the best chances, with Jordan Veretout and then Kevin Mirallas both forcing Salvatore Sirigu into saves.

Toro made a much better start to the second half, and Andrea Belotti had a great chance at the far post, but his volley was blocked.

Lorenzo De Silvestri had a good chance after Ola Aina's excellent cross, but the wing back headed over the bar. The former Fiorentina man then thought he had made amends and opened the scoring, but his effort, after a lengthy VAR delay, was disallowed.

With three minutes remaining, Torino were caught on the counter attack from their own corner and Giovanni Simeone used his pace to escape the Toro defence. Whilst his shot was saved by Sirigu, Federico Chiesa was on hand to score.

In injury time, the Viola once again caught Toro on the break, as Chiesa outpaced substitute Lyanco and finished well past Sirigu to ensure Fiorentina's passage into the Coppa Italia quarter finals.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Torino v Fiorentina Preview

Torino will host Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon at the Stadio Grande Torino with a place in the Coppa Italia quarter finals at stake.

Both sides are likely to name a full strength side, with the cup being seen as an extra route to Europa League qualification.

In the Serie A game between the two sides back in October, former Toro midfielder Marco Benassi gave the Viola an early lead, but Toro equalised via an Alban Lafont own goal.

Prediction

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