Relegation threatened Torino travel to Roma this weekend needing to better Bologna’s result against Catania. With both sides level on points it is the Rossoblu who is in the box seat as they hold a superior head-to-head record over Giancarlo Camolese’s men.
Whilst Camolese’s side face an anxious 90 minutes, Luciano Spalletti’s side will have nothing but pride to play for after ensuring European qualification. However, they come into the game high on confidence after an impressive 3-2 victory over Milan at the San Siro last weekend. The Giallorossi twice threw away the lead before captain Francesco Totti scored his 177th Serie A goal five minutes from time to give them all three points and qualify for next season’s Europa League at the expense of Palermo. Despite this feat, Spalletti’s departure still looks imminent after a frustrating campaign and will be eager to see his under achieving side finish with a flourish. Much of Roma’s best form this term has come on home soil, with 12 of their 17 league victories at the Olimpico.
Sunday’s win in Milan was one of Roma’s best results of the season, but i Lupi’s inability to hold a lead reared it’s ugly head once more as their defence continues to ship goals. I Lupi has now conceded 59 times this season – one more than Torino and the second highest outside the bottom three. Despite their poor defensive record, Roma has plenty of attacking threat and only the top three have scored more than the Giallorossi this season. Much of Roma’s best form this term has been down to their inspirational captain Totti. The veteran has been in fine form since returning from injury and effectively scored the goal that guaranteed his side European football after his winner at Milan. Totti will be confident of piling even more misery on a below-strength Torino and adding to his tally of 12 this campaign. La Magica will be without Marco Motta and Rodrigo Taddei, who are both suspended, along with the injured Alexander Doni, who recently had a knee operation.
77 Cassetti – 5 Mexes – 4 Juan – 17 Riise
33 Brighi – 16 De Rossi – 20 Perrotta
10 Totti – 9 Vucinic
As if the task awaiting them in the capital wasn’t daunting enough, the Granata today faced the news they will be without seven key players following an ugly brawl at the end of their last-gasp defeat against high-flying Genoa last weekend. Torino slipped back into the bottom three despite a battling performance in which they twice came from behind, before Genoa’s Diego Milito cruelly struck a minute from time to give the Champions League hopefuls all three points and put a serious dent in il Toro’s survival hopes. To make matters worse for the Granata, Ignazio Abate received his marching orders for a cynical challenge on Marco Rossi – an action that sparked ugly scenes and resulted in the aforementioned suspensions. They will now be without Angelo Ogbonna, Marco Pisano, Aimo Diana, Francesco Pratali, Abate, Blerim Dzermaili and crucially, Rolando Bianchi. The absence of top scorer Bianchi is a bitter blow for the Granata and may prove costly in their bid to avoid the drop. The 28-year-old has scored nine times for il Toro this term, including two vital strikes against both Siena and Napoli and his presence will be sorely missed.
The Granata has had a torrid record on their travels this term, winning just once away from home (at Napoli on Week 36) and keeping just one clean sheet in the process – a miserable record that has undoubtedly contributed to their current position. If they are to have any chance of returning from Rome with anything, they will need to dramatically improve their defence, which has leaked 58 goals this term. With the likes of Ogbonna and Pisano suspended, coupled with their abysmal away record, things do not look good for the visitors. However, Roma’s poor defensive record does offer the Granata some hope, although without Bianchi it is hard to see where the goals will come.
22 Di Loreto – 21 Franceschini – 14 Natali
32 Colombo – 28 Vailatti – 8 Barone – 24 Samuel – 33 Rubin
Julio Baptista’s last gasp scissor-kick was enough for Spalletti’s side back in January as Roma nicked a late win in Turin. Last season’s 4-1 drumming in Rome will be firmly in Camolese’s mind as his side desperately seek some kind of result in an attempt to at least force Bologna into picking something up in their game. Even a rare away win may not be enough to save il Toro from the drop if Bologna manage to overcome Catania. A win for the visitors with so many absentees looks unlikely, but it is a must should they wish to eradicate the prospect of Serie B football next season.