Last week Torino suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of newly-promoted minnows Varese. This 2-1 home defeat in the opening week of their Serie B campaign, sent shockwaves around the Stadio Olimpico as the fans had expected to get off to a winning start. This week saw I Granata travel to Cittadella where their season was meant to get back on track, but it was not to be as the home side ran out 2-1 winners giving Torino fans much to ponder.
Last season Torino finished 5th in Serie B and made the playoffs. Having found form later on in the season, they earned themselves a two-legged semi-final match against fourth place Sassuolo. The dream of getting this historic club back into Serie A seemed to be taking shape as they drew 1-1 in the first leg but came out 2-1 winners in the second getting through to the final. This was another two-legged showdown against Brescia. After a 0-0 draw, Torino finally came unstuck as Brescia managed to dig deep to gain a 2-1 advantage. The dream was over but the season had been a success. The emphasis would now be on looking toward the next season and another assault on Serie A.
The summer transfer window opened and Torino looked to strengthen their squad, Alen Stevanovic was brought in from champions Inter whilst ex-Chelsea defender Valerio Di Cesare was snapped up from Vicenza. Antimo Iunco was brought in up front from Chievo, whilst money was also spent in raiding Vicenza again to acquire Alessandro Sgrigna. Notable departures included the 35-year-old goalkeeper Matteo Sereni who left for Brescia, Marco Pisano who went on a free to Parma along with Blerim Dzemaili, and Dominique Malonga who moved to newly promoted Cesena. The team itself had lost some influential players but had also replaced them with substantial talent.
When the fans looked at the fixtures for the new season, a home tie against newly promoted Varese looked too good to be true. However Torino found themselves two goals down within the first 36 minutes from a superb free kick and a fine flowing move. The shell-shocked home side did reply through new loan signing Christian Obodo’s thunderbolt strike, but it was not enough as the agility of both goalkeepers kept the score at 2-1 and dealt Il Toro a hammer blow.
This week they travelled to Cittadella in an attempt to restart the season in the way in which they intended. Torino had created some early chances but poor finishing stopped them taking the lead, this was until a corner was eventually turned in after a messy scramble in the box, Antimo Iunco getting the final touch. This was as good as it got for the away side as, 18 minutes later, Cittadella equalised from a corner of their own, the ball appeared to float past everyone with Gianluca Nocentini applying the finishing touch. Four minutes later and Cittadella scored again this time with a free kick from nearly 40 yards out, hit by Daniele Dalla Bona. It should have been easily gathered by the Torino goalkeeper Davide Morello, but instead he badly misjudged the bounce and Torino consequently suffered their second defeat of the season.
Torino will have to look Saturday’s game against Crotone to stop the rot, the away side have drawn their first two games and will also be desperate for their first three points of the campaign. Torino certainly have the team, the support and the stadium to make another challenge for promotion but it seems that a mixture of bad luck and bad defending has seen them crumble at the first hurdle so far. Il Toro will have to look to their experienced players to guide them through this rough patch, and it it is surely no more than a rough patch. The team is better than their recent performances have suggested, and although they may have harmed their promotion dream already, it is surely not over this early in the campaign. However it must be said, mid-table in Serie B is a long way from the glory days of Il Grande Torino and the 1940’s.