Welcome back to Turin, we rounded up the last post with il toro sitting in 5th place after 14 games. December was packed full of games which included extra time in the coppa, which we discussed last post; it meant that we needed to be sensible with rotating and resting players with the congestion of games. Despite this, we continued our fine form with another unbeaten month. With wins over SPAL, Genoa and the arch enemy Juventus in the derby della mole. we also drew two blanks with goalless draws at Atalanta and Frosinone.
A 2 week winter break gave us chance to have a breather, but also wanted to keep us sharp, therefore, 2 friendlies gave us 2 wins, intensity wasn’t there in either game but we kept fit, which was the most important.
We then went straight back into the coppa, the first round, which is effectively the last 16 following the qualifying rounds. We started as we left off with a cracking 3-1 victory of Lazio, sending us through to the quarter finals and who do we draw, the enemy, for another mole derby. Our two remaining league games of January saw another 0-0 draw with Bologna and a 4-0 victory over Chievo.
Quarter final time, but more importantly, derby time and keeping Cristiano and co at bay.
Things start fairly well with both teams having a battle in midfield but limiting each other to few chances. On 15 minutes Juve win a corner, Pjanic swings it in but is cleared away Baselli, only as far Douglas Costa who strikes first time, it takes a wicked deflection off Falque and fires into the top corner; Juve take the lead. we move from a Balanced mentality to a more Positive one, this instantly puts us in a more aggressive style and are much more in the faces of our opponents. We huff and puff but nothing can get past the old lady. Then suddenly a breakthrough; Baselli sends Belotti through and he is tripped by Bonucci, the ref points to the spot and a chance for Falque to redeem himself…
He does, 1-1, villain to hero.
We keep pushing for a second and honestly I could see it happening. We just couldn’t get that clear cut chance though and it went to extra time, something I didn’t really want due to their quality, they could cause us some late despair. However, we started just how we finished and capitano Belotti, smashed home a wonderful header on 102 minutes, after some excellent play out wide from Di Silvestri. I didn’t want to change and be more conservative as up until this point we had been the better side. they showed nothing, then as we approached the last few minutes, I encouraged the boys to waste time and drag out the win. We got to 119 minutes and Ronaldo forced a corner, it bounced around the goal mouth like a game of ping pong and before I new it, they scored; another own goal, this time Di Silvestri in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was going to penalties.
So it’s Ronaldo himself to step up first: MISSED! Arguably the best player in the world missed the target from 12 yards.
First up il toro is Falque, remember he already scored from the spot in this game: SAVED! He hits it straight at the keeper.
Next up for Juve is Dybala: GOAL! Juve go 1 up.
Baselli steps up for Torino: GOAL! 1-1
Bernardeshi is up next for Juve: GOAL! 2-1
Next for Torino, capitano Belotti: GOAL! 2-2
Bonucci steps up for Juve: SAVED! Sirigu guesses right and it stays 2-2
Can Zaza give il toro the advantage: GOAL! Yes he can Torino lead 3-2
Final penalty for Juve and Pjanic has to score: GOAL! No problem at all and gives Juve a lifeline. 3-3
Torino’s final penalty, young man Ola Aina, on loan from Chelsea steps up:
Silence in the stadium…
You can here a pin drop it’s so quiet…
Bowen can’t even watch…
GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Torino win! Torino win! Torino win! ( you can imagine an Italian commentator going crazy at this point)
The fallout from our coopa triumph saw us straight back into the coppa again; this time against Fiorentina. Simeone Zaza gave us a the 1-0 win and a slender lead going into the second leg of the semi final.
Then followed Napoli, and this is where our 352 system shows its weaknesses. All sides need to do is have strong wingers, with influential attacking fullbacks and we are outnumbered out wide, we simply could cope with them. Most of our defeats so far have become as a result of this, and although I accept that this is the flaw to this tactic, my inner Wenger is showing and I’ve been reluctant to change. Instead we lose 3-0. This is something that I need to figure out.
then followed a 1-1 draw with Samp, followed by a 2-0 win over Fiorentina, this time in the league and a first goal for Nicolo De Angelis, a young prospect I have promoted and been bringing on as sub most games. He is being trained as a Treq and is in a mentoring group with capitano Belotti and Zaza, both a leader and highly influential member of the squad; Zaza also has a Driven personality.
Meet De Angelis:
We followed that win off with a 1-0 defeat to Udinese who followed Napoli’s plan and overloaded the wide areas.
However, a 0-0 draw in Firenze means that thanks to Zaza’s goal earlier, il toro will go to the coppa italia finale in aprile.
This is a good time to check the Serie A table. We are still sitting in 5th place a 6 point lead over Milan in 6th, but 8 points behind Napoli in 4th. It’s safe to say that 4th place is highly unlikely in the season, but that would have been an over achievement anyway. I am still delighted to be propping the rest of the table up at this stage and quite frankly you said to me would you take a finish in the top 8 at the beginning of the season I would have snapped your hand off. il toro actually finished 7th in real life and have been handed a European spot due to Milan withdrawing themselves due to FFP. So if we can achieve anywhere around that spot, we can say we’ve had a successful season.
I think that’s a good time to leave things.
Come back for the next instalment, we will see where Bowen’s Torino can finish.
Until then, Forza Toro
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