The Turin Derby is one of the most eagerly anticipated in calcio. And with good reason. It has provided many wonderful highlights down the years. From the very first edition in 1907 – won by the Granata – to today, both sides of the Turin divide can fondly recall memorable moments.
Recent history suggests only one result. If so, it may seal Juve’s latest Scudetto, depending on other results. If not, they’ll be mighty close. While Torino have not scored a goal in seven encounters – dating back to 2001-02 – or won since 1994-95, a derby is never that simple. The majority are keenly-contested.
A Derby evokes passions like no other clash. Yet it’s not only the fans who feel these passions. Just ask Enzo Maresca, the Juventus midfielder who in 2001-02 produced one of the most iconic Mole images. With the Bianconeri 2-1 down in the 89th minute he netted a fine header to earn Juve a crucial point. But it’s the celebration which lives long in the memory. Imitating Toro striker Marco Ferrante’s earlier post-goal party, Maresca ran to nowhere in particular, displaying his ‘bull horns’ as he did so.
Toro fans felt anger then but the first Derby of 1967-68 offered poignant joy. A 24-year-old Luigi Meroni was one of Serie A’s most charismatic figures. His death on October 15th shook the club. At the Stadio Comunale the following Sunday Meroni’s close friend Nestor Combin stole the show. He scored a hat-trick, while Alberto Carelli – wearing Meroni’s No 7 – also netted as the Curva Maratona shouted Meroni’s name. The 4-0 result remains Torino’s biggest Derby victory in the Serie A era.
It took nearly 30 years to see the next hat-trick. As Juventus went from strength to strength in the 1990s, Torino were crippled by financial issues. While they managed a clean sweep in 1994-95 – with Ruggerio Rizzitelli netting a quartet of goals – Toro would eventually yo-yo between Serie A and B. In 1995-96 they were relegated, but not before Juve exacted revenge with a 5-0 thumping in the first season showdown. Gianluca Vialli would be the player to emulate Combin.
Not even ‘Il Grande Torino’ could boast such a scoreline. The legendary side enjoyed their last Mole victory in February 1949, less than three months before the Superga air disaster. Ezio Loik grabbed a brace in the 3-1 victory. That was Juve’s seventh consecutive winless Turin encounter, but they would claim the first post-Superga. In a sign of things to come Giampiero Boniperti netted the first of his 14 Mole goals. The legendary Juventus figure is the current all-time leading scorer.
The 1970s through to Torino’s relegation in 1988-89 proved a highly-competitive era. Both clubs were perennial Scudetto contenders. Both wore the tricolore. Toro celebrated a fine 2-0 victory in 1975-76, the year of their only post-Superga championship. Iconic Granata figures Francesco Graziani and Paolino Pulici were on target in a devastating three minute spell. While two usual scorers decided that affair, an unusual brace from Gaetano Scirea was instrumental in La Vecchia Signora’s 4-2 win in 1981-82. Toro raced to an early lead, but it was 3-2 at half-time thanks in part to Scirea. Liam Brady then settled the clash.
The Granata exacted revenge 12 months later following a breathtaking five minute barrage. Giovanni Trapattoni’s reigning champions led 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining. They were seemingly comfortable until a three goal salvo from Giuseppe Dossena, Alessandro Bonesso and Fortunato Torrisi. Torino incredibly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. It was described by Tuttosport as a “crazy, crazy, crazy derby.”
The most unique affair was a UEFA Cup playoff at the conclusion of the 1987-88 campaign. Juve were attempting to keep a 25-year European appearance record intact, Torino were seeking a return to the continent. They finished level on points and following a scoreless clash, the Bianconeri were eventually triumphant on penalties.
Months before Maresca’s great or unsavoury – depending on your colours – moment, the Derby produced an enthralling game. Juventus hammered the Granata and shot to a three goal advantage by the interval. Yet Torino fashioned a remarkable recovery to stun the Bianconeri and earn a 3-3 draw.
Since 2001-02 it has been slim pickings for the seven-time Scudetto winners. Juventus have bookended their recent period of dominance with two big victories. In between they earned four hard-fought wins in five contests. This Sunday’s 136th Serie A edition – for Torino the first true home derby since the iconic Stadio Filadelfia last hosted a Mole clash in 1960 – could be the latest to add to a long line of memorable moments. Especially if it finishes one of two ways – ending Torino’s drought or kick-starting the Juventus party.