Valter Birsa and Alessio Cerci secured Torino’s thoroughly deserved victory over Atalanta.
When these sides met in Bergamo in September, Toro emerged with a record-breaking 5-1 victory. Danilo D’Ambrosio sat out a ban for the home side, while Giacomo Bonaventura and Davide Biondini were suspended for Atalanta, joining the injured Luca Cigarini.
The big news was that Angelo Ogbonna made his first start since undergoing a hernia operation in mid-December, but Mario Alberto Santana was injured.
Toro should’ve taken the lead on 15 minutes, as Paulo Vitor Barreto sprung the offside trap on a Rolando Bianchi through ball to go completely clear on goal, but incredibly ballooned over with only the ‘keeper to beat. It was a shocking miss.
Alessio Cerci cut back inside and unleashed a powerful strike that Andrea Consigli fingertipped out from under the crossbar.
Consigli was kept busy in the first half and again flew to palm a Bianchi snapshot over the bar. Cerci’s free kick was also deflected out for a corner.
Toro were pouring forward and took a deserved lead before the break with Cerci. He burst down the right side from a cross-field pass and smashed the angled drive across Perin into the far bottom corner.
After the restart Bianchi’s strike whistled just wide and Atalanta had penalty appeals for a German Denis free kick charged down by the wall, possibly by an arm.
Barreto again missed a great chance, as this time the ball bounced and his half-volley clipped the crossbar from seven yards at a tight angle.
The referee pointed to the spot for Atalanta when Inter-owned Marko Livaja was brought down by Jean-Francois Gillet, who until that point had barely dirtied his gloves. The goalkeeper also allowed Denis’ penalty to squirm under his body, as the visitors scored with their first real shot on target.
However, Toro restored their advantage three minutes from time when a cross was whipped in from the right for Valter Birsa to volley in from six yards, getting in front of a very distracted and sluggish Lionel Scaloni.
Cerci stung the goalkeeper’s palms again in stoppages, to reiterate Torino’s superiority.