Ciro Immobile’s stunning hat-trick helped Torino return to winning ways against struggling Livorno.
It was a dominant display by the home side and from the moment the forward gave Toro the lead, they never looked back. Indeed, the performance by Immobile and strike partner Alessio Cerci made a mockery of Coach Giampiero Ventura’s decision to drop both for last Monday’s game with Napoli.
Toro created the game’s first clear opening on seven minutes, with good work on the right by Jasmin Kurtic ending with him cutting the ball back for the re-called Cerci. His shot from inside the six yard box however was smothered by away keeper Francesco Bardi.
Kurtic himself then sent a volley towards Bardi’s goal ten minutes later which was easily saved.
The visitors offered very little as an attacking force as Toro dictated possession and they got the lead their play deserved on 25 minutes. Immobile’s pinpoint header from a Granata free-kick on the right flew past Bardi and into the corner of the net.
The home side immediately cranked up the pressure in search of a second and Bardi produced three saves in as many minutes to deny Kamil Glik twice and Cerci.
The away side from Tuscany were struggling to cope with the interplay of Toro’s front players and a succession of corners also caused them problems as Glik again went close.
Cerci missed a golden chance to double Toro’s lead shortly before the break when a rare foray forward by the visitors left space in behind their defence.
The 26-year-old exploited it to get himself through on goal but his tame shot was easily saved by Bardi.
The visitors did start to see more of the ball in the final stages of the half and Toro keeper Daniele Padelli had to be alert to keep out Ishak Belfodil’s drive from 20 yards.
Cerci put the ball in the Livorno net two minutes into the second half but play was brought back for an earlier infringement by the home side before Immobile fired high and wide shortly after.
Ventura’s side continued to dominate as they did in the first half and Cerci took too long to pull the trigger following more excellent link up play with Immobile, allowing his shot from inside the area to be blocked.
The home side did double their lead on the hour mark however and it arrived through a familiar source. Immobile got on the end of Kurtic’s lofted pass and, though his finish was somewhat scuffed, it was enough to fly beyond Bardi for the 23-year-old 15th goal of the season.
Mimmo Di Carlo’s relegation strugglers had no response and seven minutes later the mercurial Immobile had completed his hattrick. This time a sweetly struck effort from 25 yards did for Bardi, leaving him helpless as it flew into the corner of the net.
With his team in such a strong position, Ventura could then afford to take off one half of his deadly attacking duo, with Cerci coming off to be replaced by Riccardo Meggiorini.
Immobile followed soon after to a standing ovation, with his Coach no doubt mindful of a busy period of matches coming up.
Toro then took their foot off the gas and this allowed the Amaranto to pull a goal back with a minute remaining. Padelli needlessly punched a corner from the left and the ball fell to the left foot of substitute Luca Siligardi, who showed great technique to volley home from the edge of the area.