Andrea Belotti made his comeback after a month out and Torino got back to winning ways, coming from behind to beat Cagliari 2-1.
The Granata were in crisis and Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic threatened with the sack after two points from five rounds, but he had Andrea Belotti back ahead of schedule, having been originally ruled out for four to five weeks with a knee problem on October 1. Antonio Barreca and Tomas Rincon sat out bans with Lyanco injured, but they returned to a 4-3-3 system. The Sardinians fired Massimo Rastelli to bring back Diego Lopez and he got his first win on Wednesday night with Leonardo Pavoletti’s dramatic 95th-minute winner. Andrea Cossu, Alessio Cragno, Fabio Pisacane and Alessandro Deiola missed out.
The last eight encounters between these sides, home and away, have now provided a total 32 goals.
Adem Ljajic whipped a free kick just past the far post and Cristian Ansaldi’s low drive was smothered, the same fate befalling a Belotti effort from distance.
There were concerns over how confident Il Gallo would be after his injury, but he attempted an overhead kick after 22 minutes.
Just as Torino were pinning Cagliari back and wasting a series of corners, they went behind on a classic counter-attack. Diego Farias controlled a long ball and rolled it across for Nicolò Barella, whose angled drive nestled into the far bottom corner.
Rafael flapped a Ljajic free kick round the far post, but eventually Torino equalised when Ansaldi sprung the offside trap on a chipped pass over the top and found Iago Falque to tap in at the back stick.
The second half began in odd fashion, as Marco Andreolli lost a tooth after an accidental collision with Belotti, then Salvatore Sirigu’s clearance struck Baselli on the head and left his teammate dazed.
There were penalty appeals for a Nicolas N’Koulou shirt tug on Pavoletti, but from the resulting corner Marco Capuano nodded wide from six yards.
Ljajic should’ve scored on 53 minutes when Belotti won back possession and Falque rolled it across, but the Serbian fired wide when totally unmarked from the edge of the penalty area.
Ljajic went over in the box under a Barella challenge, but the referee waved play on. Ansaldi curled a marvellous cross to the back post, but Belotti could only nod it on to the side-netting, as he was clearly rusty.
Toro were building the pressure, as Belotti’s pull-back found Joel Obi and Rafael turned it wide, while from the resulting corner the goalkeeper deflected a Daniele Baselli cross on to the underside of the bar and Obi flung himself at the ricochet from a yard.
Joao Pedro was fortunate not to receive a second yellow card when he hauled back Belotti on the counter. Baselli really should’ve scored on 85 minutes, but volleyed wide from eight yards.
There were six minutes of stoppages due to the many injuries and Sirigu was booked for dissent when he seemed to be barged over, but the referee did not give a foul.