SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 15 - 2 Dec 2017 (19.45 UK)
Torino 1 - 1 Atalanta
Nkoulou 45 (T), Ilicic 54 (A)
Stadio Grande Torino

Torino were held to a fourth draw on the bounce, as Josip Ilicic cancelled out the Nicolas N’Koulou opener for an Atalanta point.

The Granata continue to struggle for goals, as Andrea Belotti hasn’t found the net since September 20. The visitors are doing better in the Europa League than Serie A this term, but welcomed back Leonardo Spinazzola after a long lay-off, even if losing Marten De Roon. Atalanta’s last Serie A success in Turin was 21 back in April 2007, followed by three draws from eight visits.

Torino wore special edition green jerseys with the Bull symbol bowing in mourning to honour Chapecoense, the Brazilian team that was practically wiped out by a plane crash a year ago. The two clubs are twinned, as Il Grande Torino suffered a similar fate in 1949.

An early Jasmin Kurtic header was smothered by Salvatore Sirigu, but Cristian Ansaldi pulled up with a muscular problem early on, forced to make way for Antonio Barreca.

Toro’s first real chance came after 25 minutes, an Adem Ljajic free kick curled just wide, but Kurtic was again dangerous on the counter.

Joel Obi went very close with a cross-shot that was deflected across the face of goal by Etrit Berisha, then the goalkeeper performed a tough save on the Ljajic solo run as part of the same move.

Papu Gomez, sporting a new bleached hairstyle, stung Sirigu’s gloves from distance, but Torino broke the deadlock right on the stroke of half-time.

Berisha mistimed his run off the line for a Ljajic corner and defender Nicolas Nkoulou got the towering header for his debut Serie A goal.

Josip Ilicic came off the bench and within 30 seconds had forced a save from Sirigu at the near post. At the other end, a cheeky Iago Falque back-heel set up Ljajic only for the Serbian to scuff the finish.

Ilicic made a big impact, as he sprung the offside trap on an Andrea Petagna assist and fired into the roof of the net to draw Atalanta level.

Sirigu was almost caught off his line from midfield, but Ilicic didn’t get a clean enough finish and the goalkeeper scrambled back as Atalanta started to dominate.

Petagna chipped up another impressive assist that Ilicic only grazed with his head to skim the far post.

Belotti drilled just wide of the upright from substitute Lucas Boye’s pass, then moments later his angled drive forced a tough one-handed low save from Berisha.

Spinazzola’s cross-shot and deflected follow-up were both beaten away by Sirigu, while Lorenzo De Silvestri made a decisive sliding block to prevent Papu Gomez tapping in the Ilicic through ball.

In stoppages, Belotti had a sudden sprint to the by-line and pulled it back, but none of his teammates had followed the run.

Immediately, Atalanta went on the counter and Sirigu rushed off his line to tackle Papu Gomez. VAR did not need to decide if that was a penalty foul, because he was also offside.

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Torino: Sirigu; De Silvestri, N’Koulou, Burdisso, Ansaldi (Barreca 15); Obi (Boye 72), Rincon, Baselli; Falque (Edera 79), Belotti, Ljajic
Atalanta: Berisha; Toloi, Caldara, Masiello; Hateboer, Cristante, Freuler, Spinazzola; Kurtic (Ilicic 46), Gomez; Petagna (Cornelius 72)
Ref: Tagliavento