Andrea Belotti finally got his first goal of 2019 with a screamer, as Torino beat Chievo 3-0 with two goals in stoppages to continue their European push.
It was also a special game, as Salvatore Sirigu set a new all-time club record, surpassing the 517 minutes of Serie A football unbeaten by Luciano Castellani in the 1976-77 campaign.
Tomas Rincon returned from suspension, but is only on the bench along with Koffi Djidji, as the defender was not 100 per cent fit. Intriguingly, Daniele Baselli was pushed up into a forward role in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Ola Aina pulled out with a muscular issue during the warm-up, so Cristian Ansaldi stepped in. Chievo dropped Mariusz Stepinski for Filip Djordjevic, but Emanuele Giaccherini was back from his ban.
The veteran wasted a golden early opportunity, sent clear by an inspired Ezequiel Schelotto cross-field pass on to horribly scuff wide. However, moments later Schelotto slipped and hyper-extended his knee, stretchered off in agony.
Toro continued to pump in crosses without much effect, while Chievo went on the counter with Jaroszynski’s shot charged down and Filip Djordjevic had the only shot on goal of the first half, smothered easily by Salvatore Sirigu.
Chievo should’ve been in front straight after the restart, as Sirigu made a fantastic one-handed reaction save on Djordjevic from point-blank range, then the striker prodded the rebound straight at the goalkeeper.
This seemed to wake Toro up and Stefano Sorrentino got down to palm an Armando Izzo diving header round the base of the near post.
Iago Falque limped off, but Alex Berenguer’s free kick found Andrea Belotti at the back post only for the striker to steer the header wide from point-blank range.
Sorrentino flew to palm a Simone Zaza free kick round the base of the post, but the deadlock was finally broken – and with it Belotti’s lengthy goal drought – in some style.
Belotti surged forward from midfield and unleashed a right-foot missile from 25 metres out that gave Sorrentino no chance at the near post. It was Il Gallo’s first goal since December 22.
Chievo tried to fight back, as Tomas Rincon got back to ensure Mariusz Stepinski couldn’t get a clean header at the back stick, then Assane Diousse hit a scorcher inches over the bar from 30 metres out.
Torino made the points safe in stoppages, as Rincon won back possession himself in midfield and smashed into the near top corner from the edge of the box with another powerful strike.
Chievo crumbled and there was still time for Zaza to add a third, anticipating his defender on a hopeful long ball to slide the finish beneath Sorrentino one-on-one.
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