Coppa Italia: Round of 16 / Team rating: 7 / Top scorer: Quagliarella (13)
Europe: Europa League Round of 16
Despite losing one of Serie A’s most lethal strike partnerships, Torino earned a Top 10 finish, Derby success and a thrilling European night at the San Mames, writes Edo Dalmonte.
For the first time since the early nineties, Torino have achieved two consecutive Top-10 seasons, finally giving their fans hope for the future. Having had a torrid time of it alternating between Serie A and B, Granata supporters feared the worst when opening with only one win in six games, having lost lethal strikers Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci during the summer.
Yet nine months later, the Granata are just four points short of last season’s total, and have capably replaced their former stars with a resurgent Fabio Quagliarella and Maxi Lopez, whose European magic was a red card short of qualifying a third Italian side to the quarter-finals.
Even more importantly, Urbano Cairo’s club has finally found a team-builder in Giampiero Ventura, who further boosted the squad with some shrewd signings. It was one thing to finalise the deal for Nikola Maksimovic, quite another to add quality players like Marco Benassi, Quagliarella, Maxi Lopez and Bruno Peres.
These additions made a difference once the squad gelled in 2015. Six points clear of relegation halfway through the season and with a leaky defence, Torino’s rotation was one of the factors that helped the team suddenly kick into gear, adding 35 points in the second half. Theirs was a longer campaign than any other club, playing 54 games.
Up until late April, Ventura’s were the best away team in Serie A in the calendar year, though they squandered that advantage against Genoa (1-5) and Milan (0-3). By then, of course, Europe was far from their minds, being too difficult an objective (they were six points short with two games to go) and a thing of the past, their thrilling 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League Round of 16 being cancelled out by Zenit Saint Petersburg.
They rebuilt after losing star names and beat rivals Juventus for the first time in 20 years, leaving some supporters sobbing with joy in the stands. You can’t put a price on that.
After his experience at Bari, questions abounded about Ventura’s ability to pick up a club and take it to the next level, especially after the club was relegated in 2010-11. No-one’s asking those questions anymore.
A true leader everywhere on the pitch, Glik has become one of Serie A’s most reliable defenders, and one of the most expensive players available in fantasy football with seven goals. Running a system with three at the back is infinitely simpler with talents like Glik and Nikola Maksimovic, another centre-back who could well figure in this column sooner rather than later.
- Torino have given away a record 28 penalties over the last three years, more than any other side from Europe’s Top 5 leagues.
- Torino broke two negative streaks this year, first a winless 27-year rough patch at the Giuseppe Meazza, then a 17-game winless run against hated rivals Juventus, beating them 3-2 at the Olimpico.
- Kamil Glik has earned seven penalties for Torino over the past two seasons. That’s a Serie A record.
|2||DF||Cesare Bovo||14 (1)||-||-|
|3||DF||Kamil Glik||31 (1)||7||-|
|4||DF||Bruno Peres||28 (6)||3||3|
|6||DF||Matteo Darmian||28 (5)||2||1|
|15||DF||Cristian Molinaro||17 (7)||-||1|
|17||DF||Gaston Silva||4 (1)||-||-|
|18||DF||Pontus Jansson||7 (2)||-||-|
|24||DF||Salvatore Masiello||0 (1)||-||-|
|5||MF||Giuseppe Vives||26 (2)||1||4|
|9||MF||Alessandro Gazzi||27 (3)||-||-|
|10||MF||Omar El Kaddouri||25 (7)||3||4|
|14||MF||Alexander Farnerud||15 (7)||1||5|
|16||MF||Marco Benassi||17 (8)||3||2|
|20||MF||Juan Sanchez - Mino||4 (7)||-||1|
|23||MF||Alvaro Gonzalez||1 (3)||-||-|
|25||MF||Ruben Perez||0 (6)||-||-|
|26||MF||Antonio Nocerino||2 (3)||-||-|
|27||MF||Migjen Basha||1 (5)||1||-|
|8||A||Fabio Quagliarella||33 (1)||13||4|
|21||A||Josef Martinez||20 (6)||3||1|
|28||A||Marcelo Larrondo||3 (2)||-||-|
|29||A||Facundo Lescano||0 (1)||-||-|
|30||A||Simone Rosso||0 (2)||-||-|
|31||A||Paulo Barreto||0 (1)||-||-|