Torino vs Fiorentina Match Report

Defender Nicolas Nkoulou plays the ball in Torino’s Week 1 match against Fiorentina. Picture credits: Torino FC Instagram.

It had been since October 1976 since Torino FC won in Tuscany against Fiorentina, but the Granata were full of hope as the 89th Serie A season got underway at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. With a new coach in Marco Giampaolo and a new formation, (Torino playing four at the back instead of three, for the first time since the days of Siniša Mihajlović), the Granata looked to put the memories of the previous nightmarish season behind them, against a Fiorentina side looking to challenge for European football.

The Granata were immediately on the defensive to start the match, with La Viola controlling territory and possession early on. The first chance of the match came for Fiorentina in the 18th minute from a sumptuous Cristiano Biraghi cross, which striker Christian Kouamé somehow headed wide.

Torino’s first chance of the match came in the 22nd minute: after a brilliantly worked through ball by the Granata midfield, Alejandro Berenguer’s volley was saved smartly by La Viola’s Polish goalkeeper Bartłomiej Drągowski.

With half time approaching, in the 43rd minute, from a free kick, Fiorentina came close through Kouamé again, with his point blank header saved by Granata keeper Salvatore Sirigu, the Italian international getting down smartly to also gather the rebound off Cristian Ansaldi, thereby preventing an own goal from the Argentinian.

In first half stoppage time, Biraghi again delivered a dangerous cross to Christian Kouamé, the Ivorian’s header on target this time, but was foiled by a brilliant diving save by Sirigu.

Half time arrived thankfully for Torino, with Fiorentina applying the pressure late on in the half, but the Granata went in level, thanks to their brilliant goalkeeper Sirigu.

Fiorentina’s early second half pressure was almost rewarded in the 47th minute, with the Granata’s nightmare Biraghi putting the ball into the Torino net, only to be ruled out for offside by the linesman.

Torino was on the defensive for much of the second half, but their hard work was undone in the 78th minute, with Federico Chiesa’s cross turned in by Gaetano Castrovilli for a 1-0 Fiorentina lead.

In the 83rd minute, the Granata had a rare chance, with substitute Sasa Lukic pouncing on a Fiorentina error, only for Simone Zaza’s tame effort to be easily gathered by Drągowski.

Sirigu saved in the 84th minute off the goalscorer Castrovilli to keep Torino’s hopes alive, and again even more spectacularly in the 90th minute from a stinging shot by La Viola substitute Patrick Cutrone, but it was all in vain for the Granata, with Belotti’s stoppage time effort ruled out for an obvious offside; the Granata dropping three points in their first match of the 2020/2021 Serie A season.

Overall it was a frustrating match for Torino fans to watch. The attacking play from the Granata forwards was almost non-existent, and the defence was regularly opened up by Biraghi and Chiesa from out wide, especially Biraghi on the left. The final score would have been a lot worse for Torino, if not for Sirigu’s brilliant goalkeeping.

It doesn’t get any easier for Torino next week, with the Granata hosting top 4 side Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino next Saturday afternoon, while Fiorentina, fresh off a well deserved three points, travel to the San Siro to take on Scudetto hopefuls Internazionale Milan.

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