Torino started this week 4 match at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino like a house on fire, and were awarded an early penalty when Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno brought down Sasa Lukic in the penalty area, and Granata captain and talisman Andrea Belotti duly converted the spot kick in the 4th minute with great confidence and aplomb.
Cagliari were not daunted however, and Razvan Marin unleashed a shot on goal in the 9th minute, which was palmed away by Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. The Sardinians were subsequently rewarded for their pressure, which had amped up since the Torino goal, when Joao Pedro tapped in at the back post in the 12th minute for an equaliser.
Cagliari then took the lead in the 19th minute, with some catastrophic Torino defending: a Lyanco slip; allowing Giovani Simeone to coolly slot the ball into the top corner.
The game settled into a holding pattern, without many clear chances from either team, and half time came with Cagliari leading 2-1.
Torino were back level within five minutes of the 2nd half, with Belotti brilliantly volleying in a Mërgim Vojvoda cross with his left boot for his second golazo and a Torino equaliser.
The Granata were undone, however, in the 73rd minute, when Sirigu spilled a Nahitan Nández cross, resulting in a tap in for Simeone’s second goal and a 3-2 Cagliari lead.
With the game winding down, Torino wasted potentially their last opportunity when Simone Verdi blasted over the bar from fifteen yards out in the 93rd minute. But then a minute later, Belotti’s spectacular bicycle kick attempt was well saved by Cragno, thus sealing the three points for Cagliari.
Torino are now rooted to the bottom of Serie A, in 20th place, having played one less game, due to the postponement with Genoa.
Belotti was magnificent with two goals, and almost a third: the Granata captain leading his side from the front, and one of the few players worthy of the jersey. Sasa Lukic and Mërgim Vojvoda were also impressive, but too many of Torino’s players performed below par. I will single out Ricardo Rodriguez for criticism, who was totally outplayed down the left hand side by Cagliari winger Nahitan Nández. Torino is a big club, and the Granata fans expect results. Zero points from three matches is unacceptable.
Torino’s next chance to open their Serie A 2020/2021 account comes on Friday night, away to Sassuolo, at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia. The Neroverdi are currently sitting 2nd in the table, and will, on current form, pose a massive challenge to the Granata Ragazzi.
Cagliari meanwhile, buoyed by the three points and sitting in 13th place, go back home to the Sardegna arena to face newly promoted and 19th placed Crotone, on Sunday afternoon.