There is no doubting it any more – Torino are back. The Granata surprised everyone with their surge into European contention last season, but after a difficult start to this campaign in which they struggled in the absence of the departed Alessio Cerci and Ciro Immobile, their success was written off by many as a flash in the pan.
But since their unfortunate last-gasp defeat in the Derby della Mole back in November, Giampiero Ventura has led his side to an impressive run of four wins and four draws in their last eight games, including three consecutive wins in their last three outings.
Sunday’s 5-1 hammering of Sampdoria was Torino’s most emphatic message yet of their improvement. Praise has been lavished upon Samp this season for their battling performances and the rock solid defence that has kept them fighting for a Champions Leag丰博棋牌ue place.
Therefore to concede five, including three at the hands of former Blucerchiato hero Quagliarella, was an unp博狗网recedented setback.
Quag’s refusal to celebrate his goals in front of his old fans would hardly have been a consolation for those travelling from Genoa, who would have expected a strong performance given their recent form and record of not losing away in the fixture since 2007-08.
It was an afternoon in which everything went right for the Granata. Not only did they shake off their poor record against Samp, but Quagliarella’s second goal came from the spot after they had missed their previous five consecutive penalties. Also, putting five past Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side condemned Sampdoria to their heaviest defeat of the season. Before kick-off, only Juventus and Roma had conceded fewer than the Blucerchiati.
Mihajlovic proclaimed that he was ashamed of the performance and his squad’s day off has been cancelled to be replaced by a double training session in the wake of their embarrassment.
For Quagliarella, a hat-trick was at once a reminder of the striker’s undisputed talent and often startling inconsistency. Although the former Juventus man is now on eight goals for the season alongside the impressive Simone Zaza and Manolo Gabbiadini, he had only scored once since mid-October before Sunday’s rout.
The idea of signing Quag and Amauri as a partnership to replace Immobile and Cerci has not worked out as hoped, as the former Parma striker only scored his first Serie A goal for the Granata in yesterday’s win.
However, Ventura is finding a way to make his team tick as a unit and the hard work put in on the training ground to produce a threat from set pieces is evidently paying off, given that centre-back Kamil Glik is second in the club’s scoring charts with five goals.
The Granata’s recent form has lifted them away from the relegation scrap and back into contention for a late surge into Europe. Sunday’s win moved Toro above Inter and only two points behind Palermo in seventh place. It has taken its time, but Ventura’s Torino are once again pulling up trees in the top half of Serie A.
Elsewhere, Sampdoria would’ve been relieved to see that a decimated Lazio fell to a shock 2-1 defeat away to Cesena, a hugely important result for the Seahorses that keeps them within achievable distance of salvation. However, Napoli’s 2-1 win over Chievo has extended the Partenopei’s lead in third place to five points.
Rafa Benitez’s side are now in fact closer 菠菜收录to second place than fourth, after Roma could only draw 1-1 at home to struggling Empoli on Saturday night. Rudi Garcia would have been relieved to watch Juventus fail to take advantage of their slip, as the Bianconeri stuttered to a surprising 0-0 draw with Udinese.
Sassuolo pulled off a historic result by beating Inter for the first time ever in a 3-1 home win, helping eradicate the memory of two 7-0 defeats in two years. While Inter stuttered again, Milan finally got their first win of 2015 as Jeremy Menez scored twice in a 3-1 win over Parma, whose relegation appears more inevitable with each passing week.