Torino 2-2 Milan: Rossoneri “Hand” Granata a Draw… (Serie A Matchday 13)

What is a handball? What is not a handball? How to define intention? These are just a few of the questions to be raised, once again, after a doubtful night of refereeing in the Serie A. Torino vs. Milan serves as a good example that even an experienced ref like Stefano Farina can sometimes reduce the difference between a good and a bad call to a very thin line.

Was Pratali’s handball on Ronaldinho’s cross a penalty? Was Kaladze’s handball unintentional? The two offenses were probably of equal entity, yet what could have been a nail-in-the-coffin in favor of the Rossoneri rapidly transformed into an equalizing spot-kick for the Granata. All in all, based on both team’s performances tonight, the 2-2 draw was not a scandalous result. Although Khaka Kaladze won’t quite see it the same way…

(From Gazzetta): With his tenure on the Torino bench very much in the balance, manager Gianni De Biasi took his chances and selected a very strong attacking line-up with two important changes: Matteo Rubin was placed back in defence and left his usual position to Alessandro Rosina, while at the front Rolando Bianchi was paired with Roberto Stellone. On the other end, Carlo Ancelotti replied with the return of Andrea Pirlo, after 69 days of absence. The Azzurri playmaker spiced up the Rossoneri’s game, lead by an all-Auriverde trio in attack (Kaká-Ronaldinho-Pato).

Torino’s compact 4-4-2 formation relied heavily on Rosina, in good form tonight and the anchor of his team’s offensive initiatives. Andrea Pirlo provided inspiration on the other end, with AC Milan’s stars multiplying their presence both on the wings and the central fronts of attack. The home team applied strong one-on-one pressure and closed all spaces (hampering the Rossoneri’s short-passing flow), all the while Rosina was wreaking havoc on the left wing, really pushing Bonera to the limit in order to contain him.

In the first few minutes, the Granata’s speed began taking advantage of Milan’s slowness, as well as their lack of intensity and ideas. Blerim Dzzemaili showed the full extent of his long-range shooting potential, scaring Abbiati with two beautiful attempts which paved the way for a well-deserved Toro lead. In minute 25, a bad touch by Gattuso on the edge of the Milan box left the ball to Rosina, and Rosinaldo’s cross for Stellone’s header was inch-perfect: out of Abbiati’s reach and 1-0 Torino.

It was a wake-up call for the Rossoneri, who finally began to take the game seriously and utilise all of their assets. With pressuring intensity to match their overwhelming ball possession, Ancelotti’s team rapidly put out the lights in the Toro box. In minute 29, Alexandre Pato got behind a good Gattuso pass (having played as a Pirlo surrogate for two months must have had positive effets), turned around and beat Sereni with impeccable class. 1-1.

Torino were really struggling, keeping their defence very low and refusing to come out of their box. Milan continued to pushed and were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area for a challenge on Kaká. And despite Pirlo’s presence on the field, it was Ronaldinho doing the honours… and how. Perfect geometry, great inswinging shot that Sereni didn’t even see. In full Samba-style, celebration dance included. 2-1 Milan at the break.

The second half began with a shot by Pato brushing against the crossbar, but it was just a highlight for the Rossoneri. Torino, just like at the start of the match, had momentum back and pressured hard, applying speed and piercing through the Milan lines. Dzemaili gave it a try from long-rance again but the real miracle came in the 53rd, courtesy of Kaladze who blocked Stellone’s shooting attempt at the last possible moment. Milan suffered, although their “working class” complement was worth praising (Gattuso especially, invaluable at winning possession back) and they were always dangerous on counter-attacks.

In the 55th minute, Farina didn’t see a clear handball by Pratali on a shot from Ronaldinho, set up by Kaká’s in the umpteenth counterattack by Milan. The Brazilian wonder-trio continued their Samba show, such as Ronaldinho’s exquisite pass to Pato, whose right-footed effort was deflected by Sereni’s sharp reflexes.

At this point, the substitution merry-go-round gave us Elvis Abbruscato and Paolo Zanetti (on for Bianchi and Barone), as well as Emerson (on for Pirlo). That last sub was Carlo Ancelotti’s attempt to put an end to Milan’s defensive leaks in midfield. Torino’s spirit was strong however, and the Granata eventually found the equalizer through Rosina’s spot-kick (after a handball from Kaladze that was certainly less clear than Pratali’s on Dinho’s shot). The final minutes also saw the apperance of Andriy Shevchenko, but it wasn’t enough. De Biasi was safe, while Milan missed another chance to catch up to Inter, now with a three-point lead in the standings.


Torino F.C.
[Match Highlights]
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 25’ Stellone (T), 29’ Pato (M), 34’ Ronaldinho (M), 78’ pen. Rosina (T).
TORINO (4-4-2): Sereni – Diana, Natali, Pratali, Rubin– Colombo, Dzemaili, Barone (72’ P.Zanetti) – Rosina (84’ Ogbonna) – Bianchi (72’ Abbruscato), Stellone (bench: Calderoni, Pisano, Ventola, Franceschini). Coach: De Biasi.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Bonera, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski – Gattuso (79’ Shevchenko), Pirlo (74’ Emerson), Seedorf – Kaká, Ronaldinho – Pato (bench: Dida, Antonini, Favalli, F.Inzaghi, Flamini). Coach: Ancelotti.


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Posted in Milan, Serie A, Torino |

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