Sometimes, big surprises can come from where you least expect it. On paper, this Torino vs. Parma match-up had very few people fretting in anticipation: with most of the Granata supporters eagerly awaiting the Tuesday derby with Juventus, and the Gialloblu’s season summarized by ‘an in & out battle of the relegation zone’, there really was not much interest for the neutral supporter. But boy… anyone that did go to the Turin Olimpico Saturday afternoon sure didn’t feel sorry. 8 goals, one post, one crossbar, one missed penalty call, and lots and lots of fair play. Almost surreal for a Serie A fixture.
At the end of the day, those that will feel most sorry for the final scoreline will be Parma. Domenico Di Carlo’s team is really having a rough season to say the least (the Gialloblu haven’t managed to win a single away game the entire year), but blowing away a 3-goal lead must be really be burning inside for the Parma players. But let’s proceed in order.
The biggest emotions of the match took place in the first half: 6 goals and a non-penalty call for handball, at the time when Torino was up by one. Indeed, despite Parma’s initial aggressive debut, the home team were the first to get on the scoreboard: exploiting a long ball forward by Di Loreto, Roberto Stellone got in behind the Parma defense, resisted the return of Fernando Couto, and beat Luca Bucci with a powerful low drive between the keeper’s legs. 1-0 Torino.
The goal galvanized Novellino’s men, who upped the tempo and tactical placement of their players, keeping their Gialloblu opponents inside their own half for a good while. Around minute 15, Torino could have obtained a penalty for a handball inside the Parma box (Damiano Zenoni the culprit), but referee Nicola Ayroldi decided to wave play on. It would have probably made a big difference in the events to follow.
During Torino’s best playing period, Parma equalized: minute 29, McDonald Mariga (I swear that’s his name) stole the ball inside the Torino box, and launched a backpass for Andrea Gasbarroni. The ex-Juve trainee controlled it and directed a low shot way out of Matteo Sereni’s reach. 1-1. Not even 3 minutes had passed, when Gasbarroni (yet again) lit up the magic light and invented a marvelous free-kick strike from 25m, straight into the top left corner of the Torino goal. 2-1 Parma.
If you thought Parma’s second goal was worth the entrance ticket, the third one (3 minutes from the end of the half) must have left you dumbfounded. Following a Parravicini cross from the left cleared by Natali, the ball rebounded to Stefano Morrone 5-6 meters outside the box. The Parma midfielder didn’t think about it twice, and armed an absolute storming volley with his right foot, swerving into the top right corner of Sereni’s goal!! 3-1 Parma, and undoubtedly the goal of the week (I defy anyone to score a better one this week-end).
Wait it’s not over: time for two more goals before the break. What TWO?? Yes two. Torino didn’t even have the time for kick-off, that their opponents made it four: the Granata defense went to sleep allowing Igor Budan to get through on net, and the Croatian striker didn’t fail the finish. 4-1 Parma, but not for long. Indeed, in the last play of the half, Cesare Natali had the chance to compensate for his earlier mistake, and calmly headed an Alessandro Rosina free-kick from close-range (and virtually unmarked). 4-2 Parma at the break, with 45 more minutes to go. Incredible stuff at the Olimpico of Turin.
Walter Novellino must have really pulled the ears of his players at the break, because Torino came back onto the field with a different attitude in the 2nd period. Sequentially inserting David Di Michele, Alvaro Recoba, and Nicola ventola, the Granata’s manager intentions were very clear: get those two goals back at all costs, even with the risk of conceding a few more. A very real risk, especially if one looks at Mariga’s 63rd minute crossbar, which could have brought the score to 5-2. Instead Torino pulled another step closer to the draw, when a Recoba corner-kick from the left found Stellone inside the box, and the Granata striker re-directed the cross inside the bottom-left corner of Sereni’s net. 4-3, and Parma now decidedly under pressure.
Too much pressure eventually, for a team which at the end of tonight will still be looking for their first away win of the season. In minute 82, a long ball by Sereni found the header of Stellone for the flick-on, allowing David Di Michele to slip between Couto and Falcone, and beat the Parma keeper with a chipped shot. 4-4. And would you believe if I told you that Torino actually came close to winning this? In stoppage time, a Gianluca Comotto right-wing cross found the header of Nicola Ventola inside the box… straight onto the crossbar!!
The Granata really dodged a big bullet on this one, but in the end the players must really be praised for their determination and the way they battled to come from 3 goals behind! If Torino plays with the same intensity vs. Juventus, we’re in for a lava-hot ‘Derby della Mole’ on Tuesday.
If any of you are interested in extended highlights of this match, you can find them here on the official Torino site (watch out, 25MB file). Else see the YouTube link below.
|GOALSCORERS: 11′ Stellone (T), 29′, 32′ Gasbarroni (P), 42′ Morrone (P), 43′ Budan (P), 45′ Natali (T), 69′ Stellone (T), 82’ Di Michele (T).|
|TORINO (4-4-2): Sereni – Comotto, Di Loreto, Natali, M.Pisano – Diana, Corini (64’ Recoba), P.Zanetti, Lazetic (46’ Di Michele) – Stellone, Rosina (80’ Ventola). (bench: Gomis, Lanna, Grella, Barone). Coach: Novellino.|
|PARMA (4-4-1-1): Bucci – Castellini, Falcone, Couto, D.Zenoni – Mariga, Parravicini (92’ Cigarini), Morrone, Pisanu – Gasbarroni (75’ Morfeo) – Budan (65’ Corradi). (bench: Pavarini, Rossi, C.Lucarelli, Reginaldo). Coach: Di Carlo.|