Torino’s recent woes in Emilia-Romagna continued in Serie A’s Sunday lunch match as they drew 0-0 with SPAL at the Stadio Paolo Mazza.
It is now eight straight winless visits to the region for Toro, though it will be the hosts who will end the most disappointed though, having faced ten men for the majority of the second half after Nicolas Nkoulou’s red card yet still being unable to carve out many clear-cut chances.
Both sets of supporters’ efforts were notable in the early stages, even if those of the players weren’t. It started as a largely cagey affair and sporadic yellow cards punctuating the opening 45 minutes.
Any signs the game showed of flowing were regularly interrupted by official Maurizio Mariani who penalised even the slightest of contact on a number of occasions.
Andrea Belotti was Toro’s main threat and he had two chances in relatively quick succession. First, he drove from deep with the ball and hit a low shot from the edge of the box that Emiliano Viviano did well to turn behind. A corner moments later found him free but the volley he attempted never looked easy and it flew over.
Mirco Antenucci should have done better for the hosts when he got through on the left, but he drove his effort off target while Mohamed Fares had a header tipped over by Salvatore Sirigu.
Armando Izzo could have scored for the second consecutive week but he headed tamely wide before Leonardo Semplici’s side came to life.
Fares had another effort saved by Sirigu as he fired one in from the edge of the box, which the goalkeeper held well and with SPAL upping it on the pitch, the fans responded by raising to volume in the Curva Ovest.
Nicolas Nkoulou saw red for a second yellow card and the Biancazzurri’s dominant spell only became more extreme, but they still lacked a way through.
Mattia Valoti had a golden opportunity as a ball fell from him in front of goal but he somehow volleyed wide.
SPAL lack a spark
Alberto Paloschi and Antenucci were busy and rarely had stood still but SPAL were missing a link to actually provide them with any service.
The pair alternated in dropping deep in search of the ball and did what they could to drag the Toro defence around but Paloschi, in particular, is best used on the shoulder of the last defender but he never got fed as he requires.
Manuel Lazzari was relatively quiet, while Fares’ brightest moments came as he got on the end of chances himself rather than acting as creator.
Jasmin Kurtic will be disappointed with his involvement and he had the most opportunity to create but he made the wrong decision when in possession in key areas too often, regularly taking one touch more than was necessary, taking all of the urgency from the attack and allowing Torino to settle.
Crosses and loose balls looked to be their best chance of finding a way to goal and Valoti’s miss had the Stadio Paolo Mazza – including the midfielder – head-in-hands in disbelief.
Home struggles continue
Despite excellent support, SPAL have struggled at home this season and are now winless in their last nine Serie A matches at the Paolo Mazza.
After an impressive start to this campaign, Semplici’s side have disappointed, particularly in Ferrara and have collected just 11 points from their 10 games at home.
In those ten matches, they have scored a poor tally of nine goals and conceded 12.