STADIO GRANDE TORINO (Turin) – It’s a mystery as to how Torino’s game against Inter on Saturday saw its 90 minutes played, but the visitors managed a 3-0 win to keep in touch with Juventus atop the Serie A table.
The Milanese side hadn’t won in any of their last five meetings with Toro and the weather would have favoured the hosts, but it was the Scudetto chasers who best handled things and got the points.
Antonio Conte showed concerns on Friday about his players’ sex lives putting their fitness and health at risk so he can’t have been pleased by the circumstances in which they played in Piemonte.
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) November 23, 2019
The conditions were miserable all through the day in Turin and it showed on the pitch, with the downpour showing no signs of stopping and even delaying kickoff as the lines on the pitch needed repainting.
Things looked troubling from the off and although the pitch itself wasn’t waterlogged ahead of the game, the patches all around suggested that it was only a matter of time, and so it proved.
Less than five minutes were needed to see that this wasn’t a night for football, and it was going to be a case of pouncing on an opportunity that would open the scoring.
That pouncing was done by Lautaro Martinez. A ball found its way between Toro’s backline and their box which he leapt upon. Driving forward against the rain, he kept his head and finished excellently into Salvatore Sirigu’s goal.
Andrea Belotti was withdrawn during Inter’s celebrations for the hosts as their chances grew even slimmer.
Samir Handanovic did well to deny Cristian Ansaldi from range, before Nicolas Nkoulou sent one over.
Stefan de Vrij was on the end of another opportunity and, like Lautaro, he was clinical in taking it to double the Nerazzurri’s advantage. A deep cross went over each Granata player’s head to the back post, from where the Dutchman finished easily.
Nicolo Barella will have only added to Conte’s annoyance when he limped off in some pain just before the break. The ex-Cagliari man went straight down the tunnel, making a troubling gesture to his coach that suggested he felt a tear.
Any hopes Torino had of mounting a comeback were extinguished relatively early in the second half. Romelu Lukaku got in on the right and, after a stepover, just as it seemed he’d tried to take too much out of the ball he sent a low strike back across Sirigu’s goal for Inter’s third.
Handanovic continued to defy the weather by impressing, making a remarkable save at full stretch to turn a freekick bound for his top corner behind.
The Nerazzurri had the comfort of a three-goal margin which, fortunately for all involved, allowed them to take most of the sting out of the game and to see things out without risking any further injury.