Torino deliver another blow to Juventus’ title hopes in Derby della Mole

Date: 3rd April 2021 at 8:02pm
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The Derby della Mole at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino ended 2-2 on Saturday evening, as Juventus’ hopes of retaining the Serie A title continue to fade almost to the point of disappearance, although a valuable point will provide a small boost to the survival hopes of cross-city rivals Torino.

An entertaining game in Turin saw Federico Chiesa and Cristiano Ronaldo score either side of a rare Antonio Sanabria double, but while a draw allowed the Granata to move two points above the relegation places, I Bianconeri still languish nine points behind league leaders Inter.

It was a frantic start in Turin, with Juventus creating three clear goal-scoring opportunities, Torino’s Rolando Mandragora flashing a shot just wide of the post and VAR considering a possible penalty for the hosts – all inside the opening ten minutes.

Rather than learn from the ease in which the Old Lady were bypassing their defence during those opening exchanges, on 13 minutes the Bianconeri took the lead through Chiesa. The ex-Fiorentina winger breaking into the box and firing through the legs of Salvatore Sirigu.

However, the goal did spark Il Toro into life and they were soon level, when Mandragora – on loan from Juventus – unleashed another powerful low drive, that Wojciech Szczesny could not hold and allowed Sanabria to head home the rising ball.

Just before half-time, Morata could have put Juventus ahead once more, but despite connecting with a Juan Cuadrado cross virtually unchallenged 12 yards from goal, headed directly at Sirigu.

Within 13 seconds of the restart, though, it was Torino who led the derby, with a little help from I Bianconeri – Dejan Kulusevski passing the ball straight to Sanabria, who drove forward and beat Szczesny with a near-post shot that probably should have been saved by the Pole.

Despite Sirigu tipping a Ronaldo header over the crossbar, Juventus rarely threatened a determined Granata defence and their growing frustrations were obvious when Cuadrado recklessly lunged with both feet at Simone Verdi on 70 minutes.

The fact that the Torino attacker was quick enough to hurdle the Colombian’s challenge, possibly saved the visitors from having to try and recover the deficit with 10 men.

However, on 79 minutes, Juventus were finally level after a nervous wait for VAR confirmed that Ronaldo had been marginally onside when nodding home a deflected cross from two yards.

The Granata may even have snatched victory late on, but Szczesny made two impressive saves. First from a Sanabria header and then a Danielle Baselli freekick in injury time.

With fellow strugglers Cagliari, Parma and Crotone all dropping points earlier in the day, this may feel like an opportunity missed by Torino to further distance themselves, but their fans will take solace in further denting Juventus’ title challenge.


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