Torino’s bullish heart beating strong

Calcio: Serie A; Torino-Sampdoria

Fabio Quagliarella restricted his emotion out of respect, but inside he must have been brimming with joy. The striker netted twice against his former club Sampdoria on Sunday to fire Torino up to second spot after four matches.

Like Quagliarella, the club is displaying outward restraint. “We just have to keep going our own way, trying to build our form match by match,” President Urbano Cairo stated on Monday. Torino will on the surface be reserved, but can be proud of their start to the season.

As they should. Torino are only two points behind leaders Inter, one of four remaining unbeaten sides.

Opening with dual comeback victories against Frosinone and Fiorentina, the winning run was halted at Verona, where they twice fought back to secure a draw. The ‘Cuore Granata’ had propelled Toro through the opening rounds of the new campaign.

But sometimes heart is not enough. They couldn’t always be expected to overturn deficits. And so Sunday’s 2-0 Stadio Olimpico success was a welcome result for Giampiero Ventura’s side. Compared to previous outings it was straightforward. Quagliarella broke the deadlock with a towering header after 17 minutes. Seven minutes later he tapped in the second. It’s Torino’s best start since 1993-94. The bull’s wings have not been clipped.

Credit goes to Ventura for shaping the group and Cairo for displaying faith. The fiery patron had a habit of hasty sackings. But he and Ventura have been together since 2011 and that relationship shows no signs of dissipating. He has allowed wily Ventura to go about his work in the face of big-money moves for Immobile and Alessio Cerci – summer 2014 – and this past August, Matteo Darmian.

Astute arrivals meant the Granata could carry on despite the departures. Quagliarella replaced Immobile. The £12.9m fee paid by Manchester United for Darmian was reinvested in fullback Davide Zappacosta and midfielder Daniele Baselli. The latter has flourished and already bagged four goals – Sunday was his first goalless game. Then there’s captain Kamil Glik, an exemplary leader at the back.

After progressing to the Europa League Round of 16 last season, Toro would love another crack at the continent. Given the summer investments of some bigger clubs that could be tough to achieve. However, Torino have finished seventh and ninth in the past two terms so don’t put it past them to challenge. Especially with that famous Cuore Granata.





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