Verona’s brilliant three-goal comeback earned them and Torino of the honours of being picked as best match in round 16.
The Scaligeri had lost three of the previous four matches against Inter, Roma and Atalanta, while the Granata were in a groove as they had prevailed in two in a row, over Genoa and Fiorentina.
Milan Juric welcomed back Marash Kumbulla to the XI after a thigh injury and picked Matteo Pessina and Mattia Zaccagni over Valerio Verre as attacking midfielders. Walter Mazzarri kept Andrea Belotti on the bench in his first game back from a chest injury, preferred Ola Aina over the nicked up Lorenzo De Silvestri and deployed a pretty offensive-minded lineup, with Alex Berenguer and Simone Verdi supporting Simone Zaza.
The road team had two one-on-one chances in the early going, but both Berenguer and Zaza got rejected by Marco Silvestri, while Verdi sent a wicked free kick just wide. Berenguer slotted it home with a daisy-cutter from the edge of the box at the 24th minute, but the ball was ruled out of bounds prior to Tomas Rincon’s assist. Torino deservedly broke through at the 36th minute as Cristian Ansaldi shook free in the left-hand portion of the box and blasted it right under the crossbar from difficult position.
Juric mixed things up after the break, trotting out Verre and Mariusz Stepinski for Zaccagni and Samuel Di Carmine, but the Granata still added to their lead ten minutes into the second half, as Berenguer weaved his way through defenders in the box and his soft shot kissed the post before going in.
Shortly thereafter, Silvestri denied Daniele Baselli on a great trail, but simply postponed the third goal, netted again by Ansaldi with a bouncing effort from medium range following a corner kick that left the goalie flat-footed.
The Mastini re-entered the contest out of the blue as they were awarded a penalty as Stepinski hit Bremer’s elbow on a cross and Giampaolo Pazzini, who had subbed in minutes before, drilled it centrally. At the 75th minute, a superb strike by the seasoned forward was batted away by Salvatore Sirigu, but Verre was right there to bag the rebound.
The Gialloblù completed the deed with seven minutes to go, as Stepinski beat the offside trap following an indirect set piece on a feed by Marco Faraoni and easily knocked it on goal.
Verona, which remain comfortably in 12th position, put a dent in Torino’s pursuit of a Europa League berth, as they gained just one point over the sixth-placed Atalanta that dropped one this week.
The match was pretty ripe in the fantasy game as Ansaldi accrued six points, Berenguer, Stepinski, Pazzini and Verre accumulated four for scoring, Verdi and Faraoni two for setting up teammates.
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