Torino 1-0 Inter: Il Toro Spring Surprise to Dent Nerazzurri’s Champions League Qualification Plans

Torino beat Inter 1-0 in Serie A on Sunday afternoon, as Il Toro beat the San Siro side for the first time in 14 years and came out as the surprise victors in a thrilling league encounter.

Despite Inter dominating much of the first half, Torino took the lead towards the end of the first half, as Adem Ljaji? capped off a stunning counter attack by slamming home from close range. Inter impressed in the second half with a series of chances, but Inter were unable to find the equaliser and lost ground in the race for Champions League qualification.

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With the Stadio Olimpico Grande alive with a raucous atmosphere, the home side started on the front foot – neatly interweaving passes around their opponents as they looked to break down the stubborn opposition defence. Antonio Candreva gave Inter the first shot on target within the opening five minutes, but his drilled effort was held comfortably by Salvatore Sirigu.

Torino began to take the game to their opponents, with their mixture of short passes and whipped crosses causing havoc in the Inter penalty area. Sirigu almost gifted the visitors an opening goal in the tenth minute, after flapping a cross directly into the path of Ivan Periši?, who scuffed his attempted to chip into the grateful hands of the stopper from 20 yards out.

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Sirigu redeemed himself moments later, making a stunning reflex save to deny Mauro Icardi’s close-range volley from an Inter corner. The 31-year-old was at the rescue again soon after, pushing a swerving Candreva effort wide of is near post following impressive build-up play from Luciano Spalletti’s side.

As Inter began to dominate their opponents, Periši? looped a header onto the crossbar and over after comprehensively out-jumping Emiliano Moretti at a corner. Candreva then whistled a free-kick inches over the crossbar, as both sides stated to pile in with increasingly aggressive tackles. Inter then came close again, with Sirigu parrying away Candreva’s speculative effort.

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In the 35th minute, against the run of play, Andrea Belotti charged up the field for the hosts, before Periši? inadvertently passed the ball to Lorenzo De Silvestri – the powerful winger then slid a perfectly weighed ball across the face of goal, which allowed Ljaji? to power home a finish into the empty net and send the home fans into hysteria.

Inter looked to hit back immediately, and Icardi’s miscued volley was a disappointing effort from João Cancelo’s dazzling cross. The home side were then denied a second goal, as Iago Falque creeped a yard offside before turning a sweeping a neat finish passed Samir Handanovi?. Inter held on until half time, with their opponents very much in the driving seat.

Inter started the second half brightly, as they looked to overturn their opponents’ slender lead. Marcelo Brozovi? burst forward early on in the second period, and was allowed to drive a low effort at goal. However, Sirigu was never challenged by the effort, holding the shot with ease. De Silvestri then headed narrowly over the bar for Torino, after a tantalising Ljaji? corner.

De Silvestri then drew a fantastic save from Handanovi?, after unleashing a spinning volley from a Ljaji? free-kick, only to see the Slovenian beanpole spring into action a tip the ball over the bar. The chances kept coming for Torino, and Ljaji? flashed a shot across the face of goal after a penetrating run from Cristian Ansaldi.

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As the game headed into its final half hour, Inter began to pile on the pressure, with Sirigu keeping out a close range header from Milan Škriniar. Inter then had a shot cleared off the line, as Nicolas Nkoulou leapt athletically to scramble away João Miranda’s header. Rafinha then struck the post, before Torino midfielder Joel Obi almost bundled the rebound into his own net.

Inter were in complete control, launching wave upon of wave of attack at their visibly tiring opponents. Torino, with their backs firmly pressed against the wall, stood strong and repelled the visitor’s advances until the final whistle. Spalletti’s side’s loss saw them fail to overtake Roma and move to third, while Torino remained in tenth position, three points behind Atalanta.

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