Torino vs. Atalanta, final score 2-1: Toro make hard work of Atalanta test

Valerio Pennicino

Substitute Valter Birsa's late goal gave Torino all the points against Atalanta, but it was a match they dominated and really should have sewn up long before.

Torino made a whole host of changes from their 1-0 loss to Udinese last week, bringing in Matteo Darmian, Angelo Ogbonna, Giuseppe Vives, Alen Stevanovic and Rolando Bianchi in for Danilo D'ambrosio, Guillermo Rodriguez, Matteo Brighi, Mario Santana and Riccardo Meggiorini. Atalanta brought in Gianpaolo Bellini, Maxi Moralez, Ivan Radovanovic and Riccardo Cazzola in place of Lionel Scaloni, Davide Biondini, Luigi Giorgi and Giacomo Bonaventura.

The match began slowly with both sides exercising caution in the opening exchanges, but it was Torino who began to take hold of the match, the first real chance falling to Barreto after Atalanta's centre backs were caught far too far apart. The Brazilian was one-on-one with Andrea Consigli but he blazed the ball well over the crossbar when he really should've done better.

Chances were starting to come more readily for Torino now, with Atalanta firmly camped within their own half. Alessio Cerci stung Consigli's palms with a left-footed shot after cutting in from the right and Rolando Bianchi was unlucky not to connect properly following Kamil Glik's ball over the top of the defence, whilst Alessio Cerci's free kick was deflected over by the wall.

Towards the end of the half, Atalanta finally gained some possession and managed to put some pressure on the Granata defence, however it was to be as a result of this that they would concede the first goal of the match. After a spell of Atalanta pressure, Torino were able to break quickly, Alessio Cerci picking the ball up on the right wing, running into the space in front of him before cutting inside on to his favoured left foot and stroking a good finish past Consigli, surely boosting his chances of national selection in front of a watching Cesare Prandelli.

Into the second half and although Torino were still taking the most possession, Atalanta were beginning to offer the slightest of threats in fits and starts. They had to wait until the 75th minute for a breakthrough however, as substitute Marko Livaja was brought down in the area by Jean-Francois Gillet and the referee pointed straight to the spot. German Denis stepped up and 'Il Tanque' calmly lashed the penalty in off the inside of the post.

Torino then began to pour forward, no doubt mindful of the fact that a match they had dominated possession-wise may be on the verge of slipping away from them. however these fears were allayed just three minutes from time, substitute Valter Birsa getting on the end of Matteo Darmian's cross to calmly side-foot into the corner past a stranded Consigli. Torino were then able to easily hold out for the remainder of the match to record three deserved points that should've been safe long before they actually were.

Torino: Gillet; Darmian, Glik, Ogbonna, Masiello; Cerci, Gazzi, Vives, Stevanovic (Birsa 61); Barreto (Jonathas 82), Bianchi (Meggiorini 82)

Atalanta: Consigli; Bellini (Scaloni 67), Canini, Stendardo, Del Grosso; Radovanovic (Livaja 46), Carmona, Cazzola; Brienza, Moralez (Giorgi 81); Denis

Goals: Cerci 43 (T), Denis pen 75 (A), Birsa 87 (T)

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