Torino vs. Sampdoria, final score 0-0: Both sides frustrate in Olimpico stalemate

Claudio Villa

Much was expected of this match after both of these sides put in sterling performances last week, but neither side had any of the thrust they showed last week.

After Torino's enterprising attacking performance against Inter, and Sampdoria's demolition of Pescara the previous week, hopes were high of a free-flowing, high-scoring match at the Olimpico. This assertion was to be far from the mark, as both sides struggled to offer anything in the final third and eventually played out a bore draw.

Torino were unchanged following their draw with Inter last week, Giampiero Ventura again not opting to restore top scorer Rolando Bianchi to the starting lineup, instead persisting with Barreto and last week's two-goal hero Riccardo Meggiorini up front. Sampdoria had only one change, the suspended Pedro Obiang making way for Gianni Munari in the centre of midfield.

Both sides began cautiously, the opening exchanges for consisting of patient passing between defence and midfield, occasionally broken up by either a hopeful punt upfield, easily collected by the opposition goalkeeper, or an innocuous foul in midfield.

This pattern continued for much of the first half, the first action Jean-Francois Gillet saw being a deflected Eder cross that he had to cover.

In the 25th minute, we finally had some action, Alessio Cerci taking advantage of a favourable bounce to fire a deflected shot in from 20 yards to test Sergio Romero's reflexes in the Sampdoria goal. The resulting corner beat everyone in the box and was nearly swept home at the far post by Guillermo Rodriguez, Daniele Gastaldello getting the decisive touch to deflect it away from the Uruguayan.

Moments later and Torino were rewarded with the best chance of the match, Kamil Glik remaining in the box after another corner and flicking on for Barreto, the Brazilian heading over from eight yards when he really should have hit the target.

Torino were beginning to hit their stride and were beginning to stretch Sampdoria, Alessio Cerci and Mario Santana causing problems down either wing. Despite this, there were no more clear cut chances on offer in the first half however Torino went in at the break having had the best of it.

Sampdoria had the first chance of the second half, Mauro Icardi's cross from the right met by the late-arriving Andrea Poli. Poli's shot flashed wide and Eder couldn't stretch far enough to divert it at the far post.

A scramble in the Sampdoria box eventually fell to Barreto but he managed to divert the ball wide under pressure from Romero and Gastaldello.

After those early chances, the second half settled into a similar rhythm to the first, with each side largely cancelling the other out and chances very thin on the ground.

Following a deep corner, Kamil Glik took an ambitious overhead kick from about 14 yards, and although he got a decent contact with the ball, is was straight at Romero and the Argentine goalkeeper comfortably saved. Rolando Bianchi was introduced for the ineffectual Riccardo Meggiorini but even Il Granata's top scorer couldn't make anything happen.

Torino were easily controlling possession but couldn't find a cutting edge, whilst most of Sampdoria's attacking was snuffed out by the staunch Toro defence. They did have one chance, Lorenzo De Silvestri's right wing cross nearly finding the head of Mauro Icardi, but Jean-Francois Gillet did well to punch clear under pressure.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair result as neither side offered much in the way of a cutting edge, and although Torino offered slightly more, the lack of quality in their final ball and forward play meant that they didn't really deserve a goal.

Torino: GIllet; D'Ambrosio, Rodriguez, Glik, Masiello; Cerci, Brighi, Gazzi, Santana (Birsa 86); Barreto (Jonathas 88), Meggiorini (BIanchi 64)

Sampdoria: Romero; Gastaldello, Palombo, Costa; Krsticic; De Silvestri, Munari, Poli, Estigarribia (Poulsen 81); Eder (Soriano 70), Icardi

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