Torino vs. Sampdoria, final score 0-2: Sampdoria inch toward safety

Valerio Pennicino

Siniša Mihajlović won the tactical battle against Giampiero Ventura to secure an important win for Sampdoria against an uninspired Torino side.

In great form prior to the match at the Olimpico, Torino were the favorites, but the hosts weren't able to live up to expectations on the pitch. Instead it was Sampdoria that grabbed the essential three points, basically bringing them out of the relegation battle and into Serie A for the next season. Torino, meanwhile, failed to profit from Verona's draw against Bologna in an Europa League spot battle, and now will be without all three defenders, Cesare BovoKamil Glik and Nikola Maksimović against Inter next week, as they all got yellow cards and will be suspended.

Siniša Mihajlović outsmarted the more experienced Giampiero Ventura, with the Sampdoria defense, led by the brilliant Shkodran Mustafi, having barely any trouble dealing with Alessio Cerci and Ciro Immobile. From the beginning, the visitors forced Torino to retreat into their own half. And by the 7th minute, Samp had the lead.

Masimović brought down Stefano Okaka, handing Sampdoria a promising free kick. The cross was cleared, but Manolo Gabbiadini headed the ball back into the heart of the penalty area, where Mustafi passed it to Stefano Okaka, alone in front of Torino's keeper. The striker had no trouble putting the ball behind Daniele Padelli. Torino protested that Okaka was offside - a fact confirmed by replays - but the goal stood.

Samp's domination continued for another 25 minutes, with Toro unable to get a shot on goal before the 27th minute.  It was only in the final 10 minutes of the first half that Torino started playing much better, forcing the blucerchiati to sit deep in their own half.  Their best chance came when Alexander Farnerud sent a beautiful pass over Doria's defense and Cerci stopped the ball few meters from the goal. The forward went one on one with Júnior Da Costa, but the Brazilian made a miraculous save.

Torino continued to press for the equalizer in the second half, while Sampdoria simply sat back. As the match went on, the granata seemed drained of energy and lacking ideas on how to outsmart a very defensive Sampdoria. Ventura shifted from 3-5-2 to 4-2-4 with the introduction of Paulo Barreto and Riccardo Meggiorini for Cesare Bovo and Farnerud, but little changed. Whenever the home side did manage to create a chance, Da Costa rescued his the visitors.

With ten minutes to go, Gabbiadini put the match beyond the doubt. His beautiful free kick from 20 meters away flew over the wall and past Daniele Padelli, slotting into the top left corner.

Torino: Padelli; Maksimović, Glik, Bovo (Barreto 56'); Darmian, Kurtić, Vives (Basha 77'), Farnerud (Meggiorini 69'), Pasquale; Cerci, Immobile

Sampdoria: Da Costa; De Silvestri, Mustafi, Gastaldello (Fornasier 61'), Regini; Obiang, Renan (Krstičić); Gabbiadini, Eder (Bjarnasson 81'), Soriano; Okaka

Goals: Okaka 7', Gabbiadini 79'

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