Roma vs. Torino: 6 Things We Learned
It took a last-minute goal, but Roma won again, beating a troublesome Torino side 2-1 at the Olimpico in Rome.
The Giallorossi strengthened their hold on Serie A's second place, and with 10 games to go in the championship, now look certain to secure automatic qualification for next season's Champions League.
Ciro Immobile gave the visitors hope, cancelling out Mattia Destro's first-half strike for the home side by scoring a sensational volley in the 52nd minute. Toro then continued to frustrate their hosts, and they looked likely to grab a late winner before Rudi Garcia's substitutions changed the game and home-town hero Florenzi netted his sixth goal of the campaign.
Perseverance Is a Rare and Valuable Trait
It's often said that the best teams know how to win, even when they don't deserve to. Roma proved they could do just that against a battling Torino side that performed well enough to leave the Italian capital with at least a point.
The Lupi had more possession and plenty of chances in this game, but despite that never looked comfortable. In fact, they looked completely off the pace for much of it. Toro put them under serious pressure, but decisive strikes from Mattia Destro and Alessandro Florenzi came at crucial moments at the end of both halves, at a time when most other sides would have given up.
At the start of this season, Roma had a run of wins despite consistently failing to score in the first half. Early goals matter, and the Giallorossi can certainly work on putting games to bed earlier, but the way they stick to their task and persevere until the very last minute is admirable—and effective.
Florenzi Needs to Play
The success of Gervinho and Destro this year, coupled with the enduring brilliance of captain Francesco Totti, has meant that playing time has been somewhat limited for Alessandro Florenzi of late. That needs to change.
Just how that change is effected is no doubt a headache for the manager, but at least it's one he'll be happy to have. After all, the more players worthy of a starting berth, the better.
Florenzi isn't a natural forward—neither is Gervinho—but his energy and team play make him a valuable asset. On top of that, the Romanisti love a local hero, and Florenzi hasn't disappointed thus far in his career.
When he scored the winner against Torino, you could see how much it meant to him. He's a Roma player, but he's a fan as well. He deserves to start more regularly.
Cesare Prandelli Has Some Tough Decisions to Make
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is making the final cut for his World Cup squad right now, and games like this are making his job a lot harder.
Roma's victory over Torino was a game dominated by three fringe players for the Azzurri: Mattia Destro, Ciro Immobile and Alessandro Florenzi.
Prandelli will want to bring Italy's best young stars with him, even if they won't start every game, because he has one eye of the future, too.
They're not the only three young Italian stars hoping to make it to the competition, but particularly Destro and Immobile are among the best performers in the league right now and on current form merit inclusion.
Florenzi's ability to change a game and to operate in a number of positions, should Italy fall foul of injury, will work in the young Roman's favour. If they can keep it up, you'd think that at least two of the trio will be on the plane this summer.
Torino Should Be Higher Up the Table
Torino's manager, Giampiero Ventura, is right. His side played a good game and really troubled Roma. If they only played like this every week, they'd be a lot higher up the table.
They came into the game having ended a run of four straight defeats with a win over Livorno, but on a night like this one they'd trouble any Serie A side. It's impressive for a club that's just been promoted, and if they can hold on to key players and make a couple of additions, they could be a side to watch next term.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia after the game (here via football-italia.net), Ventura said:
I think we had a good game and Roma had to contend with more scoring opportunities than throughout the rest of the season.
On the one hand there is regret we lost the game, but on the other I am happy as this team is improving constantly in the way it reads the play, the timing and combinations.
I don’t agree that Torino waited for Roma, but we needed to break in when they left the spaces. We didn’t play well against Bologna and Sampdoria, so we couldn’t argue with those results. We could against Napoli and this result here, while the Turin Derby is always going to be tough.
When you come to Roma and create this many clear-cut chances, it’s impressive for a side that was in Serie B last season.
Our objective was safety and we achieved that. The second target was to reach the end of the season with more maturity, confidence and with a stronger mentality than before.
I don’t believe anyone this season really dominated us apart from Bologna, which was because we didn’t play football that day.
Michel Bastos Continues to Bemuse
Rudi Garcia's done so much right in his first year as Roma manager that it seems a little churlish to question why he'd request Michel Bastos. But we have to.
The Brazilian is older, more expensive and less talented than most of the current Giallorossi squad, which begs the question: What is he doing at the Olimpico? Dodo was on the bench against Torino, and though he's been frustrating, he surely represents a better long-term option than a player whose career is in decline and who hasn't been playing at a high level for several seasons.
As another option to keep Bastos on the bench, Florenzi occasionally played as a full-back during his early days on loan at Serie B's Crotone.
Maicon Was a Super Signing
OK, so it's not exactly news, but signing Maicon was one of the best moves Roma made last summer. The veteran Brazilian has looked to be in decline at Manchester City, but a move back to Italy has seen him reborn and he was arguably the Giallorossi's best player against Torino.
Full credit to Destro and Florenzi for scoring, and Gervinho for his work rate and his assists, but Maicon's tireless running and ability to be effective up and down the flank is always a vital part of Roma's play.