Football Features

Torino 1-1 Parma: Five things learned from the first Serie A game in 103 days

By Chris Smith

Published: 20:24, 20 June 2020

Serie A made its long-awaited return to action on Saturday as Torino and Parma played out a 1-1 draw in Turin.

With play having been suspended for 103 days since March 9th, there has been great anticipation surrounding the resumption of play, especially considering the entertaining served up by the recent conclusion of the Coppa Italia and a number of questions to answer at both ends of the Serie A table.

Ahead of the match, Torino sat 15th, just two points ahead of 18th-placed Lecce in the relegation zone. However, it was the struggling hosts who drew first blood in this one, with centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou thundering home a header from an Alex Berenguer corner, despite the best efforts of Luigi Sepe in goal.

Torino looked to press their advantage from there, dominating the territorial battle and putting Parma’s defence under considerable pressure. However, for all their superiority, Il Toros were never quite able to fashion another clear-cut opportunity. Given that Moreno Longo’s men had averaged just 10.9 shots per game in Serie A ahead of this game — the second-lowest total in the league — this hardly came as a surprise.

And Torino were punished for their lack of creativity just after the half-hour mark as former Arsenal winger Gervinho picked up the ball on the left and drove into the box before delivering a cut-back intended for Andreas Cornelius. The Danish striker was unable to connect with the pass but the ball ran through to the onrushing Juraj Kucka, who fired home beyond Salvatore Sirigu — the Italian goalkeeper got a hand to the shot but wasn’t able to keep it out and the sides went into the half-time break level.

Just as they made a quick start to the first half, Torino raced out of the blocks after the restart, with striker Simone Zaza seeing a close-range effort saved by Sepe when he really should have found the net. However, he did settle for the consolation prize of a penalty after being felled by Simone Iacoponi.

Andrea Belotti stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick but his tame effort was saved by Sepe — who was excellent throughout the final hour — meaning the Italy international has now gone 10 games without a goal across all competitions for Torino.

From there, the game ebbed and flowed with both sides trying to establish a foothold, but, perhaps down to a lack of match sharpness, failing to find their true rhythm.

The draw moves Torino level with 14th-placed Udinese and another point away from the relegation zone, while Parma leapfrog Verona and AC Milan into seventh, just six points adrift of six-placed Napoli.

Torino 1-1 Parma: Five key stats

  • This was the first Serie A match played in June since 2001 during Roma’s Scudetto-winning season.
  • Nicolas Nkoulou’s last five Serie A goals have been headers, with his last before Saturday coming in December 2018.
  • Gervinho’s assist for Parma’s equaliser ended a run of 11 Serie A games without setting up a goal for the Ivorian.
  • Andrea Belotti missed a Serie A penalty for the first time this season having scored his previous five.
  • The Italian has now gone 10 games without a goal for Torino in all competitions.

Upcoming Serie A fixtures 

Saturday, 20th June

20:45: Verona vs Cagliari

Sunday, 21st June

18:30: Atalanta vs Sassuolo

20:45: Inter vs Sampdoria

Monday, 22nd June

18:30: Fiorentina vs Brescia

18:30: Lecce vs AC Milan

20:45: Bologna vs Juventus

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