MX23RW : Saturday, April 17 16:28:06| >> :120:11924:11924:
Feb 13, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
TorinoTorino
0-0
GenoaGenoa

Bremer (79'), Izzo (84')
FT

Criscito (10'), Rovella (38'), Goldaniga (60'), Radovanovic (90+1')

Preview: Torino vs. Genoa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Torino and Genoa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having both seen their outlook transformed by incoming managers, Torino meet unlikely form side Genoa on Saturday afternoon at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

The visitors are now well clear of the Serie A relegation zone following four wins from five, while the improving Granata inched above the dotted line courtesy of a remarkable comeback draw last week.


Match preview

Bremer in action for Torino on July 13, 2020© Reuters

An extraordinary game in Bergamo last Saturday saw Torino three goals down within half an hour, but strikes from Andrea Belotti, Bremer and Federico Bonazzoli earned them a point, as they fought back heroically in a 3-3 thriller away to Atalanta.

Nonetheless, another spirited display since the arrival of boyhood Toro fan Davide Nicola in the dugout still leaves his new side aiming to end a six-match winless streak this time out. Four of those games ended in a draw after having gone behind, which at least makes a change from their more customary habit of letting leads slip - a trend which they led the statistics for across the top five European leagues in 2020.

Conceding at a rate of nearly two per game, Turin's second side are still mired in trouble at the wrong end of the table, but after an inspired comeback against high-flying opposition, they will hope to use that momentum to turn their season around.

Captain and main hope of salvation again this term, Belotti has previously scored three goals against this week's opponents in Serie A - each of which came on home turf - with the Granata winning on all three occasions. Top scorer with 11 goals this season, the striker's contract talks remain unresolved and persuading the 'Rooster' to commit his long-term future to the club is essential if they are to avoid further decline.

Even when Belotti has failed to score, Torino have generally got the better of Genoa of late, going unbeaten in their last seven Serie A encounters since May 2017 and outscoring the Ligurians 11-3 during that run. If Nicola's men are to continue such dominance, they must now break a 12-match winless streak on home soil dating all the way back to July.

Davide Ballardini, now in charge of Genoa, pictured in January 2018© Reuters

Now unbeaten in five league games, resurgent Genoa have bettered the points tallies of both Milan clubs in that period, with only Lazio and Juventus faring better.

Their rapid reversal in form - when before they looked an abject proposition, destined to dice with demotion - is primarily attributable to two men. New head coach Davide Ballardini's change in approach and system has been getting the best out of top goalscorer Mattia Destro since December and the pair have led the Grifone to relative security in the process.

Even with Destro absent from the scoresheet last week, veteran forward Goran Pandev broke a spell of 14 goalless games to bag a brace against his former club Napoli, steering Genoa to a superb 2-1 victory - achieved despite conceding two-thirds of possession to Gennaro Gattuso's frustrated visitors.

Not only has Ballardini managed to get a tune out of previously misfiring front men, another vital aspect in which his team has improved is in defence - only once in their last eight outings have they let in more than one goal and that has been the bedrock for leaving strugglers such as Torino trailing in their wake.

As a result, they travel to Turin some five places and eight points better off than their hosts, having been neck-and-neck with them for much of the season.

Seeking to reach four consecutive league wins for the first time since September 2009 - under fondly remembered former boss Gian Piero Gasperini - the Grifone are set on continuing their ascent and condemning their rivals to further toil in the Serie A basement battle.

Torino Serie A form: DLDDDD
Torino form (all competitions): LDDDDD

Genoa Serie A form: LWDWWW
Genoa form (all competitions): WLDWWW


Team News

Davide Nicola, now in charge of Torino, pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Torino coach Davide Nicola only has new signing Antonio Sanabria (COVID-19) and long-term injury victim Mergim Vojvoda (who will not return until early next month) absent ahead of Saturday's game.

Rolando Mandragora is expected to continue in midfield, having taken the place of Karol Linetty last week, following his arrival on loan from city rivals Juventus. Meanwhile, up front, Federico Bonazzoli - scorer of the equaliser against Atalanta - will compete with Simone Zaza to partner Andrea Belotti.

Genoa striker Eldor Shomurodov is nearing a return from injury, but Goran Pandev and Mattia Destro are most likely to start in Davide Ballardini's attacking pair.

Suspended Milan Badelj will be replaced in the midfield three by either Nicolo Rovella or Valon Behrami, while Edoardo Goldaniga and Andrea Masiello seem set to contest one spot in the central defensive trio, as Davide Biraschi and Cristian Zapata are both doubtful.

Otherwise, Ballardini benefits from a settled side and is expected to retain the same personnel that turned over Napoli, with a 3-5-2 formation closely matching this week's opponents.

Torino possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Bremer, Lyanco, Izzo; Singo, Mandragora, Rincon, Lukic, Ansaldi; Zaza, Belotti

Genoa possible starting lineup:
Perin; Goldaniga, Radovanovic, Criscito; Zappacosta, Zajc, Behrami, Strootman, Czyborra; Pandev, Destro


SM words green background

We say: Torino 2-1 Genoa

Torino's last home win in Serie A dates back to the summer - incidentally a 3-0 victory against Genoa, then coached by current Toro boss Davide Nicola.

They can finally end that winless streak on Saturday if their leaky defence are able to keep the visiting strikeforce quiet - at least to some extent. An overdue success in Turin would build on last week's fine fightback and narrow the gap to their in-form opponents.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Tables
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1Inter Milan30235269274274
2AC Milan30196557352263
3Juventus30188461273462
4Atalanta BCAtalanta30187571383361
5Napoli30192965343159
6Lazio2917484638855
7Roma30166854441054
8SassuoloSassuolo31111194948144
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona31118123938141
10Sampdoria31116144246-439
11Udinese3199133441-736
12Bologna3097143946-734
13Genoa30711123244-1232
14SpeziaSpezia3088144055-1532
15Fiorentina31710143849-1131
16BeneventoBenevento3079143055-2530
17Torino29512124252-1027
18CagliariCagliari3057183151-2022
19Parma30311162959-3020
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