Serie A Week 28 - 15/3/09 (14.00 UK)
Atalanta - Torino
Stadio Azzurri d'Italia
Two sides struggling for form meet at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia as mid-table Atalanta host struggling Torino.
Atalanta remain consistently inconsistent and back-to-back defeats against Chievo and Milan have derailed their UEFA Cup qualification push. Coach Gigi Del Neri was unhappy with the way his side played in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat against Milan and the Orobici need to play a whole lot better if they are to continue to dream of Europe.
Injuries are taking their toll on the Bergamo boys. The Nerazzurri have a desperate lack of striking options with Sergio Floccari, Christian Vieri and Cristiano Doni all out of action. If Atalanta can find the net somehow against Torino it’s hard to see them failing to take the points, but if it’s 0-0 at half-time the nerves and frustration could be destructive.
Torino are fighting for their Serie A lives and it will be a bitter struggle to the wire. The Granata put in a creditable performance in last Saturday’s Derby della Mole, but Juventus vanquished them with a late Giorgio Chiellini goal.
While Reggina seem to have been cut adrift at the bottom, Toro are just one point above penultimate side Lecce, level with Chievo and two points behind Bologna. Survival is in the balance and Torino badly need to improve their away record if they are to beat the drop – they are the only side in Serie A yet to win on their travels.
An ill-tempered game in Week 9 ended 2-1 to Torino. Last year it was 2-2 as a 10-man Torino side came back from 2-0 down to grab a point despite the dismissal of Cesare Natali.
Atalanta’s only injury headaches are related to their decimated attack. With Vieri, Doni and Floccari out, Gianvito Plasmati leads the line. Torino are just without Elvis Abbruscato and Alessandro Rosina. Veteran midfielder Eugenio Corini is suspended and a vast number of players are one game away from a suspension.
Keep an eye on: Matteo Sereni (Torino) – The former Lazio ‘keeper is no stranger to spectacular saves and his Gordon Banks-esque effort to deny Vincenzo Iaquinta last weekend was remarkable.
Last season: Atalanta 2-2 Torino
Form guide: Atalanta (W W L L L) Torino (D D W D L)
Atalanta (probable): Consigli; Garics, Capelli, Talamonti, Bellini; Ferreira Pinto, De Ascentis, Cigarini, Padoin, Valdes; Plasmati
Torino (probable): Sereni; Colombo, Natali, Dellafiore, Pisano; Abate, Dzemaili, Barone, Gasbarroni; Ventola, Stellone
Ref: To follow...