Torino – Solo Per La Maglia

Welcome to giornata^38; day 38 of the 2022-2023 Serie A match calendar.

There had been a rainstorm in Turin the night before and as the 6pm kick off approached the heavens opened. Italy has been soaked these past few weeks, not so much in Piedmont, but certainly in certain areas of Emilia-Romagna the rain has been of biblical proportions. Around 13 lives were lost in the region but the estimated 20,000 left homeless tells the true tale of the extent of the deluge.

If rivers bursting banks can be equated to goal nets being struck then Inter Milan wins hands down.

With a forward line that includes Romelu Lukaku, Martinez and Edin Dzeko the club does not lack firepower and that is without mentioning the injured Carlos Joaquin Correa who barely gets a sniff.

Inter Milan fit the classical 3-5-2 formation which Inzaghi sticks with seemingly religiously. Inter’s aim is to have control over the ball and possession using both Lakaku and Dzeko to hold the ball up and get the team up the field. Lukaku in particular is an expert at it. A giant of a man with his 6″5 frame defenders struggle to deal with him when he plays with his back to goal.

The ability to shield the ball and lay it off is unmatched in Europe.

But the side does rely on short passing and progressing the ball in middle of the field.

If Inter do play consistently via the Belgian target man Lukaku then Torino play for the shirt or at least that is what the banner ‘Solo per la Maglia‘ says in the Curva Maratona.

This section of the stadium is traditionally occupied by the nuclei of the most enthusiastically organised Torino ultras during home games – all clad in granata. This name is attributed to the presence behind the curve itself of the marathon tower near to where once stood the training ground ‘antistadio‘.

The concrete tower was a symbol created for Mussolini’s fascist Italy, his name painted down one side of the tower. These days only ‘stadio’ is visible although the presence of the tower is about all that exists from the original structure opened in May 1933.

Choosing a name for the Communale (as it once was) has always been a point of contention. The disappearance of the name of the Italian Duce from the stadio is understandable given the accepted mainstream historical narrative as is the choice of Grande Torino Olympico for the current stadium.

Grande Torino being a reference to the great Torino team wiped out in the Superga disaster.

Torino were welcomed onto the pitch not five minutes after a rendition of club anthem Ancora Toro.

E’ ancora Toro, è sempre Toro La Maratona canta tutta in coro è ancora Toro, è sempre Toro

From the early stages it was easy to detect whom was in a UEFA Champions League final and which team was not. When the Croat Marcelo Brozovic crashed home a strike past Vanja Milinković-Savić the conviction of the strike almost told the tale itself of a very strong side and a mediocre one.

The second half saw Inter ease up, unsurprising given the exertions the squad faced in a little over a week in Istanbul. At the same theatre where AC Milan fell to Liverpool in 2005 Inter will no doubt have to weather a storm from Man City just as they did here from Torino.

Shot after shot was blocked but Torino could not even find a way past third choice goalkeeper Cordez after Samir Handanovic was rested.

Inter fans in the south corner celebrated the win just like any group of fans awaiting a Champions League final in a week’s time would. The conclusion of the Serie A season had seen Inter finish third, a drop of one place from the previous season’s second place, but with a final in Turkey in a week’s time to come.

Torino, in all truth, have performed well this season and the 10th place finish is a reward for one of Italian football’s more truly traditional sides. But the side have fallen just short of the UEFA competition places meaning they miss out on a return to European football.

The bull that stands just in front of the Curva Nord is the most striking symbol of the city of Turin and Torino.

A symbol that features on the city’s coat of arms is now no longer one that features on the crest of Juventus. The move to a modern modernistic symbol or ‘statement of visual identity’ saw Juventus move away from the central symbol of Turin leaving Torino as the sole owner of Turin’s foremost symbol.

How else could it be for a club nicknamed Il Toro?