News Live Scores

Torino scratch 20-year itch to keep Juventus waiting for title

By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent

There was a time during the first Turin derby of the season back in November when it seemed that Torino had a perfect opportunity to record a rare victory over Juventus. With the scores tied at 1-1 and 12 minutes still to play, the Bianconeri were reduced to 10 men by the sending-off of Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Not since April 1995 had the Granata triumphed in a local derby, and the belief that history could be about to change only made the devastation more gut-wrenching when Andrea Pirlo lashed home a wonderful winner from distance with seven seconds of injury time remaining. Right then, Torino fans must have thought they might never beat Juve ever again.

It turned out that they wouldn’t have to wait much longer, with Sunday’s 2-1 victory in the return game ending a 17-match, 20-year span without those longed-for bragging rights. They might have been left hanging on grimly late on, with Daniele Padelli pulling off a couple of sensational saves along the way, but over the course of the two local derbies this term they have been deserving of at least three points.

The victory will taste even sweeter in light of the fact Juventus fans arrived at the Stadio Olimpico hoping to celebrate a fourth straight Scudetto. Lazio’s 1-1 draw with Chievo means that would not have happened anyway, but the polarity of Bianconeri emotions pre-match to post-match will only please Toro supporters even more.

After giving as good as they got at Juventus Stadium in that first meeting only to see Pirlo kick them in the guts right at the end, Torino were given a distinct sense of déjà vu when the Italy midfielder whipped in a wonderful free-kick opener. But Matteo Darmian was the chief protagonist in their victory as he first turned home after a heavy touch had foxed the Juve back line, then pulled across a superb low centre for Fabio Quagliarella to net the winner.

Giampiero Ventura has done a magnificent job at Torino. Urbano Cairo’s spell as club president has been littered with controversies and changes in personnel, but Ventura’s achievement in first lifting the Granata to promotion and then stabilising them as a Serie A force – as well as taking them deep into the Europa League this term – has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Turin derby wins might not become a regular part of their future, but results such as this one are far less surprising than they would have been under previous coaches. Toro are in extremely good hands with Ventura.

For the champions there were just too many ragged performances. They were much-changed from the side which clinched a Champions League semi-final spot against Monaco on Wednesday, but if many of this team were playing for their selection against Real Madrid then Massimiliano Allegri will have few sleepless nights before handing in the team sheet.

These results happen though. A team so obviously primed to win a league title and with a huge European tie on the horizon has every right to be distracted. It just so happens that this scoreline will not be quickly forgotten in Turin.

Juventus will still win the league, and the loss to Torino doesn’t particularly set them back in their quest for Champions League glory either. But the kings of Turin today are not the Bianconeri and it is 20 years since anybody could claim that to be the case.

Follow Kris Voakes on