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Sep 12, 2021 at 2pm UK
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Preview: Torino vs. Salernitana - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Torino vs. Salernitana - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Torino and Salernitana, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two teams still searching for their first Serie A point of the season meet on Sunday afternoon, as Torino host newly promoted Salernitana.

Neither side was able to get off the mark before the international break but will be doubly eager to do so against a potential relegation rival - with the visitors now turning to a famous face to aid their cause.

Match preview

Torino's quest to claim their first league point of the 2021-22 campaign foundered a fortnight ago, as they suffered a second successive 2-1 defeat - this time at Fiorentina.

Having struggled to get a decent share of the ball or create many goalscoring chances, it was no surprise that the Granata found themselves two goals down with 20 minutes to play, and Simone Verdi's late strike proved to be merely a consolation.

That loss in Florence came on the back of a last-gasp reverse at the hands of Atalanta on the opening day, so new coach Ivan Juric's reign has got off to a disappointing start - particularly after his side also only scraped past Cremonese in the Coppa Italia via a penalty shootout.

The fifth man to occupy the Torino dugout over the last three years, former Verona boss Juric has been tasked with improving their fortunes following a prolonged period of defensive disasters and regular battles against the drop. However, the Croatian coach's golden touch has apparently deserted him in recent times, as he has failed to produce a victory in any of his teams' last 11 Serie A games - losing seven.

Ahead of this weekend's action, his current club stand on the verge of losing their first three top-flight matches for only the third time - having previously done so both in 2002 and this time last year; the latter preceding a season of struggle at the wrong end of the standings.

Therefore, both Juric and the club's fans will hope that star striker Andrea Belotti can be return in time to feature against - on paper at least - one of their weakest Serie A opponents.

Responding to successive defeats to start the season - following their promotion as Serie B runners-up - Salernitana staged a surprise transfer coup when signing veteran wing wizard Franck Ribery as the transfer window finally slid shut.

The former France international had been released by Fiorentina amid some acrimony, but has received a rapturous welcome in Salerno - being dubbed 'FR7' and even lauded as the Granata's saviour by some. Even if the ex-Bayern Munich man's pace has waned, his skill and influence is sorely needed by a side facing a season-long tussle near the foot of the table.

Having lost at Bologna on their return to the Italian elite after 22 years away, Fabrizio Castori's men were then crushed 4-0 by Roma at their Stadio Arechi headquarters just before the break for World Cup qualifying.

Though they progressed past Reggina in the Coppa Italia, the Salernitana defence has been found wanting at this level - conceding seven goals in their first two league outings. Not only that, but Castori and company have posted the lowest possession (23%) and passing accuracy (54%) figures so far.

However, summer signings Simy - who bagged a brace for Crotone versus Torino back in March - and Federico Bonazzoli (who played 20 times for the Turin side last season) could offer hope of improvement this weekend, as they join Ribery in the away side's attacking armoury.

Torino Serie A form:
  • L
  • L

Torino form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Salernitana Serie A form:
  • L
  • L

Salernitana form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

Ahead of Sunday's game, Torino have been boosted by Antonio Sanabria's early return from international duty with Paraguay, and he is set to start as the hosts' central striker in place of the injured Andrea Belotti.

The Italy forward previously suffered a bruised fibula, causing him to pull out of the Azzurri squad, but has not sustained a fracture as first feared and could even be ready to take a place on the bench.

Simone Zaza, however, is expected to remain sidelined with a knee problem, so Simone Verdi will contend with Marko Pjaca to start in support of Sanabria.

The visitors, meanwhile, are expected to pair Simy and Federico Bonazzoli up front from the start, while fellow forward Milan Djuric is expected to return from injury and should make the bench.

Albania international Frederic Veseli still has a knee injury and will not be ready for the trip to Turin, but Stefan Strandberg returns from suspension after his dismissal on the opening day - seeing Ramzi Aya drop out of the back three.

The much-anticipated debut of Franck Ribery may have to wait until the second half, as after a summer of uncertainty he looks to build his fitness for the long campaign ahead.

Torino possible starting lineup:
Milinkovic-Savic; Izzo, Bremer, Rodriguez; Singo, Lukic, Mandragora, Ansaldi; Brekalo, Pjaca; Sanabria

Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Belec; Bogdan, Strandberg, Gagliolo; Zortea, M. Coulibaly, Di Tacchio, Obi, Ruggeri; Bonazzoli, Simy

We say: Torino 2-1 Salernitana

This battle of the Granata should go the way of the home side on Sunday, as they can make use of their greater top-flight experience to secure a first Serie A success of 2021-22.

Salernitana may have improved their forward options during the past few weeks, but their defensive setup remains vulnerable - and Torino have several players well placed to exploit it.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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