Today’s Papers – Milanese clubs off key, Sampdoria scared
Watch the highlights from Cagliari’s 1-1 draw with Torino in Sardinia, when Joao Pedro’s acrobatic finish saved a point for the hosts.
Antonio Sanabria gave the guests an early lead and the Casteddu struggled to hit back until Joao Pedro scored with a spectacular bicycle kick at the start of the second half.
Both sides had chances to claim the win, but Torino came closest, even if the match ended in another stalemate for Walter Mazzarri’s men.
Torino coach Ivan Juric felt the Granata had the chances to win against Cagliari but stressed ‘it’s a long road’ ahead after the 1-1 draw in Sardinia.
Antonio Sanabria gave the visitors the lead at half-time, but a spectacular goal from Joao Pedro secured a point for the Casteddu.
Juric has some regrets after the game, as he felt Torino had enough chances to take home all the spoils at the Unipol Domus on Monday.
“We had three or four scoring opportunities at the end, where we could have done better,” Juric told Sky Sport Italia. “But we would have liked to take a step forward in terms of play and we did much less than we usually do.
“I saw some tired lads who struggled to develop the game. In the last 20 minutes we broke up and created a lot. There’s certainly a bit of regret.”
But Torino suffered during the 90 minutes, as Juric saw some of his players struggle physically.
“[Tommaso] Pobega had a problem with his flexor, [Alessandro] Buongiorno was tired, we struggled to build from the back,” he said.
“Yes, we held up quite well, but in terms of play we felt a bit tired. The road is long. We would have liked to give continuity, forgetting the 140 goals conceded in the last two years.
“There have been improvements and I have seen great progress.”
Cagliari captain Joao Pedro scored a spectacular equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Torino on Monday, but admitted he was ‘lucky’ it went in. ‘I prefer to score ugly goals that are worth three points’.
The Rossoblu picked up a point in Sardinia after Antonio Sanabria had given the visitors a 1-0 lead at half-time.
Joao Pedro scored early in the second half to give the Rossoblu a chance to turn the match around, but it ended in a stalemate.
“It was a beautiful goal, but it was also lucky because these shots don’t happen every day,” Joao Pedro told DAZN.
“I think the team have given good performances in these last few games, we deserve more and even today, against a very strong team, we managed to invent something. Even if we didn’t pick up three points.
“The team is coming out, giving everything. Both in terms of character and at a technical level. It’s not easy because we cannot make mistakes or risk too much, we will get out of it.”
Joao Pedro has been linked with a place in the Italy squad, as the FIGC confirmed he could become eligible to play for the Azzurri.
“I don’t think he [Italy CT Roberto Mancini] will be convinced only by that goal,” Joao Pedro continued. “It’s a beautiful goal, but nothing changes in the season.
“I prefer to score ugly goals that are worth three points.”
Watch Brazilian striker Joao Pedro’s bicycle kick pull Cagliari level against Torino in Sardinia.
The captain stepped up after having squandered a great opportunity only seconds prior, as Vanja Milinkovic-Savic stopped his header from close range.
But the Serbian goalkeeper couldn’t get his hands on the bicycle kick in the 53rd minute of the match, when the Casteddu equalised at the Unipol Domus.
That connection on the bicycle kick! 💥
Joao Pedro’s acrobatic efforts put Cagliari level against Torino 👏 pic.twitter.com/8dC6yGssJZ
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 6, 2021
Cagliari host Torino in the final match of Serie A Week 16 on Monday night, when Walter Mazzarri is desperate to claim three points in the clash with his former club.
The match at the Unipol Domus kicks off at 19.45 UK time.
Mazzari’s men are in need of points, as they aim to climb out of the relegation zone and hope to start with a win over the Granata.
Ivan Juric’s men are in a better position but arrive from a 2-2 draw with Empoli at the Grande Torino last time.
Torino must cope without Andrea Belotti for quite a while and Antonio Sanabria has been asked to step up by the Croatian coach.
The Paraguayan striker starts up front on Monday night, while Mazzarri continues with Keita Balde and Joao Pedro in attack for the home side in Sardinia.
Line-ups: Cagliari vs. Torino
Cagliari (3-5-2): Cragno; Caceres, Ceppitelli, Carboni; Bellanova, Nandez, Grassi, Marin, Dalbert; Keita, Joao Pedro
Torino (3-4-2-1): Milinkovic-Savic; Zima, Bremer, Buongiorno; Vojvoda, Lukic, Pobega, Aina; Brekalo, Pjaca; Sanabria
Serie A Week 16 ends today with Empoli vs. Udinese and Cagliari vs. Torino. Check out the probable line-ups for today’s games.
We begin at 17.30 UK time, with the Tuscans hosting Luca Gotti’s side at the Stadio Castellani.
Aurelio Andreazzoli can rely on full squad and could pick Patrick Cutrone from the first minute partnering Andrea Pinamonti up front.
Udinese are without the injured Rodrigo Becao, so Samir should partner Bram Nuytinck in centre defence.
Nahuel Molina and Walace are suspended and Brandon Soppy is tipped to start his second game in Serie A this season.
Torino meet their former coach Walter Mazzarri at Cagliari at 19.45 UK time.
Diego Godin returns from an injury and either he or Luca Ceppitelli will get a spot in centre defence.
Joao Pedro and Keita Balde are likely to start in attack. Sebastian Walukiewicz and Marko Rog are injured.
Torino have Wilfried Singo suspended and their captain Andrea Belotti injured. Cristian Ansaldi, Koffi Djidji, Rolando Mandragora and Simone Verdi are also on the sidelines.
Antonio Sanabria will replace Belotti and Josip Brekalo is expected to start in place of his compatriot Marko Pjaca who scored against Empoli on Thursday.
Empoli (4-3-1-2): Vicario; Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Luperto, Marchizza; Haas, Ricci, Henderson; Bajrami; Cutrone, Pinamonti.
Udinese (3-4-2-1): Silvestri; Perez, Nuytinck, Samir, Udogie; Soppy, Arslan, Makengo, Deulofeu; Success, Beto.
Cagliari (4-4-2): Cragno; Caceres, Ceppitelli, Carboni; Bellanova, Nandez, Grassi, Marin, Dalbert; Joao Pedro, Keita.
Torino (3-4-2-1): Milinkovic; Zima, Bremer, Buongiorno; Vojvoda, Lukic, Pobega, Aina; Praet, Brekalo; Sanabria.
Torino coach Ivan Juric said he applies ‘pressure’ on his men to ‘demand more from ourselves’, as he believes the Granata have potential to ‘improve’.
The Granata are up against Cagliari on Monday night and Juric’s men are without a win in the last two league games.
The mid-week encounter with Empoli ended in a 2-2 draw and the Croatian coach was disappointed with the end result, as he felt the Granata dominated the match at the Grande Torino.
Torino are 13th in the league and Juric hopes to push the teams in the top half, but stressed his men must ‘improve’ through hard work.
“We are a good team, we lack something in certain departments in terms of development in the game, but I believe in the work,” Juric said at a press conference. “[Ola] Aina and [Wilfried] Singo need to improve, as well as [Tommaso] Pobega and [Dennis] Praet.
“I also apply some pressure; we have to pick up more points and ask more from ourselves. Bremer and Buongiorno have matured, we have to be more aggressive too. We must attack with more men, then it’s normal for a coach to want to keep his feet on the ground.
“The team is good and can grow, we need to improve. It caught me off guard, compared to my previous answers. When I said that we are beyond my expectations.
“After Empoli, I was devastated. We slaughtered them, but we took one point, and it scares a coach, because it’s normal to have bad days. I don’t want anything negative to enter our group, we must try to win everywhere and not get nervous.”
Torino have won twice in the last five games but are struggling away from home this season. Juric arrived ahead of the season and has only overseen one away win in 2021-22.
And the Granata travel to Sardinia on a run of four consecutive 1-0 defeats on the road.