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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

Torino

28.04.2013 SERIE A 2012/2013
FC Torino - Juventus 0:2

It was extremely difficult to get the tickets, and if it had not been for some connections in Italy, all efforts would have been in vain. Undoubtedly, the Turin derby is a big event. Interestingly, even up to just a couple of hours before the kick off, neither Teams' fans were to be found in the city centre. The FC Torino souvenir shop was crowded, but with "occasional" customers: city visitors rather than football fans. 
From Piazza Carlo Felice it is most convenient to get to the Stadio Olimpico by tram (no.4) - it takes then ca. 10-15 minutes from the stop to the venue, a walk alongside a park.
The stadium ambience is typical of most of football grounds: a mixture of snack points and club souvenir outlets with the auburn-dressed clad in all possible age intervals. One could clearly sense a call for revenge, hanging in the air: for many years the local rivals have been doing much better, both performance- and financial-wise and critically – the last derby ended up with a shameful defeat (0:3) of FC Torino. Juventus fans are fired by passion and by all possible means: verbally, in sign language, as well as through unrefined inscriptions placed on T-shirts, flags and banners. The sudden arrival of a seaman, an inmate, a zebra or somebody else wearing black and white stripes would certainly result in a very hostile reception. Some youngsters standing in the park nearby blasted off a few petards, largely entertaining the audience. Ticket offices closed, yet attracting fans anyway: three middle aged women were sharing a high-voltage (%) drink straight from the bottle accompanied by a cigarette. Loads of rubbish on the ground including thousands of ice-cream (frozen coffee?) cups distributed free of charge. First cleaning service men appeared knowing that if no action started now, then they would shortly need to use bulldozers, which they do not have at their disposal! Suddenly the crown rolled, howled and rushed towards the stadium fence, which surely must have heralded the one and only possibility: the coach with a big emblem “Juventus Football Club” arrived.
The match setting was fabulous: the host club colours dominated the stadium and La Maratona (the most devoted fans’ stand) exploded with flags, banners and fireworks (smoke, naturally, in auburn), an XL size curtain was hung above the stand and fire was burning under the bull – the Club’s symbol. By comparison, a big flag proudly rolled over in the guest fans’ sector looked modest. Here and there one could spot a Juve banner or an emblem, yet those were displayed faintly if not fearfully.
With all due respect, a list of advantages enjoyed by the hosts is hereby finished and the pitch revealed some brutal truths: when it comes to the play culture, and quality, the teams are miles away from each other. Torino tactic (if it actually existed) was all about long passes towards Bianchi (no. 9, long hair with a band, careless stubble, simply: idol) whilst midfield line was by-passed. And this in front of maestro Pirlo assisted by Vidal, Pogba and the so called false striker Marchisio (false or not – he scored a goal). Hence a clash between Pinocchio and Tarzan was to be observed, with the latter one showing mercy for far too long. On a more serious note, with this sort of a team set up there is hardly any chance for anything else but a struggle for Serie A survival. “No names” in Giampero Ventura’s team is probably the first finding and although the names do not perform by themselves, having no names at all does not help and a relatively solid goalkeeper combined with long passes would not bring any sustainable value.
Glik noted a relatively decent performance until booked first time and made Vucinic’s life hard. Yet Quagriarella who substituted the Montenegro star in the closing phase of the game, appeared a smart dodger (subtle provoking, plus a lot of theatre – quite an Italian speciality though) and the Polish national, just like the previous derby, was sent off.
My private discovery of the match was Paul Pogba. The 20-year old French impressed me a lot with calm and mature tackles in both defense and attack. I wonder if Man Utd were aware whom they were losing to Juve on a free transfer basis – I am sure the football world will hear a lot about the young shaver, and many renowned clubs will be offering Juve millions of Euros for his transfer...
The weather was not our best ally this time. It was heavily raining almost the entire game. Pretty usual for the players on the pitch, but for us, a doubtful pleasure, lasting for the whole of the several minutes march towards the tram stop. We got completely wet – that is a fact – however another soggy football ground is ticked.