Torino 1 AC Milan 3

September 2, 2008 at 6:26 am | Posted in Games In My Travels | Leave a comment

I travelled on an overnight train from Barcelona to Torino in September of 2000.  I got off at the wrong stop at the smaller train station at about 5:30 AM and had to walk to the tourist kiosk to try to get a room for the next night.  The kiosk didn’t open until 9 am so I had a sleep on a bench out front.

I was sent to a place near the big train station.  It was not a particularly nice neighbourhood, but the room was clean and cheap.  I had not eaten since the previous evening so I was famished and went out in search of food. I found a nice deli and ordered some absolutely gorgeous food and found a local newspaper.  It was Saturday and I had thought that I was going to see a division 2 clash between Torino and Venizia the next day, but it tuned out that it was in fact a Coppa Italia match between Torino and…AC Milan!!! My heart leaped.  I had not thought that I was going to see one of the biggest clubs in world football.  I asked the proprietor of the deli to tell me where to get a ticket.  Very kindly she walked me around to a place called “Solo Toro” a fan shop which sold Toro gear and souvenirs.  It was run by a depressed looking couple who told me just to go to the stadium and buy a ticket there.  I foolishly thought that a match with AC Milan would be sold out.

The Coppa Italia has the status of the League Cup in England.  No one takes it that seriously and the big teams play their second teams in the early rounds and don’t take it seriously until they are in the quarters.   Mind you, AC Milan, like all of the world’s big teams, has one hell of a second team.  On the night Oliver Bierhoff started up front and World Cup starter for Brazil Leonardo also played.

Torino is one of World Football’s tragic clubs.  It was the undisputed best team in all of Italy and won four or five Italian championships in the late 1940’s.  In 1949, A plane carrying all but one of the Toro players crashed in the fog in a tragedy more nasty than Manchester United’s Munich disaster in 1958.   Torino did not win another Italian championship until 1976, and have not won another since. They have had success in the Coppa Italia, but not on this night.

Toro used to play at their ground Filadelfia, but moved to the stadio Communale and then Stadio Dell Alpe which they shared with Juventus.  It has to be one of the worst places to watch a football match.  It has the deadly running track and then some separating the fans from the intensity of the action on the pitch.   I could not believe how far away I was from the field of play. I soon realised how foolish I was in trying to buy a ticket earlier, because there were no more than 10, 000 in a stadium that can hold 70,000.  The majority of the Fans were crowded behind one goal.  AC Milan had some travelling support who were well organized and vocal.

A fellow called Guly scored two long range crackers for AC Milan either side of halftime.  They were superb low shots which hit the corner of the net from 25 to 30 yards out.  Bierhoff scored, but Toro pulled one back late through a little guy called Pinga. AC Milan put the match away with the latter Guly wonder strike strike at the end of the match.

It was an odd experience sitting in this vast stadium with so few people present after sitting with 90,000 or so for the Champions league match in Barcelona, and I am glad that Torino now play in the smaller Olympic Stadium instead of the Del Alpe (which  Juventus are in the process of renovating to better suit footy viewing).

Toro are now back up in Serie A and I hope they manage to claw their way back up to the top end of the table.  Go TORO!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torino_F.C.

http://www.archiviotoro.it/a/archivio/archivio/0001/c6.asp

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