RNK Split 0-0 Torino 1408MR13

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I fought against it for a little while knowing Immobile was gone and Cerci likely to be the same way (he was not in the squad for this game) but I had to resume my love affair at some stage and last night afforded me the chance to fall head over heels in love with the 2014/15 vintage of Toro.

So, what happened? I guess with Torino being away from home, the key was to avoid defeat. Such negativity has been a feature of Ventura’s Toro, and though it was absent in the last thrilling season, it was no surprise to see a return to type last night. Rare are the games at this stage that excite.

It offered opportunity for some of the new players to shine away from the spotlight a little, that they singularly failed to take, and offered the more well-known players the chance to prove they’d not lost anything over the summer, and they too singularly failed to deliver.

It wasn’t all bad; Split seldom threatened and Toro look comfortable in possession and adept at creating spaces and getting runners away (particularly down the right hand side). The problem came in the final third against massed ranks of defence with a lack creativity horribly expose. That said, Quagliarella came on and looked still a yard off the pace – a couple of opportunities for him to shoot opened up, but he failed to capitalise.

There was a chance that fell to Larrondo (I think) late on, a low cross came to him in front of goal. He didn’t swing at it, but went to control. And utterly, utterly failed. It was symptomatic of a Torino that looked rusty, and represented the only real chance of getting a goal. I get the feeling I’m in for a long season.

Entertainment factor? 3/10.

GFCO Ajaccio 0-2 AC Ajaccio; 1408MR11

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Knowing that there was due to be an Ajaccio derby this season was exciting news for me at the end of last, and I’d pencilled it in as one of the ‘must watch’ fixtures when it came about; given that it started a full hour before Chelsea’s trip to Burnley, don’t peg me as some irascible hipster – I’ve always had a fondness for AC Ajaccio, ever since I was mistaken for one of their players once. It doesn’t make me a fan, but someone who wishes them well. Add that to the fact they’ve got Dennis Oliech, the greatest of all the Kenyan footballers, and count amongst their fans Alizée, the most lovely lady in all of France, then watching them doesn’t seem such a ludicrous thing to do early on a summer’s evening.

So What Happened? Sadly, my stream for this one was patchy, so I missed a couple of interesting incidents. The game started with GFCO pressing, albeit with a lack of quality and AC trying to catch them on the break. Both sides looked to be taking time getting into their stride, but then after about 10 minutes, it started to get a little – as the vernacular would have it – tasty. Tackles were flying in, largely around the centre-circle, and there was a number of flare-ups; as befitting a local derby, even one that has been played so infrequently (I think this was the fifth).

It was from one of those resultant free-kicks that Fauvergue put the visitors ahead with a lovely far post volley back across goal. That brought the match further to life though I missed the sending off because of stream freeze. If I was guessing, it would be for a physical confrontation, because it took place in the AC box, but I missed it, so it would be imprudent to comment on. Either way, it pretty much meant game over. Although AC looked a little more likely, their best chance came about by goalkeeper and defender getting in a tangle on the edge of the box, allowing Oliech to tuck home the loose ball into the empty net. Beyond that, GFCO huffed and puffed but never looked like blowing the house down, while AC were happy to sit back and try catch them on the break – the visitors looked more likely, but not a lot.

Entertainment Factor? 6/10

₁That’s open to debate, but I think she is.

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