Torino salvaged their permanence in Serie A on Tuesday night as they held Lazio to a goalless draw in a catch-up match from Round 25. The Granata needed one point to retain their top-flight status and accomplished their mission despite Lazio missing a penalty with Ciro Immobile and continuing to attack until the very last minute of the game at the Stadio Olimpico.
With tonight’s draw, Torino moved four points clear of Benevento in the league table with one game to go, condemning the Sanniti to relegation. The two sides will square off on Sunday in the last campionato match-day in what was expected to be a real relegation play-out but whose outcome will be irrelevant by now.
Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento thus descended into the second division just one year after gaining promotion to the top-flight. They ultimately paid for a dramatic drop in form in 2021 after a brilliant first half of the season. Torino, on the other hand, retained their top-flight status mostly thanks to a change at the helm – with Turin-born and Granata supporter Davide Nicola replacing coach Federico Giampaolo in the middle of the season.
Tonight’s game at the Stadio Olimpico was originally scheduled on March 2 but was postponed due to a COVID outbreak hitting the Torino camp.
Lazio didn’t have anything to ask for as they had already lost their dim hopes for a Champions League qualification after losing the Derby della Capitale on Saturday. But the Biancocelesti did their part to honor the game, with coach Simone Inzaghi perhaps trying to help his brother Filippo.
After a dull first period, with Torino understandably closed in defense, Lazio took control of the game and tested Torino’s Salvatore Sirigu in multiple occasions. The Azzurri backup shot-stopper produced himself in some brilliant goalkeeping on 75 minutes as he denied Gonzalo Escalante from point-blank distance.
With six minutes to go, the home side got a massive chance to draw first blood and keep Benevento’s hopes alive as Nicholas Nkoulou tackled Ciro Immobile in the box and prompted referee Michael Fabbri to point to the penalty spot. But the former Golden Boot squandered his golden chance as his conversion attempt crashed into Sirigu’s post.
Torino had to resist a few more minutes and saw Lazio’s Manuel Lazzari hitting the post again before they could celebrate their permanence in Serie A – a new feather in “salvation specialist” Davide Nicola’s cap, as the coach had already led Crotone out of an almost-desperate relegation battle in the 2016-17 season.