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Torino 1-1 Fiorentina: Player grades and 3 things we learned

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It can be hard to take too much away from such an absurd match, but we’ll do our best.

Torino FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Player grades

Bartłomiej Drągowski—5: Another slightly iffy performance from the Polish star. Charged off his line in a pretty uncontrolled fashion and clattered into Saša Lukić in the first half and was lucky the midfielder was offside; it was a penalty otherwise. Not at fault on the goal but did seem a half step slow at times. Still the team’s best player on the season, though, so it’d be dumb to criticize him for this performance.

Nikola Milenković—4: Completely lost his head in that confrontation with Andrea Belotti. Yes, il Gallo should be ashamed of himself for the acting, but the fact is that Nikola needs to maintain his composure there. Mostly kept Belotti quiet other than that but did gallop forward a bit too much in the first half, leaving the team open to counters down that side.

Germán Pezzella—5: He’ll rightly shoulder most of the blame for Belotti’s goal, as he seemed to completely switch off and let the ball go right by him. Was mostly okay other than that but seemed a bit shaky at times, particularly trying to run with a couple of pretty quick strikers.

Lucas Martínez Quarta—6.5: Promising performance but not a perfect one. Quite good in the first half and shifted to right back later on to good effect. Showed tremendous passing range. Defended very proactively, sticking tight to his man and trying to get in front to prevent the ball coming in; when it works, it’s great, but needs to learn when to stand off a bit and deny that space in behind as well.

Lorenzo Venuti—6: Did a fine job without ever standing out. Did a good job getting forward in the first half and put in a couple of really good crosses and did a nice job of keeping up with Cristian Ansaldi, who’s been a good player for a long time. Proved for the umpteenth time that he’s a perfect option on the bench.

Giacomo Bonaventura—7: Man of the match. His combination with Ribery for the goal was lovely and included a backheel, but he was positive both with and without the ball for most of the day. Very good at making runs from deep, which helps offset Ribery’s movement in the opposite direction. Showed a willingness to play quick 1-2s with his teammates at the edge of the box that could pay massive dividends once everyone’s on the same page. Still vanished for long stretches but showed that he’s definitely got something left in the tank.

Sofyan Amrabat—6.5: Bustled around the midfield like a madman, throwing his body around and adding some steel to combat Torino’s physicality. Also took more touches than anyone else in the game. Di Bello let him get hacked to pieces and the Moroccan never stopped working. That kind of all-action performance, especially while a man down, should endear him to the fans.

Gaetano Castrovilli—4: More unlucky than anything to give away the red card, although it felt a bit soft as there were defenders in vaguely covering positions; Tanino had slipped on the grass moments before, so you think it was his shoes more than anything. It’s a shame, too, as he’d been quite good up to that point.

Cristiano Biraghi—4.5: Very cumbersome when trying to get back in defense and was clearly incapable of keeping up with the impressive Wilfried Singo, letting the Ivorian in behind him numerous times. Didn’t offer much going forward, with his crossing from open play leaving quite a bit to be desired and his set piece delivery perhaps even worse.

Dušan Vlahović—6: So unlucky not to score, hitting the post early on (although he probably should’ve buried, to be honest) and then having another goal ruled out for a marginal offside. Battled against three big, rugged defenders without much support and held the ball up well. Did get caught offside 4 times, which is a bit of a concern; he’ll want to address that in training, although they weren’t all his fault.

Franck Ribery—6.5: The goal was an absolute masterpiece, the kind of play that he produces on a seemingly weekly basis to pull Fiorentina’s chestnuts out of the fire. The problem here was that he wasn’t very good otherwise, losing the ball on the break or pulling it back when the open pitch beckoned because he just doesn’t have the legs. His petulance when he doesn’t get the ball exactly where he wants it is also wearing a bit thin. Still, good heavens was that an incredible goal.

Igor—6: Brought on to solidify things after Milenković went off and did everything he could. Had a crucial deflection on a Singo shot that just barely pushed the ball upwards and off the bar instead of under it.

Valentin Eysseric—5: Didn’t do anything besides not close down Simone Verdi very well on the winger’s assist. In fairness to Val, he’s never been the sort of player you want to see out a game with just 8 other players and none of the ball, so you can’t be too mad at him here.

Christian Kouamé—6: Did a pretty great job, honestly. Dropped in, buzzed around to harry Torino as much as he could, and held up play quite impressively. Not sure what he needs to do to get a chance to start a game with up front with Vlahović, but some mysteries don’t have answers.

Three things we learned

2. LMQ stepped up today. Igor was finally given a rest and it was the young Argentine’s chance to show why Fiorentina shelled $7 million dollars for him. He cleaned up well at the back and made some timely interventions to stop the bleeding when La Viola were relegated to nine men. He didn’t communicate well with Pezzella on the Torino equalizer, but that seems to be more the fault of the captain than the youngster. In a time of dire need he even pushed out to RB and showed he can absolutely fill in there in a pinch. Towards the end of the game he marauded forward on a few small counter-attacks and showed some skill on the ball as well. With the inevitable departure of Milenković and the steady decline of Pezzella, LMQ is going to one of the focal points of the Fiorentina defense with Igor.

3. Fiorentina can’t always rely on moments of magic. What Franck Ribéry and Jack Bonaventura conjured up for the Fiorentina goal was nothing short of pure magic. When you put two players of their skill level together against a relegation contender in Torino, you can expect the cream to rise to the top. However, similar to last year, Fiorentina can’t expect to win off individual moments of brilliance. Calcio is a team game and they can’t rely on their stars to always win them matches. Aside from the two Vlahović chances (the one that hit the post and the one ruled out by VAR), they didn’t trouble the Torino goal much. The young Serb has been on fire of late, but he can’t continue to miss chances like he did today. Those small misses are the difference between mounting a real top-10 challenge and just being a team assured of safety. Fiorentina love to cross the ball in from the flanks, but that strategy doesn’t seem to be working either. The more they play together the more I think they’ll develop a rhythm, but right now it seems like often need individual skill or penalties to win.

NickyNutella’s MVP: Giacomo Bonaventura