Preview: Torino vs. Cagliari 

Preview: Torino vs. Cagliari 

Kicking off their return to the top flight after one year away, Cagliari visit Torino in their Serie A season opener on Monday.

After securing promotion through the playoffs, Claudio Ranieri’s men begin their comeback against a Toro side that posted their second straight top-half finish last term.

Having recovered from a sluggish start to claim fifth spot in Serie B, and with it a precious playoff place, Cagliari went on to complete their top-flight return at the first time of asking, with veteran coach Claudio Ranieri leading the way back to the promised land.

In his second spell at the club, the former Premier League winner steered the Sardinian side past Venezia, Parma and then Bari in the final, which they won 2-1 on aggregate thanks to Leonardo Pavoletti’s late winner at Stadio San Nicola.

Achieving their seventh promotion from the second tier to Calcio’s elite level, Cagliari returned via the playoffs for the first time ever, joining Genoa back in Serie A just 12 months after relegation.

During pre-season, the Isolani racked up a series of wins against minnows and youth teams, before holding Brest to a 1-1 draw, and their first competitive outing ended with victory over Palermo last week, when two extra-time goals saw Ranieri’s side scrape through to the Coppa Italia’s second round.

Ahead of Monday’s trip to Turin, Cagliari have lost just one of their last eight league matches against Torino, winning on both of their two most recent visits to Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. However, they have not won once in their last seven Serie A season openers.

Preview: Torino vs. Cagliari – prediction, team news, lineups

By contrast with their visitors, Torino boast a proud record on the opening matchday: they have gone unbeaten through 16 first-day fixtures against promoted sides, winning 11 – including each of the last six.

Last year, Toro kicked off the 2022-23 campaign by beating Serie A newcomers Monza 2-1, and they ultimately finished one point ahead of the Biancorossi in the final standings to claim another top-half finish.

Ivan Juric has therefore led the Granata to successive 10th-place finishes since taking the reins in Turin, and despite regular rumblings of discontent, he remains in the dugout for a third season and has stated Europe should be his team’s next aim.

While Wilfried Singo and Ola Aina have left this summer, Juric was pleased to see Nikola Vlasic convert his loan deal to a permanent contract, with Ivan Ilic and Nemanja Radonjic also choosing to prolong their stays.

Concerns remain about support for star striker Antonio Sanabria, though, as Torino barely averaged over a goal per game last term and have yet to recruit a proven scorer.

Nonetheless, after some mixed results in pre-season, they joined Cagliari in the second round of the cup by beating Feralpisalo 2-1 on Monday, when goals from Ilic and Mergim Vojvoda proved sufficient reward for a dominant performance.

Torino form (all competitions):

Cagliari form (all competitions):

We say: Torino 1-0 Cagliari
After two years at the helm in Turin, Ivan Juric has fully imprinted his methods on a well-drilled Torino team that remains mostly unchanged from last season. Such continuity should help them make a good start on home soil, consigning Cagliari to defeat on their latest Serie A comeback.

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