Ventura backs Cerci to shine again for Torino

Torino head coach Giampiero Ventura is backing Alessio Cerci to build on the progress he made last season as Il Toro visit Atalanta on Sunday.

Alessio Cerci, Torino

The former Roma and Fiorentina winger caught the eye of Italy boss Cesare Prandelli with his dynamic performances for Torino and travelled to Brazil for the Confederations Cup, in which the Azzurri finished third.

Cerci followed up his eight-goal haul for 2012-13 by scoring the second goal of a 2-0 season-opening victory over Sassuolo and Ventura hopes the Laziale player can go on to greater things this year.

He said: "Cerci still has a lot of work to do and he is not in top form but he knows this could be a very important year for him.

"We hope his goal against Sassuolo can give him the impetus to push on again."

Torino defender Salvatore Masiello is injured for the game at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia while Atalanta are missing Franco Brienza, Giulio Migliaccio, Gianpaolo Bellini, Riccardo Cazzola and Cristiano del Grosso.

A knee injury suffered by Luigi Giorgi makes life even more difficult for Nerazzurri coach Stefano Colantuono, whose side were beaten 2-1 at Cagliari on the first weekend.

He said: "Regardless of the defeat I am satisfied. We may have conceded but we created lots of chances.

"But we all know that, in football, if you don't score then you don't win."

Torino beat Atalanta twice last season and claimed a memorable victory in this fixture - trumping their hosts 5-1 in Bergamo.

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