Toni fires Verona to victory
Luca Toni proved he is fit for the World Cup as he inspired Verona to a 4-0 win over Catania on Sunday.
Last Updated: 27/04/14 1:48pm
Luca Toni proved he is fit for the World Cup as he inspired Hellas Verona to a 4-0 win over Catania on Sunday with his 19th and 20th goals of the season.
The 36-year-old was too much for Catania to handle as he led Verona's push for a place in the Europa League next season, while he perhaps should have completed his hat-trick before taking exception to being substituted in the second half.
Marquinho and Juan Gomez completed the rout against a Catania side whose relegation to Serie B could be confirmed next weekend.
Verona raced in front with Juan Iturbe's shot pushed out by Alberto Frison to Toni, who was in his usual position to pounce and take his 19th goal of the season, sending yet another clear message to Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.
He thought he had added a second in the 25th minute, but his volley from Emil Hallfredsson's free-kick was ruled out for offside.
Only three minutes later, Toni celebrated his 20th goal of the season.
Jacopo Sala's cross from the right found him unmarked six yards out, and he demonstrated that he does not miss from there.
Toni should have had his hat-trick in the 43rd minute when a free-kick was deflected to him, but he scooped the ball over from close range.
The Italian forward was then involved in the build-up to a goal which, on the stroke of half-time, finished Catania off.
He held up the ball well before turning his defender and sending Gomez down the right.
Gomez switched play to the left where Marquinho controlled before sending his shot beyond Frison with the outside of his left boot.
It could have been worse in stoppage time when Vangelis Moras' header was pushed onto the post by Frison.
There was little let up in the second half as the rain grew in intensity, and so too did Verona with Marquinho pulling a shot just wide of the far post on the hour mark.
Sala was the provider once again 15 minutes later, playing the ball into the path of Gomez who got his name on the scoresheet with a shot into the bottom left-hand corner.
Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini then decided it was time to give Toni a standing ovation, although the former Fiorentina and Bayern Munich forward could have done without it.
He made a frustrated gesture towards the bench and traipsed off unhappy to be deprived the chance of completing his hat-trick, but having already done more than enough to tempt Prandelli into considering him for a second World Cup.
His previous call came in 2006 after he netted 21 goals for Fiorentina, just one more than he has now managed this season for Verona.