Nikola Vlašić

Loan Watch: Vlašić impresses for Torino

Nikola Vlašić helped Torino to pick up four points in a matter of days, as his side impressed in two hard-fought Serie A fixtures last week.

The Croatia attacking midfielder scored and assisted a goal in a 2-0 win over Sampdoria on Wednesday 9 November. Here, Vlašić controlled the ball and spun, before striking his fourth goal of the league season, having early assisted teammate Nemanja Radonjic, who had earlier opened the scoring.

Four days later, Vlašić, who has been named in Croatia’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar by manager Zlatko Dalić, was again in the action as Torino battled to a 1-1 draw against inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League champions Roma on Sunday 13 November.

At the Stadio Olimpico, Vlašić and company were only denied a second successive league win by former Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matić's 94th-minute equaliser. 

But despite the late drama in Rome, two positive results leave Torino ninth in the Serie A table, having taken ten points from their last five league fixtures ahead of the mid-season break.

Nikola Vlašić

Elsewhere, there was a victory for young shot-stopper Jacob Knightbridge, as Harrow Borough recorded a 2-1 victory over fourth-placed Poole Town on Saturday 12 November.  

The 18-year-old goalkeeper featured between the sticks as his side picked up their fifth win of the season in the Southern League Premier Division South.

Meanwhile, Manny Longelo played 90 minutes for EFL Championship side Birmingham City in a 1-2 defeat by Sunderland at St Andrew’s.

Tony Mowbray's Sunderland saw on-loan Everton striker Ellis Simms as well as Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo score, although a narrow loss still leaves Longelo and Birmingham City tenth in the Championship table – and just three points from the Play-Off places.

Last weekend, a collection of Academy prospects also made cameos from the bench across the English football leagues.

Armstrong Okoflex played the final 20 minutes as Swansea City drew 0-0 with Huddersfield Town in the EFL Championship, while, in EFL League One and EFL League Two, Colchester United’s Dan Chesters, Port Vale’s Mipo Odubeko and Newport County’s Thierry Nevers were unable to help their respective sides avoid defeat, despite being introduced from the substitutes’ bench.

Port Vale are 15th in League One after a 0-4 reverse at Oxford United, for whom former Hammer Marcus Browne started. Newport squandered a half-time lead to lose 1-2 at home to Stockport County to leave the Welsh side 19th in the League Two table, while Colchester's 0-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra left the Essex club bottom.