Juventus vs Torino history: Why is it called the Derby della Mole?

The overwhelming modern success of Juventus may have hindered international interest in the Derby della Mole, but it is one of Italy's most interesting derbies historically.

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When Juventus and Torino meet in the Derby della Mole, the Granata have often played the role of underdog looking to get one over their more decorated bitter rivals, but the Old Lady of Italian football have not always dominated one of the longest city feuds in Serie A.

With Toro founded when a group of unhappy Juventus members joined forces with local side Torinese in late 1906, the new club’s first competitive fixture was against the Bianconeri, and the duo shared three titles during the next two decades. Juventus would then enjoy a period of dominance during the 1930s, before the Granata embarked on five championships in seven seasons between 1943 and 1949.

Tragedy struck Torino, though, when that entire squad were killed in the Superga air disaster and they struggled to keep pace with the Old Lady’s ability to collect silverware. Toro soon became the poorer relation of the city cousins and are now left to bask in the local glory of rare triumphs over the Bianconeri.

Adrien Rabiot in action for Juventus against Torino. [@juventusfcen]

Why is it called the Derby della Mole?

The fixture takes its name from the famous Mole Antonelliana building in Turin, which was named after its architect Alessandro Antonelli and took 26 years to complete. That was too long for Antonelli to see its completion before his passing.

They added Mole to the name because of its vast size, as that is the Italian term given to buildings over such significant proportions, and was originally due to be a synagogue. Since the turn of the millennium, though, it has been home to the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema).

The often-forgotten European play-off

Towards the end of the 1980s, with Torino experiencing something of a resurgence domestically, there was literally nothing separating them from Juventus in Serie A. At the end of the 1987/88 campaign, the pair finished joint sixth. They had equal points, head-to-head points and head-to-head goal difference.

With the position providing entry into the UEFA Cup, the precursor to the Europa League, the league held a play-off to decide who would progress into Europe at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, which was then acting as the home venue for both clubs.

Unsurprisingly, the 120 minutes of open play on May 23, 1988, could not separate the two sides and the match had to be decided by a penalty shootout. Antonio Comi and Silvano Benedetti missed the third and fourth kicks for Torino, though, allowing Liverpool legend Ian Rush to give Juventus a 4-2 win with his last act before returning to Merseyside.

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