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  • Writer's pictureLazio Stories

1982-83 Season Overview

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

The previous year had been a terrible one. Lazio had started as one of the favourites for promotion but instead needed a Vincenzo D’Amico hat trick in the final home game to avoid risking relegation. Manager Ilario Castagner had been sacked half way through and was replaced by Roberto Clagluna.

Source SS Lazio Museum

In 1982 Italy won the World Cup in Spain and the Federation decided to cut two years suspension off all players involved. That meant that Bruno Giordano and Lionello Manfredonia could return to play, making Lazio favourites, together with Milan, for promotion.

Lazio started the season in the Coppa Italia but after winning against Perugia, two losses against the Serie A teams Avellino and Napoli meant an early exit.

But there was Serie A to conquer. The start was not good with three draws. At this point Clagluna changed things. Fernando Orsi replaced Maurizio Moscatelli, who had never recovered properly from his Achilles heel injury of 1980, Marco Saltarelli came in for Vincenzo Chiarenza as left back, Renato Miele substituted Paolo Pochesci as centre back. Lazio won at San Benedetto and beat Cremonese at home. After losing at Bologna, Manfredonia was moved to midfield and Lazio won eight consecutive games between the end of October and the beginning of December. After 13 games Lazio were first with a three-point lead over Milan.

The last two games of the year were two draws. The first against Reggiana saw the most impressive performance by a Lazio goalkeeper of all time as Orsi saved everything humanly possible. The last game was the big match against Milan. The Biancoclesti went behind twice but goals from Giordano and D’Amico allowed them to draw. So at the end of the year they were still first.

In the next 19 games Lazio only managed three wins. A deep psychological crisis. It was not as if in the first part the Biancocelesti were playing champagne football but at least they were effective. In the second part, all the problems came out. Very few scoring chances were created so Lazio were just not scoring enough . In March it looked as if the clouds were leaving as the Biancoclesti won away at Cremona, drew at home with Bologna and away with Perugia and then beat Bari. But then three consecutive goalless draws and two defeats against Pistoiese and Varese meant that Lazio Reggiana was a must win match. Three times in front with Giordano, three times Reggiana equalised. Lazio were second and had a one point lead over Cremonese and two over Catania, Come and Cavese.

Clagluna had to go to create a spark which could allow the team to get over the finishing line. Veteran Lazio player and Primavera Manager Giancarlo Morrone was called, along with Bob Lovati as Technical Director, to help create that spark. First match in Milan was a disaster as Lazio collapsed 5-1. Lazio, Cremonese, Catania, Como and Cavese were all level at 40 points. Only two would go up since Milan were miles ahead.

On Sunday May 22, Lazio fans woke up with heavy hearts. But when they went to buy their newspapers, they discovered that Giorgio Chinaglia wanted to buy Lazio. The enthusiasm that this news generated brought 55,000 people to the Olimpico to watch Lazio Atalanta. The Biancoclesti won and were now second again on 42 points, Catania and Cremonese 41, Come and Cavese 40.

The next game was a goalless draw at Arezzo. Lazio and Catania 43, Cremonese 42, Como and Cavese 41.

The following Sunday came the mother of all games for Lazio, at home against Catania. A win would mean that a single point would then guarantee promotion. And a win it was thanks to a shot from Gabriele Podavini deflected by Giorgio Mastropasqua that made it 2-1. Lazio 45 points, Cremonese 44, Catania and Como 43, Cavese 41 and out of contention.

Last game was at Cava de’ Tirreni against Cavese. A draw was needed and draw it was. Lazio were back in Serie A after three years!!!!

Chinaglia arrived in July and became President on July 13, 1983.

A final note on that season. In order to celebrate, Lazio organised a friendly against Ajax on June 17. Apart from Giordano scoring three incredible goals, the match was important because Italians were introduced for the very first time to a young Dutch centre-forward, his name was Marco Van Basten.


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