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  • Writer's pictureLazio Stories

1983-84 Overview

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Source Lazio Wiki

Lazio were finally back in Serie A after three difficult years in the second division, the "purgatory" of Serie B. Relegated unjustly due to the fact that four players have been involved in the Totonero scandal of 1980, in the first year the Biancocelesti had just missed out of promotion due to a missed penalty in the penultimate game of the season. The 1981-82 season was rather dismal and Lazio managed to avoid relegation thanks to a Vincenzo D’Amico hattrick in the final home game.

 

Promotion had been made possible thanks to the return of Bruno Giordano and Lionello Manfredonia from their suspension who, together with D’Amico, and a mixture of young and experienced players, had managed to get over the line despite a long crisis in which the objective seemed to be slipping away. Fortunately, two wins and two draws in the last four games were enough to reach the long awaited objective.

 

There was great enthusiasm among the fans mainly because Long John Giorgio Chinaglia, the hero of the 1973-74 scudetto, had returned as President with the promise of lots of money to invest in the club.

 

Despite the promises, the summer signings had not been so good. The big names were young Danish forward Michael Laudrup, on loan from Juventus, and Brazilian International Joao Batista. These two were the first foreign players signed after the re-opening of the frontiers.

 

Giancarlo Morrone, who had substituted Roberto Clagluna towards the end of the previous season, was confirmed as manager.

 

1983-84 opened with the Coppa Italia. Six teams in Group 2: Juventus, Bari, Catanzaro, Perugia and Taranto. The top two qualified for the round of 16. Lazio had started reasonably well drawing at Catanzaro and beating Perugia, but then a surprise defeat at Taranto and a goalless draw at Bari meant that they had to beat Juventus at home in the last game to go through. They played well but the draw meant that they were out.

 

Anyway, Serie A was more important. Th first game was a disaster. Verona hammered Lazio with four goals and only a late Laudrup brace masked a bad defeat. The next game at home was a triumph: 3-0 against Inter. But in the next ten matches the Biancocelesti won only two (2-1 against Avellino and 3-0 to Catania), drew two (both in Genoa) and lost six, including the derby. Lazio were second from last and Morrone was sacked. Former player Paolo Carosi was called up and after a controversial draw at home against Udinese, the Biancocelesti went to Ascoli on December 31. There, Antonio Bogoni with a killer tackle broke Giordano’s leg.

 

Lazio fell into despair, losing the Ascoli match as well as the next one at home against Pisa. 

 

The Biancocelesti had only nine points after the first half of the season. Carosi realised that he had to do something and he put his faith in the players with greater experience. Life without probably one of the best centre forwards in Europe would not be easy and there was no backup plan. At this point D’Amico and Manfredonia took matters into their own hands and stepped up to lead the team. 

 

Lazio started earning points. In the first six games of the second half of the season they beat Genoa and Sampdoria at home and drew against Verona, Inter away (thanks to a Walter Zenga howler) and a dramatic derby 2-2.

 

Just when things were looking brighter, the Biancocelesti faltered again. The last four games became fundamental. Fortunately, Giordano came back in record time. The week before the unlucky defeat against Fiorentina, a rumour spread that Lazio’s star player might be on the bench and possibly play the final minutes. Ten thousand fans travelled to Florence (including us!) in the hope of seeing their captain play. He came on with 20 minutes to go and this was the best possible news for Lazio.


The following match against Napoli saw Giordano regain his place in the centre of the Lazio attack. It took him just 30 seconds to score and the Biancocelesti managed to win the game 3-2. There was still hope. But defeat in the next game at Udine meant that the Biancoclesti needed three points in the last two games to stay in Serie A. The table at the bottom read: Napoli and Avellino 24, Genoa and Lazio 22, Pisa 21, Catania (relegated) 11. Last games were Lazio-Ascoli, Juventus-Avellino, Milan-Pisa, Fiorentina-Genoa and Napoli-Udinese.

 

At the end of the first half Napoli was winning 1-0, Avellino was losing, Pisa, Genoa and Lazio were drawing. This meant Napoli 26 points, Avellino 24, Genoa and Lazio 23, Pisa 21. Fortunately Angelo Cupini scored for the Biancocelesti and Pisa lost so they were relegated. Avellino managed to draw and Napoli won leaving the race. Going into the final match Lazio had 24 points and Genoa 23. Final games Pisa-Lazio, Genoa-Juve but the Biancocneri had already won the title so they had little to lose.

 

A mass exodus of Lazio fans accompanied the team to Tuscany. The Arena Garibaldi was almost entirely light blue and white.

 

Things seemed to be looking up when the radios announced Juventus had taken the lead with Antonio Cabrini at Marassi after 7 minutes. Only three minutes later however, Genoa equalised with a Beniamino Vignola own goal. Back to square one until, only a minute later, Bruno-Gol scored for Lazio, with a header from a D'Amico free kick. Half time Pisa 0 Lazio 1 and Genoa 1 Juventus 1; Lazio 26 points, Genoa 24. Things were looking good.

 

At the beginning of the second half however Pisa equalised with a controversial goal by Danish Klaus Berggreen who seemed to score with his arm. So, 1-1 but Lazio were still safe.

Pisa pushed forward looking to go down with dignity and a win. Luca Birigozzi in the 52nd minute shot over the bar from a favourable position and five minutes later he had the mother of all chances. He found himself with an open goal with only Lazio's Batista on the goal line but somehow managed to get his shot cleared by the Brazilian. One of those chances that are easier to score than miss.

 

Having seen hell's door opening Lazio turned up the pressure and were rewarded in the 67th minute. Manfredonia was fouled in the area for a clear penalty. Giordano's low spot kick was not impeccable but went under keeper Alessandro Mannini for the 2-1.

 

Lazio then got a third, but Laudrup had his goal ruled out for offside. Still, going into the last two or three minutes the situation seemed under control, Lazio were winning and Genoa drawing.

 

Then in the 89th minute Stefano Bosetti scored for Genoa against the Italian Champions, Juventus. No panic, Lazio were still a point ahead. Then in the 90th minute Pisa equalised with Ferruccio Mariani. Lazio 25 points and Genoa 25 points.

 

A very tense few minutes of injury time saw Lazio hold on for their sacred point. Lazio were safe. The decider would not be goal difference (as in UK for example) but the direct matches in the league (0-0 and 2-1 to Lazio). The win over Genoa in January turned out to be a lifesaver for Lazio.


The fans were ecstatic and Chinaglia went down to the pitch to celebrate with the fans. “We will never suffer like this again”, he said. Alas, this was only the beginning of the suffering.

 

Player with most appearances Serie A: Michael Laudrup, 30

Player with most appearances overall: Laudrup 35

Top scorers Serie A: Bruno Giordano and Laudrup, 8

Top scorers overall: Giordano, Laudrup and Vincenzo D’Amico, 8

Top assists Serie A: D’Amico, 4

Top assists overall: D’Amico, 4

Most substituted player Serie A: D’Amico, 11

Most substituted player overall: D’Amico, 12

Most sub ins Serie A: Mauro Meluso, 9

Most sub ins overall: Meluso, 9

Most booked player Serie A: Claudio Vinazzani, 4

Most booked player overall: Vinazzani, 5.

 

 

 


 

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