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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

April 2, 1939: Liguria Lazio 0-1

Precious win


Lazio win in Genoa with a Vettraino goal




The season so far


The previous season Lazio had arrived eighth under manager Jozef Violak playing well against stronger teams but dropping points with the weaker ones. For the 1938-39 season Violak (or Viola as he was known in fascist Italy) was forced to insert a number of youth players into the squad such as Corrado Giubilo, Renato Ferrarese, Alessandro Ferri, Armando Palma, Luigi Vettraino, Alessandro Capponi, Armando Longhi and Giuseppe Mancini, because the club had no money. Only Luciano Ramella and Luigi Allemandi arrived whereas leaving were Archimede Nardi (Inter), Luigi Stobbe (Pisa), Benedetto Stella (Fiorentina), Giuseppe Viani (Livorno) and Anfilogino Guarisi (Corinthians). It was not going to be easy to avoid relegation.


But Lazio had not done too badly so far. After the end of the first half of the season they were fifth together with Genova and had won the “away” derby. After four games of the second round of fixtures, the club gave Violak permission to leave and coach Milano. The new manager became Luigi Allemandi, who hence became player-manager, with Alfredo Di Franco. Lazio had slowed down a little but were seventh.


Today’s opponent, Liguria, have had a difficult history. Born as Sampierdarenese in 1899, in 1927 the Fascist authorities imposed  the merger with Andrea Doria resulting in a club called La Dominante. The decision was made due to the fact that the authorities thought three Genoa teams were too many. The name changed again in 1930 and became FootBall Club Liguria. The descent into the First Division (now Serie B) and the economic collapse ended the partnership. Sampierdarenese were born again in 1931 and immediately promoted to Serie B. Two years later they managed to get back into Serie A. In 1937, they was forced to merge with Corniglianese and Rivarolese and change name to Associazione Calcio Liguria and this is the team Lazio faced on this day. Later on, in 1945, all Fascist Regime’s decisions were annulled, and Sampierdarenese returned to what they were at the beginning of the 1930s. But in 1946 the change that remains to this day: Sampierdarenese merged with Andrea Doria and became Sampdoria.


The match: Sunday, April 2, 1939, Stadio Del Littorio, Genoa


Lazio had to face Liguria without their star player Silvio Piola injured and the hosts immediately tried to  take advantage of the situation. In the 8th minute Cherubino Comini tried a shot, saved by Giacomo Blason. Ten minutes later Umberto Busani on a free kick forced Vittorio Profumo to parry but the ball reached Luigi Milano who went for the tap in. Renato Bodini managed to save by heading the ball into corner. Three minutes later a Busani counterattack allowed Emilio Capri to find himself unmarked in front of the goalkeeper but he took too long to shoot so when he did Profumo was on him and the chance was wasted. Capri again missed an easy chance a few minutes later before Liguria could have gone ahead in the 35th minute. After a Luciano Peretti corner, Gino Callegari headed the ball under the crossbar but Blason managed to save into corner.


In the second half the hosts tried to press Lazio but they were never really that dangerous. In the 63rd minute Lazio scored. Milano passed to Busani who ran towards the Liguria area and passed to Luigi Vettraino who was marked by Gianemilio Piazza. The little centre forward lobbed over the defender and headed the ball towards the goal, it hit the post and went in. A remarkable goal.


Ten minutes later Liguria had an incredible double chance to equalise. Callegari took a shot at goal in a crowded penalty box, Blason saved but Comini and Peretti managed to steal the ball away from him. The latter, all alone in front of the goal, hit the woodwork twice. That was it for the hosts who from then on gave up. The Biancocelesti could have scored a second but in the 83rd minute a powerful Busani shot went wide and Giovanni Riccardi, after a Profumo fumble, in the 88th minute had an open goal opportunity but missed the target.


A great win for the Biancocelesti in a hard place to go.


Who played for Liguria

 

Profumo, Bodini II, Piazza, Callegari, Battistoni, Malatesta, Comini, Spivach, Bollano, Gabardo, Peretti

Manager: Baloncieri

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Manager: Allemandi

 

Referee: Zelocchi

 

Goal: 63’ Vettraino

 

What happened next


At the end of the season Lazio arrived 10th, a comfortable four points above the relegation zone. Perhaps a little more had been expected, but worse was also feared. Silvio Piola was top scorer with only 9 goals, but he had suffered a lot of injuries. Alfredo Monza topped the appearances with 32 games.


Lazio 1938-39

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

30

11

6

13

33

Coppa Italia

2

1

-

1

2

Total

32

12

6

14

35

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Monza

32

30

2

Zacconi

30

28


Milano

27

25

2

Blason

27

25

2

Ramella

27

25

2

Top five goal scorers

Player

Serie A Goals

Piola

9

Busani

6

Zacconi

4

Capri

4

Riccardi

3

Let's talk about Giovanni Riccardi


Source Lazio Wiki

Giovanni Riccardi was born on December 10 1911, in Alessandria. He came from the Alessandria school of the 1920s and 30s. In those years the Piedmontese team forged a number of midfield players and wingers of great quality and he was certainly one of them. He played for his hometown team for six years, achieving a sixth place in Serie A and playing in a Coppa Italia final in 1935-36, where he scored the only goal in a 5-1 defeat to Torino. In 1936 he even played a game for the Italy B Side and a few months later signed for Lazio together with his teammates Luigi Milano and Umberto Busani. The club paid an astronomical fee, for the time, of 400,000 lire for the three players (almost a million euros in today’s money).


He stayed for three seasons. Despite an excellent second place in 1936-37, Riccardi was a bit of a disappointment and in the subsequent years suffered the competition of Libero Marchini. He made 67 appearances with 11 goals.


In 1939 he signed for Liguria but the club at the end of the season was relegated. He moved a few kilometres and in 1940 began playing for Savona in Serie B and almost made it back to the first tier. He closed his career with Verona in 1941-42, and later played in the amateur leagues.


Once he stopped playing he began a managerial career in local Ligurian clubs.


He died in 1980.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

1936-37

27 (5)

26 (5)

-

1

1937-38

18 (3)

17 (3)

1

-

1938-39

22 (3)

20 (3)

2

-

Total

67 (11)

63 (11)

3

1

Sources


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