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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

April 23, 1978: Lazio Perugia 2-0

Updated: Apr 23

Well deserved win for Lazio against hard fighting but inconclusive Perugia


An ill-tempered game is decided by an own goal and a world class Giordano. Vital two points for Lazio.




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


The previous season had been a positive one for Lazio. Under Luís Vinicio and helped by rising youth sector stars, Bruno Giordano, Lionello Manfredonia and Andrea Agostinelli, the Biancocelesti had arrived 5th in Serie A.


It had also been a sad year with the deaths of two Scudetto heroes; manager Tommaso Maestrelli, on 2 December 1976 and midfielder Luciano Re Cecconi on 18 January 1977, in a possible prank gone tragically wrong.


This year Lazio had a pretty much unchanged squad. In had come midfielder Luigi Boccolini (Catanzaro) and forward Sergio Clerici (Bologna) while leaving were midfielders Maurizio Montesi (Avellino - loan ) and Fernando Viola (Bologna - loan). In the Autumn session Lazio also said farewell to two Scudetto winners; legendary goalkeeper Felice Pulici (Monza) and defender Luigi Polentes (Modena).


This season things were not going too well on the pitch. The Brazilian manager was confirmed but had been sacked four weeks earlier after a 3-1 defeat at Foggia. Unsurprisingly Lazio turned to Roberto "Bob" Lovati to steer the Biancocelesti to safety. His first match was lost 4-3 in Naples. Today was his fourth, the previous two had been one win (Fiorentina 1-0) and one defeat (Torino 1-0).


So far Lazio had won 6, drawn 10 and lost 11 and were involved in the relegation battle on 22 points. They had drawn both derbies and had some good wins (Juventus 3-0 and Milan 2-0) but lost far too many matches.


Today Lazio badly needed a win to avoid relegation but it would not be easy as today's opposition were Perugia.


Perugia had finished 6th the previous season under Ilario Castagner. This season despite the tragic death of Renato Curi, the Perugia player had collapsed and died on the pitch on October 30, the "Grifoni" (The Griffins) were again doing reasonably well. The Umbri were in 7th position after 9 wins (including Lazio 4-0), 10 draws and 8 defeats, so on 28 points.


They had some good players in captain Pierluigi Frosio, a young Salvatore Bagni, Franco Vannini and Walter Novellino. In a Lazio connection they had future manager Castagner and future player Walter Speggiorin.


Perugia were just off the UEFA Cup places so were still playing for something.


The match: Sunday, April 23, 1978, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins

The game was played on a warm, spring day in front of a good crowd of about 55,000.


The first half was a rough affair full of fouls and not much football. Lots of scuffles and dirty tackles. Lazio's Pietro Ghedin and Perugia's Bagni in particular seemed to have a score to settle with each other and almost swapped football for boxing. At one point Bagni seemed to have a nervous breakdown and tried to attack the referee but luckily was restrained by his teammates. So a physical battle but there was also a goal in the first half. In the 15th minute a low cross by Agostinelli was sliced into his own net by Franco Vannini. Perugia's only chance came from a Bagni cross which Manfredonia let pass and almost caught Claudio Garella unawares. Half time came with Lazio one up but there had not been much action, apart from pushing and shoving, but at the moment this suited Lazio fine.


In the second half things calmed down slightly, Perugia were lively but never really threatened. It was Lazio who scored again in the 55th minute thanks to a brilliant Antonio Lopez initiative in which he dribbled through several defenders and serve a perfect assist to Giordano who then chipped the keeper to make it 2-0.


Perugia who had played a European game midweek at this point seemed to run out of energy and belief. Lazio went close to a third when Giordano was unable to find the goal on a Renzo Garlaschelli pass. Lazio also finally started to play some decent football after the chaotic first half. Perugia had two late chances with a cross by Novellino which put Garella in difficulty and then with a powerful Paolo Dal Fiume shot which went just wide. Final score Lazio 2 Perugia 0.


A crucial win for Lazio who had controlled a disappointing and inexplicably tense Perugia well. With these two points Lazio made an important step forward to guarantee themselves top flight football for another year.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Cari, Boccolini, Clerici

Manager: Lovati


Who played for Perugia


Malizia, Nappi, Ceccarini, Frosio, Zecchini, Dal Fiume, Bagni, Amenta, Novellino, Vannini, Scarpa (71' Goretti)

Substitutes: Grassi, Fei

Manager: Castagner


Referee: Gussoni


Goals: 15' Vannini (o,g), 55' Giordano



What happened next


Lazio stayed in Serie A. A week later they beat Milan away 1-0 with a goal by Martini (the result was then changed to 2-0 as a firecracker had hit Lazio's Ghedin). They lost the last irrelevant home game 1-0 to still desperate Bologna (goal by former Lazio Scudetto hero Franco Nanni) but the Biancocelesti were already safe.


Lazio ended up 10th on 26 points after 8 wins, 10 draws and 12 defeats. Top scorer was Bruno Giordano with 19 goals (12 in Serie A).


Perugia lost the next match too, 3-1 at Vicenza and then beat Pescara 2-1 in the last game. They arrived 7th, only losing out on a UEFA Cup qualification to Napoli on goal difference. So a decent season but the following year would be even better. The Perugia top goal scorer was Speggiorin with 8 .


The scudetto was won by Juventus, their 18th title. It ended up very tight at the bottom, only two points between 9th place and 15th but the unfortunate three to face the drop were Pescara, Foggia and Genoa.


Lazio 1977-78

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

8

10

12

31

Coppa Italia

4

2

-

2

7

UEFA Cup

4

2

-

2

7

Intertoto Cup

6

4

1

1

13

Total

44

16

11

17

58

Top five appearancs

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Uefa Cup

Intertoto Cup

Agostinelli

42

29

4

4

5

Giordano

42

29

3

4

6

Garella

41

29

2

4

6

Lopez

41

28

3

4

6

Cordova

39

27

4

3

5

Badiani

39

25

4

4

6

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Uefa Cup

Intertoto Cup

Giordano

27

12

3

4

8

Garlaschelli

12

7

-

2

3

D'Amico

3

2

1

-

-

Let's talk about Antonio Lopez


Source Wikipedia

Antonio Lopez, known as Totò, was born in Bari, on January 17, 1952.


He started his youth career with his hometown team Bari. He made his debut for the "Galletti" (The Cockerels) in 1971 in Serie B. He played with the Biancorossi for two years with 29 league appearances and 3 goals.


In 1973 he joined Pescara in Serie C. The "Delfini" (The Dolphins) won promotion to Serie B in his first year. The following year the Adriatic coast team came 10th in Serie B. In his two years at the club Lopez played regularly getting 67 games and scoring 7 goals.


In 1975 he moved to Lazio in Serie A. He stayed in the capital for five seasons. He played under Giulio Corsini, Maestrelli, Luis Vinicio and Bob Lovati.


In his first season he played 23 league games and 9 in Coppa Italia and Lazio came 13th.


In his second season he played less, only 6 league games but Lazio finished a positive 5th.


In 1977-78 he had his most regular season, playing 28 league games, 3 in Coppa Italia, 4 in the UEFA Cup and 6 in Intertoto. He also scored his one and only League goal for Lazio, away at Napoli. Lazio finished 10th.


The following year he made 14 league appearances and 2 in Coppa Italia. Lazio came 8th.


His last year at Lazio was marred by the Totonero betting scandal. Lazio managed to stay up despite losing their star players in March but were subsequently punished for their alleged involvement and sent down to the "purgatory" of Serie B, along with Milan. It was also the season of the Vincenzo Paparelli tragedy, the Lazio fan who was killed by a flare shot from the Roma fans end, on October 28, 1979. Back to football Lopez played 7 league games and 4 in Coppa Italia.


With Lazio down Lopez moved to Palermo in 1980. He played three good seasons in Sicily. In 1981-82 the Rosanero narrowly missed out on promotion to Serie A and Lopez won the prestigious "Guerin d' oro" for best Serie B player, the Guerin Sportivo being one of, if not the most important, sports magazines at the time. In total Lopez played 101 league games for Palermo and scored 8 goals.


In 1983 he went back to his hometown of Bari. He played two seasons and the Biancorossi won back to back promotions from Serie C to Serie A under Bruno Bolchi. Lopez played 59 games with 3 goals.


Lopez then ended his career in 1985-86 in Taranto, still in Apulia, but in C1. Here again he won promotion with the "Ionici'' (The Ionians) up to Serie B. He played 25 games for the Rossoblu.


So that ended Totò 's career. Not an élite one but not without satisfaction. Five years in Serie A with Lazio, a promotion with Pescara, two promotions with his Bari and another with Taranto.

As a player Lopez was a midfield playmaker. He was a number 10 even if at Lazio he often wore the number 8 jersey. He was a skilful player with good feet and had the ability to set up goals even though he was not particularly prolific himself. He was also hardworking and athletic. He was a regular feature of the late 70's Lazio, with his classic 70's moustached look.


Since retiring Lopez has run a well-known bar in the tennis area of the Foro Italico. A stone's throw away from the Olimpico of his old playing days.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Intertoto Cup

1975-76

32

23

9

-

-

1976-77

6

6

-

-

-

1977-78

41 (1)

28 (1)

3

4

6

1978-79

16

14

2

-

-

1979-80

11 (1)

7

4 (1)

-

-

Total

106 (2)

78 (1)

18 (1)

4

6

Sources


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