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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

April 5, 1981: Lazio Spal 2-0

Lazio go Bigon promotion push


Two goals by veteran Bigon keep the Biancocelesti on target for Serie A




Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had been relegated to Serie B, not on the field but in the Sports Justice Courts. Lazio paid for four of their players' alleged involvement in the Totonero match fixing scandal. Lazio were therefore in Serie B without Bruno Giordano, Lionello Manfredonia, Pino Wilson and Massimo Cacciatori.

 

The new manager was Ilario Castagner who had done well at Perugia. The Biancocelesti also had several new players to try and bounce straight back up to the top flight. Arriving were goalkeeper Maurizio Moscatelli (Pistoiese), defenders Giorgio Mastropasqua (Bologna), Arcadio Spinozzi (Bologna), midfielders Alberto Bigon (Milan), Giuseppe Greco (Torino), Dario Sanguin (Vicenza) and forward Stefano Chiodi (Milan).

 

Leaving were defender Mauro Tassotti (Milan), midfielders Vincenzo D'Amico (Torino-luckily he would be back), Antonio Lopez (Palermo), Vincenzo Zucchini (Vicenza) and forward Enrico Todesco (Genoa).

 

So far Lazio had played 27 league games and won 10, drawn 14 and lost 3. Lazio had started well with 7 wins and 8 draws in the first 15 games but then slowed down. In the last 3 games however the Biancocelesti had drawn 2 and won 1 (a week earlier 3-1 away at Rimini). They were on 34 points, in second place behind Milan. Cesena however were only one point behind, Sampdoria two and Genoa four, with this afternoon's opposition from Ferrara. Lazio could not afford to lose today.

 

In Coppa Italia, Lazio had qualified for the quarter finals. In August/September, Lazio had won 3 (Pescara 2-0 away, Varese 2-1 and Verona 3-0, both at home) and drawn 1 (Ascoli 0-0 away). They then played the quarter final home leg to Bologna on March 4 but lost 0-2 (with one goal by future Lazio legend, Giuliano Fiorini) and also lost the return leg with the same score on March 25. Time to concentrate on promotion.

 

SPAL had finished 8th the previous season under Mario Caciagli (he had been at Lazio as assistant 1958-60). Top scorer was Mauro Gibellini with 12 league goals.

 

This season the manager was Battista Rota. The main new players were: midfielder Angelo Castronaro (Bologna) and forward Alberto Bergossi (Palermo). The main losses were: defender Franco Fabbri (Bologna) and midfielder Antonino Criscimanni (Avellino).

 

The Estensi were having a good season and were joint 5th, only four points behind Lazio. The Biancazzurri had won 10, drawn 10 (including Lazio 1-1) and lost 7. A week earlier they had drawn another promotion clash, with Cesena 1-1. They had two future Lazio connections in the squad, Renato Miele (youth sector and 1982-85) and Sergio Domini (1990-91).

 

In Coppa Italia, in August/ September, SPAL had qualified for the quarter finals after 3 wins (Foggia 4-0 and Cagliari 3-2 at home and Monza 2-1 away) and a draw (0-0 away to Como). In the quarters they had beaten Torino 1-0 at home but then lost 0-4 away.

 

So, an important game for both sides' promotion hopes today at the Olimpico.

 

The match: Sunday, April 5, 1981, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A bright, early April day gathered about 30,000 for this high table match.

 

Lazio were without defenders Arcadio Spinozzi and Paolo Pochesci, so they placed Giorgio Mastropasqua further back. SPAL were missing Pierluigi Giani who had scored 7 league goals so far.

 

Lazio attacked from the start but the visitors had some space on the break. Despite the Biancocelesti's territorial dominance, the first chance was for the Ferraresi. An Angelo Castronaro shot, set up by Rosario Rampanti, was saved well by Dario Marigo.

 

Lazio were slow in their build up but gradually started to have several opportunities to score. They even managed in the 23rd minute when Nando Viola's close-range header from a Stefano Chiodi cross beat Roberto Renzi. The referee, Agnolin, initially gave the goal but then disallowed it seeing the linesman's flag up.

 

The referee then waved away two penalty appeals, one per side. First Dario Pighin seemed to hold Oriano Grop back as he was stretching for a Rampanti assist and then Giuseppe Greco was pulled down by the keeper when he took advantage of a bad back pass by Alberto Cavasin. The referee was not interested on both occasions.

 

Half time was approaching when Lazio got the breakthrough. Claudio Simoni raced down the left wing and crossed, Greco's header then flicked the ball onto the post and it was hovering near the line when Alberto Bigon came in and made sure it went over. Lazio 1 SPAL 0.

 

All in all, a fair lead for Lazio who had done more and been more positive despite having difficulties in the last third where Chiodi was having a subdued afternoon.

 

For the second half the Estensi had to replace their keeper who had injured himself on Lazio’s penalty appeal.

 

The visitors barely had time to organise themselves to try and equalise, that Lazio scored again. In the 47th minute Filippo Citterio teed up Bigon in the area and the former Milan player chested it down and blasted a powerful mid-height shot past poor Gavioli who had just come on. A brilliant goal. Lazio 2 SPAL 0.

 

A goal just before halftime and one just after would be enough to demoralise many a team and SPAL proved no exception.

 

Lazio comfortably controlled the second period without running any particular risks. The only bad news came in the 71st minute when the matchwinner Bigon limped off with a knee injury after clashing with the visitors' keeper. Final score Lazio 2 SPAL 0.

 

A good win for the Biancocelesti against potential promotion rivals. Lazio's midfield in particular had impressed with Dario Sanguin in the middle and Simoni and Citterio on the flanks working well.

 

The table had improved slightly. Milan 39, Lazio 36, Cesena 35 (beat Taranto 1-0), Sampdoria 33 (drew 1-1 at Foggia), Genoa 32 (beat Bari 1-0) and SPAL 28.

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Di Benedetto, Cenci, Marronaro

Manager: Castagner

 

Who played for SPAL


Renzi (46' Gavioli), Cavasin, Ferrari, Ogliari, Albiero, Brilli (51' Gibellini), Bergossi, Castronaro, Grop, Rampanti, Tagliaferri

Substitutes: Miele, Gelain, Masuero

Manager: Rota

 

Referee: Agnolin


Goals: 45' Bigon, 47' Bigon

 

What happened next


Lazio went very close to promotion but just fell short and finished 4th. Between today and June 14, the penultimate game of the season, Lazio won 2 (including Cesena 2-0), drew 4 (including Milan 1-1 away) and lost 2. Not great but maybe just about good enough to get promoted. Then came the June 14 home game against Vicenza. The table read Milan 48, Genoa 44, Cesena 44, Lazio 44 for three places in A.

 

With the score on 1-1, Lazio were awarded a penalty in the 87th minute. Stefano Chiodi, the specialist who had never missed a penalty, stepped up and missed obviously...hitting the post. Cesena and Genoa won and a demoralised Lazio then only drew the last away game at Taranto and so came 4th. A huge disappointment. Top scorer was Alberto Bigon with 10 goals (9 in B).

 

SPAL collapsed after today's defeat in the capital. In the last 10 matches the Ferraresi drew 5 and lost 5 and ended up 12th. Top scorer was Oriano Grop with 9 league goals. Milan, Cesena and Genoa flew up to Serie A without Lazio while Monza, Atalanta, Taranto and Vicenza sank down to Serie C.


Lazio 1980-81

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

13

20

5

32

Coppa italia

6

3

1

2

5

Total

44

16

21

7

37

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Citterio

43

38

5

Viola

43

37

6

Mastropasqua

41

36

5

Perrone

40

34

6

Greco

39

34

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Bigon

10

9

1

Greco

8

7

1

Citterio

7

6

1

Viola

7

7

-

Chiodi

6

6

-

Lets talk about Claudio Simoni


Source Lazio Wiki

Claudio Simoni was born in Marino, a wine producing village just outside Rome, on January 11, 1959.

 

He played all his youth football with Lazio.

 

In 1979 he was loaned to Cerretese (Cerreto Guidi-Florence) in C2. He played 33 games and scored two goals.

 

In 1980 he came back to Lazio. The Biancocelesti were in Serie B, having been relegated due to four of their players' involvement in the 1980 "Calcio Scommesse" scandal. The manager was Ilario Castagner and Lazio hoped to bounce straight back up to the top flight. Things did not go to plan and the Biancocelesti finished 4th. Simoni played 11 league games and 2 games in Coppa Italia.

 

In 1981 he joined Piacenza in C1. The Biancorossi finished 12th. He played 23 games.

 

In 1982 he moved south to Caserta and joined Casertana. The “Falchetti" (The Falcons) were in C1 and finished 5th under Vincenzo Montefusco.

 

In 1983-84 he spent a season with Barletta in Serie C1. The "Furie Rosse" (The Red Furies) finished 8th and Simoni played 31 league games with 1 goal.

 

In 1984-85 he joined Prato in C2. Under manager Maurizio Bruno the "Fiordalisi" (The Cornflowers) won promotion to C1. He played 26 league games with one goal. One of his teammates was, future Lazio, Vincenzo Esposito (1986-88).

 

In 1985-86 he moved to Teramo in C2. He stayed two seasons, winning promotion and the league under Giorgio Rumignani and then finishing 9th in C1, under Antonio Luzii. He played 47 league games and scored 1 goal for the Biancorossi.

 

In 1987-88 he joined nearby Giulianova in C2. The Giallorossi finished 12th, under Francesco Giorgini and he played 30 league games. One of his teammates was, future manager, Marco Giampaolo (Sampdoria, Milan and Torino amongst others).

 

In 1988-89 he played for Suzzara (Mantova) in C2. He played 23 league games with 1 goal. The Bianconeri finished 11th.

 

His last season was in Sicily with Trapani in C2. The Granata were relegated to Interregionale (5th tier). His managers were Franco Rondanini and then, former Lazio player, Mario Facco (1968-74). Simoni played 28 league games.

 

He retired at 31.

 

Claudio Simoni was a defender. He was a promising youth player, winning a Coppa Italia with Lazio U19's. His professional career however never took off at high levels. He played 14 games for Lazio but then spent his playing days in the lower divisions.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie B

Coppa Italia

1980-81

14

11

3

Sources








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