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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

April 8, 1973: Cagliari Lazio 0-1

Second place!!!

 

By beating Cagliari away, the Biancocelesti are now second just three points behind Milan





Source SS Lazio Museum

The season so far

 

The previous season Lazio managed to secure promotion to Serie A under new manager Tommaso Maestrelli.

 

The objective for this season was to not be relegated again and to live a comfortable year, without too many problems. In the summer transfer window a few new players had arrived and some had left. The most important of the latter was the sale of Giuseppe Massa to Inter in exchange for Mario Frustalupi, Massimo Silva and cash. With the money President Umberto Lenzini bought goalkeeper Felice Pulici (Novara), midfielder Luciano Re Cecconi (Foggia) and forward Renzo Garlaschelli (Como) plus defender Sergio Petrelli in a rare deal with Roma. Leaving Lazio were Claudio Bandoni (Catanzaro), Rosario Di Vincenzo and Giuseppe Papadopulo (both to Brindisi), Arrigo Dolso (Alessandria) and Giuliano Fortunato (Lecce). Rino Gritti and Alessandro Abbondanza had finished their year loans and went back to Lecco and Napoli respectively. In the autumn window forward Giacomo La Rosa arrived from Varese and Gaetano Legnaro and Silva were sold to Ascoli.

 

The Biancocelesti started badly in Coppa Italia losing three games out of four and were eliminated. But in Serie A it was another story.  At the end of the first half of the season they were joint third with Inter but just one point behind leaders Milan and Juventus. They had also beaten Roma away.

 

The second half of the season had opened with two draws and a loss but since then they were on a roll, having won five consecutive games (including the derby). They were currently joint second with Juventus, three points behind Milan.

 

The match: Sunday, April 8, 1973, Stadio Sant’Elia, Cagliari

 

Lazio started the game well and took control of the match thanks to Frustalupi and Re Cecconi. But it was the hosts who had the first chance in the 11th minute. With Re Cecconi out receiving medication, Cagliari took advantage and on a free kick Gigi Riva hit the woodwork.

 

Garlaschelli missed a chance on a header in the 22nd minute and in the 31st there was a clear foul on Franco Nanni in the box ignored by the ref. Five minutes later the Biancocelesti scored. Pierpaolo Manservisi made a back-heel pass to Gigi Martini on the right who crossed into the area. Pierluigi Cera missed the ball, completely surprising Giorgio Chinaglia who did not expect it and hence did not attempt a shot. But Garlaschelli appeared out of nowhere and scored.


Cagliari at this point started to slowly take over, but it was Chinaglia who in the 40th minute had the chance to double the lead but his shot went into the stands.

 

In the second half, Lazio had a number of chances on the counter attack. In the 61st minute Re Cecconi to Chinaglia who passed to Frustalupi all alone in front of Enrico Albertosi. His shot went over the crossbar. In the 65th minute Nanni tried one of his classic shots from outside the box but the Cagliari goalkeeper managed to parry into corner. In the 69th minute the first real danger for the Biancoceleste defence. Cera crossed high in the box, Riva and Luigi Polentes went for the ball together and what came out was a strange lob which almost fooled Felice Pulici, but the Lazio goalkeeper saved into corner. In the 75th minute Albertosi saved a powerful Chinaglia shot with his fists. In the 86th minute Pulici missed the catch on a cross, Riva bicycle kicked and Pino Wilson saved on the line. A minute later Sergio Gori tried a shot from the penalty spot but Pulici saved again.

 

Another Lazio win, the sixth in a row. Milan were warned,

 

Who played for Cagliari

 

Albertosi, Lamagni, Mancin, Cera, Niccolai, Tomasini, Nené, Roffi, Gori S., Brugnera, Riva L.

Substitutes: Copparoni, Lombardi B.

Manager: E. Fabbri

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Substitutes: Chini, Moschino

Manager: Maestrelli

 

Referee: Motta

 

Goal: 36’ Garlaschelli



What happened next

 

The winning streak continued and with four games to the end Lazio were joint first with Milan (who they had just beaten). Then two away draws had left them one point behind the Rossoneri and they had been caught up by Juve. In the penultimate match all three teams had won so the situation was Milan 44 points, Juventus and Lazio 43.

 

The final three games were Verona-Milan, Napoli-Lazio and Roma Juventus. At the end of the first half the results were Verona-Milan 3-1, Roma-Juventus 1-0, Napoli-Lazio still goalless. As a consequence, the table read Milan and Lazio 44, Juventus 43. But everything changed in the second half as Juve overcame the deficit and won while Lazio lost in the final minutes of the game. Juventus won the scudetto.

 

A big blow for the club. The scudetto was there for the taking, but probably the inexperience at fighting at such high levels and the excessive eagerness of Napoli and Roma to appease the Bianconeri meant that it was not to be.

 

Giorgio Chinaglia had the most appearances this season (37) as well as the most goals (13).


Lazio 1972-73

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

30

16

11

3

33

Coppa Italia

4

-

1

3

1

Anglo-Italian Cup

4

-

2

2

4

Total

38

16

14

8

38

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Anglo-Italian Cup

Chinaglia

37

30

4

3

Oddi

36

30

4

2

Frustalupi

36

30

4

2

Pulici

36

30

4

2

Wilson

36

30

4

2

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Anglo-Italian Cup

Chinaglia

13

10

1

2

Nanni

7

7

-

-

Garlaschelli

7

7

-

-

La Rosa

3

2

-

1

Let's talk about Gigi Riva


Source Wikipedia

Gigi Riva is one of the most famous Italian forwards of all time. To this day, he still holds the record of goals for Italy (35) and it does not look as if it will be beaten for a long time.

 

He was born in Leggiuno, near Varese, on November 7, 1944. He started playing locally for Laveno Mombello and in 1962 signed for Legnano in Serie C. He played a single season there before surprisingly signing for Cagliari in Serie B. He was initially not all that happy to move to Sardinia as he had Serie A ambitions. In the end however it was a move that would change his life.


In his first year, Cagliari were promoted to Serie A. After a few years in which the Sardinians hovered in midtable, in 1966 the new manager, Manilo Scopigno, started laying the foundations of what would become one of the greatest underdog victories in Serie A. A number of interesting players were signed, including Roberto Boninsegna (who would later win the scudetto three times with Inter and Juventus, a UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia with Juve) and Nené, Brazilian player who had won three Campeonato Paulistas, two Brazilian Championships and had played with Juventus. After a sixth and a ninth place (with Riva top Serie A scorer), further pieces of the puzzle were added such as goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi, Mario Brugnera and Giulio Zignoli for the 1968-69 season. The team blossomed and at the end of the first half of the season they were second. They slowed down a bit in the second half, but with four games to go they were third, just two points off leaders Fiorentina and one behind Milan. The gap was reduced to just one with three matches to be played but in the next two games they earned just one point and the scudetto went to Florence. Riva was again Serie A top scorer.

 

Boninsegna was sold to Inter in exchange for Angelo Domenighini, Cesare Poli and Sergio Gori. A great move. Cagliari dominated the Serie A and won a historic scudetto in 1969-70. Six of those players were part of the Nazionale that came second in the World Cup in Mexico 1970: Albertosi, Domenighini, Pierluigi Cera, Communardo Niccolai, Gori and Riva.


Source Wikipedia

They had also started well in the 1970-71 season, but after Riva broke his leg playing for Italy, the team collapsed and finished seventh. The injury took away some of his strength even though he still played well and scored. In 1971-72 they came fourth with Riva scoring 21 goals, one less than Boninsegna. Cagliari started to fall behind and Riva was often hindered by injuries. The last one was in 1976 and that was the end of his career. He played 378 games for Cagliari with 208 goals.

 

We mentioned the fantastic second place in the 1970 World Cup, but we should take a step backwards. In 1968 Italy won the European Nations Cup with Riva scoring a goal in the replay final. In 1970 Italy had a great team. Apart from the Cagliari players there were also Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola, Tarcisio Burnich, Giacinto Facchetti, Giancarlo De Sisti. Italy won their group and then beat Mexico in the quarter finals. This led to the historic semi-final against West Germany. The Azzurri had scored early on with Boninsegna and the Germans equalised right at the end of the game. The first half of extra time was a roller coaster of emotions. Gerd Muller gave West Germany the lead and it looked as if it was all over but Burnich equalised and Riva put Italy in front. In the 110th minute Muller equalised again but 60 seconds later Rivera made it 4-3. Italy went into the final but Brazil that year were unbeatable and the Azzurri lost 4-1.


Source Wikipedia

Riva continued to play for Italy until 1974. In the end he made 42 appearances for his country.

 

Once he quit active football he worked for Cagliari in various roles: team manager, technical director and even president for a brief period in 1985. His ability was to be a middle man between the owners and the players. In 1987 he was called to do this job for the Nazionale. He was team manager for many years and was part of the team that won the World Cup in 2006 and got second place in 1994 plus two Euro finals in 2000 and 2012. He left Italy in 2007.

 

Gigi Riva was the first person to create a football school in Sardinia, “Centro Sportivo Gigi Riva”, back in 1976 and the school is still there today. Nicolò Barella started playing there.

 

Riva was immensely popular and is an icon in Sardinia. He never left the island, finding an ideal homeland. He was nicknamed “roar of thunder”, because as a forward he was powerful and strong, but he also had great technique and skill. In his career he scored five goals against Lazio and was great friends with Giorgio Chinaglia.

 

He died on January 22, 2024, in "his" Cagliari.


Sources



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