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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

A narrow escape from hell

Game 30, Serie A

Sunday May 4, 1941

Stadio Littoriale, Bologna

Bologna Lazio 2-2

Lazio draw in Bologna but Novara collapse, so the Biancocelesti avoid relegation

It had not been a good year for the Biancocelesti. At the end of the first half of the season Lazio were 13th, on 12 points, together with Roma and Triestina. Only Bari were worse off (7 points) and had won just three games. Lazio had hardly ever left the penultimate position in the table (two teams were relegated), but with new manager Dino Canestri there had been a little light and Lazio had moved up a bit. However after the defeat in Milan with two games to go, Lazio were 15th on 24 points (goal difference -7), preceded by Novara on 25 (-8) together with Torino (-1), Genoa (-3) and Venezia (-8) while Livorno were on 26 (-13). In case of a tie between two or more teams, goal difference counted. Bari were already relegated.

The last dramatic match at the Olimpico saw Lazio beat Fiorentina 4-1. Two fantastic points and a good improvement in goal difference, now -4. But they were still 15th on 26 points and were preceded by Venezia (-8) and Novara on 27 (they had won 5-1 therefore on -4).

Lazio had to play at Bologna, who had just won the title, and there was the big clash between Venezia and Novara.

A win would have given safety to Lazio, but even a draw could have been enough.

The match

Lazio had no choice but to give everything they had left in them and hope for the best. They started really well. In the 5th minute Salvatore Gualtieri offered a ball to Italo Romagnoli II who dribbled past Pietro Ferrari and shot towards the goal. Secondo Ricci managed to save into corner. On that corner Romagnoli had another chance but was again walled by Ricci. In the 10th minute Ferrari managed to save a good Giuseppe Baldo free kick. Immediately after Uber Gradella parried a shot from Amedeo Biavatti in the only foray into the Lazio half by Bologna in these early minutes.

Lazio’s determination paid off in the 22nd minute. Gualtieri took a corner, Ferrari cleared but Romagnoli managed to score with a slow but precise shot. Seven minutes later Lazio scored again. Free kick, Alberto Fazio to Luigi Vettraino, the ball hit the inside of the post and went in. 2-0 for Lazio.

What was happening between Venezia and Novara? Still goalless. At this point Lazio, Novara and Venezia all had 28 points but Venezia had a worse goal difference.

Bologna, who were champions, were playing at home and needed to show some pride, so they reorganised and slowly took over the game from Lazio. In the 41st Carlo Reguzzoni reduced the deficit.

At the beginning of the second half Bologna equalised. In the 47th minute Biavatti scored from a Reguzzoni assist. Despair for the Biancocelesti, but just then Venezia scored. Lazio and Novara had 27 points but the Biancocelesti had a better goal difference. All they needed to do was to hang on to the draw and hope.

And this is exactly what happened. Lazio built a wall in front of the goal but almost made it three in the 80th minute when on the counter attack Gualtieri passed the ball to Vettraino for the simplest of chances. The Lazio forward slipped though just when he was about to score. In the meantime Venezia had scored a second.

Three minutes later there was a massive confrontation in the middle of the pitch between players. Fists were thrown and the referee sent off Reguzzoni and Baldo for initiating the fight.

Nothing else happened in the game and Venezia scored a third.

Lazio were safe.

Who played for Bologna

Ferrari. P, Fagotto, Ricci, Montesanto, Boniforti, Marchese, Biavati, Sansone, Sdraulig, Andreoli, Reguzzoni

Manager: Felsner

Who played for Lazio

Manager: Canestri

Referee: Ciamberlini

Goals: 22’ Romagnoli II, 29’ Vettraino, 43' Reguzzoni, 47’ Biavati.



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