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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

December 21, 1975: Lazio Cagliari 3-0

Lazio's attacking trio see off poor Cagliari


Three goals by Garlaschelli, Chinaglia and D'Amico give Lazio easy win.




Source Wikipedia

The season so far  


The previous season Lazio had failed to defend their title but had finished an honourable 4th. More disappointing was not being able to represent Italy in the European Cup, due to a one-year ban after the previous year's Lazio vs Ipswich incidents (pitch invasion, brawls etc). Another problem was Tommaso Maestrelli's health issues which caused him to miss the last five games, replaced of course by Bob Lovati.

 

There had not been many new signings to the squad this year. The main entries were defender Paolo Ammoniaci (Cesena) and midfielder Antonio "Totò" Lopez (Pescara). Sadly, some Scudetto winners and fan favourites were leaving: Mario Frustalupi "The Wolf Thrasher" (Cesena), local lad Giancarlo Oddi (Cesena), Franco "Bombardino" Nanni (Bologna) and Paolo Franzoni (Avellino).

 

This season Lazio had started with Giulio Corsini on the bench. Corsini had problems with the "old guard" and especially Giorgio Chinaglia, so the climate was not ideal. Things in the league were not going great and after 7 matches Lazio had lost 3, drawn 3 (including Roma 1-1) and won only 1 (first game away to Sampdoria with a goal by Bruno Giordano on his debut). Then Tommaso Maestrelli returned, seemingly having resolved his health problems. Things however did not improve and Lazio lost the next match at home to Napoli and then drew 2-2 away at Verona after being two nil up.

 

So, today's home game to Cagliari was a must win game. Lazio were on 6 points after 9 games and in 15th position (out of 16).

 

In Coppa Italia, Lazio had qualified for the second group stage to be played in May/June. The Biancocelesti had won two (Varese 1-0and Avellino 2-0, at home) and drawn two (Ascoli and Brescia both 0-0 away).

 

In the UEFA Cup Lazio had got through the first round beating Černomorec (Ukraine) 3-1 on aggregate. Then someone at Lazio had obviously been missing during history lessons and in the round of 64 Lazio refused to play against Barcelona in protest against the Franco regime. Lazio were punished by UEFA with a 0-3 defeat and then made to play the return leg which they lost 0-4. A shambles.

 

Cagliari had finished 10th the previous season. The manager was first Giuseppe Chiappella and then, from halfway through, Luigi Radice. The Sardinians had been forced to do without star forward Gigi Riva for almost the whole season due to injury (he only played 8 games).

 

This season the Rossoblu manager was initially Luis Suarez but he had already been replaced by Mario Tiddia after 8 league games. The main new players were keeper Sergio Buso (Bologna), defenders Alberto Mantovani (Parma), Silvio Longobucco (Juventus), midfielder and future Lazio Fernando Viola (Juventus) plus forward Desiderio Marchesi (Pescara- back from loan).

 

Leaving were defenders Riccardo Dessì (retiring), Eraldo Mancin (Pescara), midfielders Ottavio Bianchi (SPAL), Cesare Poli (retiring), forwards Sergio Gori (Juventus) and Adriano Novellini (Palermo). Gori was a big loss, after 166 league games and 33 goals.

 

So far, in Serie A things had not gone well. Cagliari were winless and were on 3 points. They had drawn 3 (including Roma 1-1 away on debut) and lost 6. The islanders were 16th and rock bottom. The good news was that Riva was back and scoring, four league goals so far.

 

In Coppa Italia "Casteddu" were knocked out in August /September after two draws (Catanzaro 0-0 at home and Novara 1-1 away) and two defeats (Torino 0-1 away and Verona 1-3 at home).

 

So, today at the Olimpico it looked very much like a relegation clash despite it being only December.

 

The match: Sunday, December 21, 1976, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A perfect sunny day brought 40,000 spectators to the Olimpico for this bottom of the table clash.

 

Lazio were missing defenders Pietro Ghedin and Paolo Ammoniaci so young Lionello Manfredonia played as "libero" while Pino Wilson was moved to full-back. 

 

Lazio attacked from the word go while Cagliari's intentions were clear: defend, defend, defend.

 

Lazio were constantly forward and Cagliari applied their "catenaccio" but without any counterattacks.

 

Lazio's breakthrough came in the 23rd minute. A seemingly innocuous shot by Giorgio Chinaglia was not held onto by Cagliari keeper Buso, the ball trickled free and Renzo Garlaschelli had no problem pouncing on the loose ball and scoring. Lazio 1 Cagliari 0.

 

Cagliari's game plan was up in the air and two minutes later Lazio scored again. Gigi Martini went down the left wing and crossed, Oreste Lamagni cleared badly with a header and the ball reached "Long John" Chinaglia who twisted and with a scissor kick scored Lazio’s second goal. Lazio 2 Cagliari 0.

 

Lazio were in total control while the Sardinians seemed unable to find plan B. In the 44th minute Lazio made it three. It was a Vincenzo D'Amico special, he dribbled past a defender and jiggled into the box on the left where he sent a low left- footed shot into the far corner. A superb solo effort and Lazio 3 Cagliari 0.

 

Total domination by Lazio against a poor Cagliari.

 

In the second half those who expected more goals would remain disappointed. Lazio were content to rest on their laurels while Cagliari threatened a few times but were not able to even get a consolation goal despite having "rombo di tuono" (rumble of thunder) Riva up front. The Rossoblu tried throwing on another forward, Pietro Virdis for Nené for the last 20 minutes but the game had already said what it had to say. Lazio 3 Cagliari 0.

 

A good win for the Biancocelesti, both for the relegation battle and for morale. There was still some controversy between the manager, players and club over alleged prize money but today's two points could only improve things.

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Moriggi, Di Chiara

Manager: Maestrelli

 

Who played for Cagliari 


Buso, Lamagni, Longobucco, Quagliozzi, Niccolai, Tomasini, Nené (69' Virdis), Brugnera, Viola, Roffi, Riva

Substitutes: Copparoni, Mantovani 

Manager: Tiddia

 

Referee: Gussoni


Goals: 23' Garlaschelli, 25' Chinaglia, 44' D'Amico



What happened next 


Lazio struggled all season. They won their next match in February and in April charismatic leader Giorgio Chinaglia left to play for New York Cosmos. From February Lazio then won only two more before the penultimate game against Milan. The Biancocelesti were in deep trouble but thrashed the "Diavolo" 4-0 to give themselves some hope. The table read Cagliari 17 (relegated), Como 20 (relegated), Ascoli 22, Lazio 22, Sampdoria 22, Verona 23. Four teams for one last relegation place.

 

So, it was all down to the last match of the season. 5,000 Lazio fans travelled up to Como near the Swiss border to cheer on the Biancocelesti. Among them were my Roman neighbours who I, as a young boy, was very impressed seeing driving off with flags flying from the windows.

 

The match did not start well, to put it mildly. Lazio were 2-0 down after 17 minutes but luckily Giordano pulled one back almost immediately, in the 20th minute. Another serious worry, for once, came from the news that Roma were losing 1-0 at home to Ascoli. Halftime table for the third relegation slot: Lazio 22, Verona 23, Ascoli 24, Sampdoria 24. At the moment Lazio were down.

 

In the second half Lazio equalised in the 53rd minute with Badiani. A Re Cecconi pass put Badiani through on the left side of the area and with the outside of his foot he put the ball under the crossbar. 2-2, better and Lazio momentarily safe as Verona were losing 2-0 in Florence.

 

Lazio continued to push forward as they were still at risk but squandered chances with Re Cecconi and Giordano. Meanwhile by the 60th minute Verona had pulled two goals back and levelled against Fiorentina but then in the same moment came the news that Roma too had equalised against Ascoli. Never have Lazio fans celebrated a Roma goal as much.

 

The results stayed the same and Lazio were safe on goal difference. What a few months ago seemed impossible had materialised, Lazio had survived. The fans invaded the pitch in Como and hoisted Maestrelli up triumphantly. It was Ascoli who joined Como and Cagliari on the dreaded road to B-land.

 

Meanwhile in Rome I eagerly awaited my neighbours equally triumphant return from their long but well worthwhile drive in defence of the promised land, Serie A!!

 

Lazio’s top scorer was Chinaglia with 11 (8 in A) while young Bruno Giordano got 6 (5 in A). Both derbies ended in draws.

 

In Coppa Italia, Lazio went out in the second group phase after 3 wins (Inter and Genoa, both 1-0 at home and Genoa 3-0 away), 1 draw (Verona 0-0 at home) and 2 defeats (Verona 0-3 and Inter 2-3 both away).

 

Cagliari as mentioned got relegated. In February Gigi Riva got injured again and finished his season early. The Rossoblu won 5 (including Lazio 2-1), drew 9 and lost 16.

 

The Scudetto was won by Torino for their 7th title but the first for 27 years.


Lazio 1975-76

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

6

11

13

35

Coppa Italia

10

5

3

2

10

UEFA Cup

4

1

-

3

3

Total

44

12

14

18

48

Top five appearances

Players

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Badiani

43

30

10

3

Pulici

42

30

9

3

Wilson

40

28

10

2

Ammoniaci

36

25

9

2

Garlaschelli

36

29

5

2

Top five goal scorers

Players

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Chinaglia

11

8

-

3

Garlaschelli

9

7

2

-

D'Amico

6

4

2

-

Giordano

6

5

1

-

Re Cecconi

3

1

2

-

Let's talk about Stefano Di Chiara


Sergio Borgo left and Stefano DI Chiara right

Stefano Di Chiara was born in Rome, on 21 February 1957.

 

He was formed in the Lazio youth sector along with Bruno Giordano, Lionello Manfredonia and Andrea Agostinelli. He was then in the first team squad for three years, between 1973 and 1976.

 

In this period however he never made his debut in Serie A. In 73-74 he played one game in Coppa Italia and in 75-76 played one game in the UEFA Cup. In the league he was an unused substitute five times. His managers were Tommaso Maestrelli and briefly Giulio Corsini. 

 

In 1976-77 Di Chiara left Rome and joined Pistoiese in Serie C. He stayed three seasons. The Tuscan "Arancioni" won promotion in first place under Bruno Bolchi. In Serie B they finished 16th, first under Bolchi (1-11) and then Enzo Riccomini. One of his teammates was Lazio legend Mario Frustalupi while other interesting players were young Beppe Dossena and Sergio Brio. In his third year in Pistoia, still under Riccomini, the "Olandesina" finished 5th. He was joined by other Lazio connections, future keeper Maurizio Moscatelli and midfielder Fortunato Torrisi. In total Di Chiara played 97 league games for Pistoiese.

 

In 1979-80 he spent a season with Genoa in Serie B. The "Grifone" finished 11th under Gianni di Marzio and Di Chiara played 33 league games. 

 

In 1980-81 he played for Cagliari in Serie A. He played 6 league games under Mario Tidda and the Rossoblu finished a positive 6th. His teammates included future Lazio, Roberto Tavola. 

 

In 1981 he joined Cremonese in Serie B. First under Guido Vincenzi and then Emiliano Mondonico, the Grigiorossi finished 10th. One of his teammates was a young Gianluca Vialli. 

 

In 1982 he stayed on in Cremona and narrowly missed out on promotion. Cremonese finished 4th and lost out in a three-team playoff with Como and Catania (it was the Sicilians who joined Milan and Lazio in A). In total he played 52 league games for the Lombard "Violini".

 

In 1983 he moved south and joined Lecce in Serie B. His manager was Eugenio Fascetti and the Salentini finished 4th. Di Chiara played 32 league games with 1 goal.

 

In 1984 he stayed with the Giallorossi and they won promotion. Di Chiara played 35 league games. 

 

The 85-86 season in Serie A was his last at Lecce. The "Lupi" were relegated but indirectly did Lazio a huge favour before leaving. In the penultimate game of the season, already down, they beat Roma 3-2 away and destroyed their fellow "Lupi Giallorossi's" hopes of winning the Scudetto. A defeat so devastating for Roma it is still talked about today. Di Chiara played 23 league games and 5 in Coppa Italia. His teammates included his brother Alberto (who scored against Roma), a young Antonio Conte and veteran Franco Causio. Lazio's hero for life was Juan Barbas who got a brace in the famous Roma vs Lecce.

 

In 1987-88 Di Chiara played for Messina in Serie B. The "Peloritani" finished 12th under "Il Professore" Franco Scoglio. Di Chiara played 19 league games and one of his teammates and top scorer was Italia '90 hero Salvatore "Totò" Schillaci.

 

In 1988-89 Di Chiara played for SPAL in Ferrara in Serie C1. The managers were first Giorgio Valeri (1-15) and then Francesco Paolo Specchia but the Estensi were relegated. Di Chiara played 10 league games.

 

In 1989-90 he spent a season in L'Aquila in Interregionale (5th tier). The Rossoblu finished 8th and he played 25 league games. 

 

His last professional club was Ascoli in 1990-91. The "Picchio" (The Woodpecker) was in Serie B and won promotion to A under Nedo Sonetti. Di Chiara however only played one league game. One of his teammates was his childhood friend and former Lazio, Bruno Giordano. 

 

He then retired at 35 but went straight into coaching. His first job was with Cassino in Interregionale (5th tier) in '91-92 but ended in relegation. He then had a series of one season stints: Cerveteri (near Rome-C2), Latina (5th tier), Civitavecchia (5th tier), Bastia Umbra (5th tier).

 

In 1998 he took on the job at Chieti in C2 but did not last the season.

 

In 1998-99 he spent the end of the season at Siena in C1. The Bianconeri finished 15th and stayed up after the play-outs.

 

In 1999 he was at Fermana for 4 matches (12-16) in C1 but was then replaced by Ivo Iaconi.

 

In 2001 he had a spell at Ravenna in Eccellenza (5th tier) and in 2002 two stints at Novara (C2) and Taranto (C1).

 

In 2004-05 he started with Legnano (C2) but was replaced. The third and last manager of the "Lilla" (Lilac) was Lazio Scudetto hero, Giancarlo Oddi. 

 

In 2005-06 he was back at Pistoiese (C1) as manager, taking over during the season but then being replaced himself. His son Diego was in the squad.

 

He then returned to Rome and took charge of Cisco Roma (C2) but was replaced. One of the players in the squad was Paolo Di Canio.

 

In 2007-08 he was manager with Viterbese (C2) taking over from former Lazio Roberto Rambaudi, who then got the job back from Di Chiara. The Tusci were relegated. 

 

In February 2009 he went north and joined Como (Serie D) and won promotion to Lega Pro (third tier). The following season did not go as well. He was banned for 5 games for violent and offensive behaviour and then another 4 for breaching the ban. Then in October he was sacked due to the Lariani's poor results.

 

He then returned to the Rome area and had two spells with Cerveteri; one in 2014 and another in 2020 (Eccellenza and Promozione - 5th and 6th tiers)

 

It is fair to say his playing career has been better than his coaching one so far.

 

As a player he was a solid defender. At 1.81 and 74 kilos he was a physical if not rugged central defender. He played 29 games in Serie A but never for his childhood club Lazio. He did however have the satisfaction of putting on the Biancoceleste jersey once in Coppa Italia and once in the UEFA Cup. More than most fans can say.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

1973-74

1

1

-

1975-76

1

-

1

Total

2

1

1

Source




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