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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

December 22, 1940: Lazio Venezia 4-1

Good win on wet pitch

 

Biancocelesti managed to beat Venezia with three goals in the second half




Source SS Lazio Museum

The season so far

 

Lazio came 4th the previous season. They had been very consistent and that had been the key to the excellent campionato. There was hope that the position could be repeated since there had been quite a number of new signings: future legend Uber Gradella (goalkeeper from Verona), defender Italo Romagnoli II (Napoli), Argentinian midfielders Alberto Fazio and Salvador Gualtieri (both from San Lorenzo) plus Anselmo Pisa (Banfield), and forwards Aldo Puccinelli (Pontedera) and Otello Zironi (Modena). Lazio said goodbye to Umberto Busani, Luigi Milano, Maximiliano Faotto, Bruno Camolese, Giovanni Costa, Alessandro Capponi and Evaristo Barrera.

 

The beginning of the season had not been a good one and after 10 games they were 12th, just one point above the relegation zone. Manager Geza Kertesz relied too heavily on Silvio Piola but did not organise a game plan so the players found themselves lost. After six games he was replaced by compatriot Ferenc Molnar.

 

A win against Venezia would be very important.

 

The match: Sunday, December 22, 1940, Stadio PNF, Rome

 

The game started with a bang despite the rain and the bad pitch. After just four minutes Lazio were ahead. Luciano Ramella to Silvio Piola who passed to Umberto Lombardini. The Biancoceleste forward saw that Luigi Vettraino was in a better position (and according to Il Littoriale in offside) five metres in front of Manilo Bacigalupo, who had no problem in scoring.

 

Venezia immediately pressed Lazio for an equaliser and Valentino Mazzola (father of Sandro and Ferruccio) almost equalised with a header that went only slightly wide. In the 18th minute Mazzola tried a shot, Corrado Giovannini launched himself towards the ball but it was Romagnoli II who put the ball in his own goal. Lazio 1 Venezia 1.

 

The two teams battled on in search of a winner. Lombardini had a couple of chances, Vettraino and Piola also tried to break down the Venezia wall who continued to give the Lazio fans reason to worry, particularly with Mazzola. In the 45th minute, Lidio Stefanini took a free kick, Giovannini parried but if it was not for Romagnoli II who cleared, Venezia would have certainly scored.

 

In the 54th minute there was a free kick for Lazio close to the corner kick. Ramella tried a shot, the ball went through a number of legs until it reached Vettraino who made it two for the Biancocelesti. 

 

Lazio tried to make it three but Venezia almost equalised on the counterattack. Fast play Mazzola-Luigi Busidoni, a couple of attempted shots then Busidoni passed to Mazzola who from no further than three metres from the goal shot over the crossbar. From the possible 2-2 to 3-1 for Lazio. Corner for the Biancocelesti in the 62nd minute taken by Vettraino and Piola headed the ball in.

 

Six minutes later Piola collected the ball in midfield, dribbled every single Venezia player and in front of Silvio Di Gennaro passed to Otello Zironi. It was a comfortable shot and a certain goal. But Zironi waited. And waited. And waited, and by the time he was ready for the shot he had lost the moment. A minute later Piola this time did not pass and shot. Gianemilio Piazza in a desperate and hopeless attempt to stop it put the ball into his own net.

 

Mazzola did try to reduce the deficit and Piola to increase Lazio’s lead but Giovannini denied the former and Bacigalupo the latter, with the help of Di Gennaro, and the match ended up Lazio 4 Venezia 1.

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Giovannini, Romagnoli II, Monza II, Baldo, Ramella, Ferri, Zironi I, Piola, Lombardini, Flamini, Vettraino

Manager: Molnar

 

Who played for Venezia


Bacigalupo, Piazza, Di Gennaro, Tortora, Stefanini, Puppo, Alberti, Loik, Mazzola, Alberico, Busidoni.

Manager: Rebuffo

 

Referee: Scotto

 

Goals: 4’ Vettraino, 18’ Romagnoli II (og), 54’ Vettraino, 62’ Piola, 69’ Piazza (og)

 

What happened next

 

The situation did not get any better and 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 the Biancocelesti had won just three games.

 

In February 1941, Molnar was sacked. The new manager Dino Canestri had the difficult task of avoiding relegation. Lazio had hardly ever left the penultimate position in the table (two teams were relegated), but with Canestri there was a little light and Lazio 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 the case of a tie between two or more teams, goal difference counted. Bari were already relegated.

 

The last dramatic home match at the Olimpico saw Lazio beat Fiorentina 4-1. Two fantastic points and a major 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.

 

In Bologna the Biancocelesti went 2-0 up but in the second half Bologna equalised. Despair for Lazio, but 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. Venezia scored a third and Lazio avoided relegation.


Lazio 1940-41

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

7

13

10

38

Coppa Italia

4

3

-

1

10

Total

34

10

13

11

48

Top five appearances

Players

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Flamini

34

30

4

Romagnoli

32

28

4

Gualtieri

31

27

4

Monza

30

26

4

Vettraino

26

23

3

Top goal scorers

Players

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Piola

10

10

-

Vettraino

8

6

2

Romagnoli

6

2

4

Zironi

4

4

-

Let's talk about Italo Romagnoli


Italo Romagnoli is third from left standing. Source Wikipedia

Italo Romagnoli, brother of Alfredo, also a footballer, was born in Pescara on February 21, 1916. He started playing football for Pescara and in 1935 signed for Fiorentina. After a year he moved slightly in Tuscany and played for Lucchese in Serie A for two seasons to then go to Naples and stay for another two years.

 

In 1940 he signed for Lazio. He stayed three years and was nicknamed “rubber ball” because of his acrobatic qualities. He was a great player and during his career played everywhere except in goal. At Lazio he did very well making 78 appearances in Serie A with 8 goals and 5 in Coppa Italia with 4 goals. He played alongside legends such as Silvio Piola, Enrique Flamini and Aldo Puccinelli.

 

During the war he played for Portici and was top scorer in the local war tournament. In 1945 he signed for Pescara and then closed his career in 1946-47 with another year at Napoli.

 

Once he stopped playing, he became a manager in the Campania region coaching Portici, Gladiator, Sorrento and Sessana. He was also a scout for many Serie A teams.

 

He died in Portici on July 25, 2009.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

1940-41

32 (6)

28 (2)

4 (4)

1941-42

27

27

-

1942-43

24 (2)

23 (2)

1

Total

83 (8)

78 (4)

5 (4)

Sources


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