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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

December 8, 1957: Lazio Torino 1-1

A difficult draw


Torino dominate but Lazio manage to earn a point



Source SS Lazio Museum

The season so far


The 1957-58 season had been really tough. There was literally no money and Lazio was in deep financial difficulty. As a consequence, little could be done to improve the team and Ugo Pozzan was the only player to be signed. The club could have sold their best player Arne Selmosson, but managed to avoid it. But the club was forced to sell Primo Sentimenti V and Lorenzo Bettini to Udinese. Manager Jesse Carver moved to Inter so the Biancocelesti had a new one: Milovan Ciric.


The Asian flu swept through Lazio like a cold wind and many players were out of action. Goalkeeper Bob Lovati suffered a serious injury in the second game and came back at the end of October.


After 12 games Lazio were ninth, two points clear of the relegation zone (occupied by Atalanta and Milan!!!). They had had some heavy losses such as 5-2 against Inter, 4-0 at Alessandria and 3-0 vs Roma. The situation was not looking good.


The match: Sunday December 8, 1957, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


The game was largely dominated by Torino but it was Lazio who scored first. The Biancocelesti started really well, putting the Granata in difficulty. In the 18th minute Ermes Muccinelli deservedly put Lazio ahead. Free kick for the Biancocelesti, cross into the box and the little Lazio winger managed to put the ball past Vincenzo Rigamonti despite being sandwiched between two defenders.


At this point Torino started to play and put the Biancocelesti in great difficulty. It was as if Lazio thought that they would certainly lose, so Torino did what they wanted to. Towards the end of the half, first Antoine Bonifaci with a clinical shot forced Bob Lovati to save into corner, then Quinto Bertoloni had a chance more difficult to miss than to score but he chose the difficult way and missed.


In the second half Torino equalised almost immediately in the 49th minute. Sergio Santelli after having received the ball from Bertoloni, from the left waited for Lovati to come off his line to face him and beat the Lazio goalkeeper with a powerful shot.


Six minutes later Bertoloni scored but the referee, after a chat with the linesman, decided that the Granata forward was in offside. Later on in the match Torino had an enormous chance when Santelli only had to choose who to pass to and it would have been a certain goal. But the right wing decided to shoot and Giovanni Molino, running back in a desperate attempt, managed to divert the ball into corner.


A difficult match for Lazio


Who played for Lazio


Lovati, Molino, Eufemi, Fuin, Pinardi, Carradori, Muccinelli, Tozzi, Cocciuti, Burini, Selmosson

Manager: Ciric


Who played for Torino


Rigamonti, Grava, Cuscela, Bearzot, Ganzer, Fogli, Santelli, Armano, Bonifaci, Bertoloni, Tacchi.

Manager: Marjanovic.


Referee: Ferrari


Goals: 18’ Muccinelli, 49’ Santelli


What happened next


At the end of the first half of the season Lazio were 13th, just three points above the relegation zone (two teams would go down to Serie B). Ciric was sacked in February and the team was handed to Dino Canestri, technical director, and Alfredo Monza, manager. Things started to improve and Lazio beat Inter as well as Roma. But in the next 8 games Lazio got just three points so with one game to go the situation was dramatic. Genoa, Sampdoria, Lazio, Atalanta and Spal on 28 points, Verona last on 26. A 4-0 win in the last game against Verona allowed the Biancocelesti to avoid relegation.


Giovanni Molino was the player with most appearances (34), Selmonsson the top goal scorer (9).


The Coppa Italia was played in the solar year and for the first time since the end of World War II. The Serie A, as usual when there was a World Cup, had been anticipated by three weeks to allow the Nazionale to train before the competition. However, without Italy’s participation, there was a need to “invent” something for the Italians to think about, so, instead of launching the Coppa Italia in the 1958-59 season as initially planned, they decided to fill the June gap with the new cup.


All Serie A teams were invited with the exception of Atalanta, involved in a case of possible corruption, and Verona, who had a playoff with Bari, plus the best 8 of Serie B and Serie C. The 32 teams were divided into 8 groups of four. The winners would play the quarterfinals in September and automatically qualify for the first knockout round in the next Coppa Italia.


Lazio started the cup with a number of changes. Fulvio Bernardini, former 1920s Lazio player, returned to manage the team. Only a couple of years earlier he had won a historic scudetto with Fiorentina so there were high hopes that the new boss could take Lazio to a higher level.


Unfortunately, the club was forced to sell their star player, Arne Selmosson. Alas, the highest bidders were Roma and despite various attempts to boycott the transfer, plus the fact that the Swede was not really that happy to play for the other Rome team, Selmosson was sold to Roma.


New players arrived and were immediately thrown in the team to play the Coppa Italia: Idilio Cei (goalkeeper from Foligno), Claudio Bizzari (forward, Fiorentina), Carlo Tagnin (midfielder, Alessandria), Maurilio Prini (forward, Fiorentina), Giacomo Del Gratta (defender, Zenit Modena) and Egidio Fumagalli (midfielder, Novese). Later on, Franco Janich (defender, Atalanta), Bruno Franzini (midfielder, Genoa) and Paolo Carosi (midfielder, Tivoli) also arrived.


Lazio were in Group H together with Roma, Palermo and Napoli. Whoever came top proceeded to the quarterfinals.


In the first game Lazio demolished Palermo 5-1 with a Humberto Tozzi hat trick and goals from Renzo Burini and Alfredo Napoleoni. Game two saw the Biancocelesti beat Napoli 3-1 (Tozzi double plus Tagnin). Game three was the derby which saw Lazio win away 3-2 (another Tozzi double and Bizzarri). In game four Lazio drew at Palermo 2-2 (Tozzi, Burini) and in the fifth game the Biancocelesti demolished Napoli away 4-0 (Burini brace, Pozzan and Bizzarri). In the last game of group stage Lazio drew 1-1 with Roma (Tozzi the scorer). Lazio won their group and proceeded to the next stage which was played in September.


In the quarterfinals Lazio beat the only Serie B side to qualify, Marzotto, 2-1 with goals from Fumagalli and Tozzi. In the other games, Bologna won against Milan away 4-2, Fiorentina beat Padova 2-1 and Juventus won at Genoa against Sampdoria 3-2 after extra time.


In the semis, Lazio had to play against Juventus, a very difficult game. Juventus had a stellar attack with Giampiero Boniperti, John Charles and Omar Sivori, but the Biancocelesti won 2-0, again with goals from Fumagalli and Tozzi. In the other semi-final Fiorentina beat Bologna 4-2.


The final was hence between Lazio and Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico. The Biancocelesti won their first historic silverware thanks to a Prini goal in the first half. A magical, long-awaited triumph for the oldest club of the capital.


Lazio 1957-58

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

34

10

10

14

45

Coppa Italia

6

4

2

-

18

Total

40

14

12

14

63

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Pinardi

35

30

5

Molino

34

34

-

Selmosson

33

33

-

Muccinelli

32

32

-

Pozzan

32

27

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Tozzi

16

7

9

Burini

12

7

5

Selmosson

9

9

-

Pozzan

6

5

1

Muccinelli

5

5

-

Let's talk about Ermes Muccinelli


Source Wikipedia

Ermes Muccinelli was born on July 28, 1927, in Lugo near Ravenna. He started playing football in an orphanage in Fabriago di Lugo with his little brother. In the early 1940s he played a game against the Lugo youth team and scored 6 goals. The brothers were clearly underfed, but Ermes impressed on the pitch. Sergio Geminiani, a young kid at the time but who would later become a footballer, mentioned Muccinelli to the President of Baracca Lugo who immediately made sure the brothers were fed. Geminiani, together with a few other youngsters, used to take food on their bikes to them.


From Lugo, Ermes briefly played for Biellese in 1945-46 and then moved to Turin and joined Juventus. He debuted in Serie A on November 24 in the home match won by the Bianconeri against Triestina. In the late 1940s and early 50s he formed a magnificent attacking duo with John Hansen and won two championships: 1949-50 and 1950-51. He played in Turin until 1955 with 226 appearances and 60 goals.


In 1955 he joined Lazio and stayed for three years appearing in 93 games and scoring 20 goals. Loved by the fans, Muccinelli was a small winger who was a great assist man but also scored goals himself. He left the Biancocelesti in 1958 hence just missed out on winning Lazio’s first silverware, the Coppa Italia of 1958.


He romantically wanted to have one last year at Juve before retiring and he did just that in 1958-59. He returned briefly to football in 1960 to play three games for Como in Serie B.


He played 15 times for Italy and scored 4 goals. He participated in the 1950 World Cup (two appearances with one goal) as well as the 1954 edition (two appearances).


Once he retired, he settled in Liguria at Torre del Mare, near Savona where he died on November 4, 1994.


The Lugo stadium is named after him.


Plaque outside the Lugo Stadium named after Muccinelli. Photo by Tommaso Sacco

Lazio Career

Season

Serie A Appearances

Serie A Goals

1955-56

32

10

1956-57

29

5

1957-58

32

5

Total

93

20

Sources


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