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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

February 11, 1979: Atalanta Lazio 0-0

Ugly but effective


Lazio defend for 90 minutes and bring home precious point






Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had finished 10th. They had started with Brazilian Luis Vinicio as manager but ended with replacement Roberto 'Bob' Lovati.

 

This season Lovati had been confirmed. Lazio's main change was in goal with Massimo Cacciatori arriving from Sampdoria. Two midfielders were added: Aldo Nicoli from Foggia and Fernando Viola back from a loan period at Bologna. In attack Aldo Cantarutti was signed from Monza.

 

The goalkeeper making space for Cacciatori was Claudio Garella. He had committed a series of howlers at Lazio and was nicknamed 'Garella paperella' (rubber duck- a play on words with Italian papera meaning howler in football lingo). He would however go on to win league titles with Verona and Napoli. Also leaving were midfielder Luigi Boccolini to Brindisi and Ernesto Apuzzo to Foggia while Sergio Clerici had retired.

 

In Serie A, Lazio were in 8th position, on 17 points with Fiorentina and Catanzaro. In the opener Lazio had drawn 2-2 at home with Juventus. Since then, the Biancocelesti had won 5, drawn (including derby 0-0 and Atalanta 1-1) and lost 5. In the last three matches Lazio had lost 2 (Milan 0-2 and Juventus 1-2, both away) and most recently drawn 0-0 at home with Avellino.

 

In August and September, Lazio had got through the first group stage of Coppa Italia. The Biancocelesti had won 2 (Bari 1-0 away and Vicenza 1-0 at home) and drawn 2 (Pistoiese 0-0 at home and Bologna 1-1 away). They would now play Palermo in the quarterfinals in April.

 

Atalanta had finished 9th the previous season under Titta Rota. The Nerazzurri had won one and drawn one against Lazio. They had two future Biancocelesti in the squad: Giorgio Mastropasqua (1980-82) and Roberto Tavola (1982-83).

 

This year the manager was still Rota but the Bergamaschi had a few new players: defender Carlo Osti (Udinese), midfielder Cesare Prandelli (Cremonese), Vincenzo Chiarenza (Avellino), forwards Giancarlo Finardi (Cremonese), Salvatore Garritano (Torino) and Domenico Marocchino (Cremonese). Leaving Bergamo were defender Alberto Cavasin (SPAL) plus forwards Giacomo Libera (Foggia) and Luigi Manueli (Varese).

 

So far Atalanta were in difficulty, in 14th position, on 10 points. The "Dea" (The Goddess) had only won 1 (Roma 2-0 at home), drawn 8 (including Lazio 1-1 away) and lost 8. They were four points below the safety zone, Avellino and Roma on 14 points.

 

In Coppa Italia the Nerazzurri had been eliminated in the first group stage in the summer. They had won 1 (Rimini 3-2 at home), drawn 1 (Napoli 0-0 away) and lost 2 (Genoa 1-3 at home and Sampdoria 2-4 away).

 

Lazio were mid-table and could play for two results out of three, while Atalanta were absolutely desperate for a win. They could hope that Roman teams maybe bring them luck this season, as their only joy had come against Roma.

 

The match: Sunday, February 11, 1979, Stadio Comunale, Bergamo


A miserable, wet day in Bergamo for this afternoon's game gathered a 15,000 crowd.

 

Atalanta wanted a win and they went for it right from the word go. In the 1st minute, young talent Marocchino got past a couple of defenders and set up Vincenzo Chiarenza, but the future Lazio player failed to domesticate the ball in an extremely favourable position in front of Cacciatori.

 

A few minutes later Battista Festa put a dangerous freekick into the box but no Bergamaschi managed to get a touch while Lionello Manfredonia did and almost put it in his own net.

 

Atalanta attacked constantly and Lazio had to dig deep, often resorting to rough defending but managed to resist until halftime. Atalanta 0 Lazio 0.

 

One way traffic so far, with Lazio's game plan clear, defend, defend, defend and come away with a point.

 

The second half predictably saw a similar game pattern. Atalanta attacked in waves and Lazio rarely crossed the halfway line. In the 55th minute the "Dea" had a penalty appeal for an Aldo Nicoli handball but it was judged involuntary (these were the days before players were expected to cut off their arms when challenging or jumping in the area).

 

The game became increasingly physical with Lazio especially resorting to systematic fouls to break up the home side's pressure. The wet pitch also meant it was difficult for the players to stay on their feet.

 

In the 87th minute, probably to slow things down, Lazio replaced Andrea Agostinelli with Antonio Fernando Labonia. The Argentine had time to get booked and the Atalanta manager Rota was so fed up with Lazio’s tactics that he stormed away from his bench. Final score Atalanta 0 Lazio 0.

 

Not pretty viewing but a good point for Lazio. These were still the days when an away point, especially at places like Bergamo, was seen as very positive. A missed opportunity for Atalanta but today defence had prevailed over attack.

 

Lazio still joint 8th, now just with Fiorentina, on 18 points. Atalanta were still four points from safety, as both Roma and Avellino had drawn, while a small consolation came from Ascoli losing so they too were now four points away.

 

Who played for Atalanta


Bodini, Osti, Mei, Prandelli, Vavassori, Tavola, Marocchino (77' Pircher), Rocca, Paina, Festa, Chiarenza

Substitutes: Dal Bello, Mastropasqua

Manager: Rota

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Fantini, Cantarutti

Manager: Lovati

 

Referee: Terpin

 

What happened next


Lazio finished 8th, on 29 points. A week later they thumped Fiorentina 4-0 at home and then won another 3 (including Roma 2-1), drew 3 and lost 5. The highlight came on March 18 when, coming from behind, Lazio beat Roma 2-1 with an Aldo Nicoli winner two minutes from time. This was also the first time I had seen Lazio beat Roma at the stadium, priceless. Top scorer was Bruno Giordano with 21 (19 in A).

 

In Coppa Italia, Lazio were eliminated by Palermo on penalties after two nil-nil draws in the quarter finals.

 

Atalanta were relegated. A week later they drew 1-1 away to Milan and then beat Napoli 2-1 at home to give them hope. There followed more defeats but also wins against Verona, Ascoli, Fiorentina and Vicenza and an away draw against Roma but ultimately they fell agonisingly short and were relegated on goal difference while Bologna stayed up. Their top scorer was Salvatore Garritano with 5 goals (3 in A), out of 20.

 

Serie A winners were Milan for their 10th title, ahead of the unbeaten “Perugia of miracles". Atalanta went down with Verona and Vicenza.


Lazio 1978-79

Competition

Played

Won

Lost

Drawn

Goals scored

Serie A

30

9

11

10

35

Coppa Italia

6

2

4

-

3

Total

36

11

15

10

38

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Cacciatori

36

30

6

Giordano

36

30

6

Cordova

34

28

6

Manfredonia

34

28

6

Wilson

33

29

4

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Giordano

21

19

2

5

5

-

Wilson

2

2

-

D'Amico

2

2

-


Let's talk about Massimo De Stefanis


Source Lazio Wiki

Massimo De Stefanis was born in Rome, on February 8, 1957.

 

He was formed in the Lazio youth sector. He was part of the squad, along with Bruno Giordano and Lionello Manfredonia, that won the Primavera Scudetto (U19's) in 1975-76.

 

In 1976-77 he joined the first team, under Luis Vinicio, but did not play and Lazio finished 5th (UEFA Cup).

 

In 1977-78 Vinicio was replaced by Bob Lovati after 24 matches and De Stefanis made his debut in his one and only league game that season. Lazio finished 10th.

 

In 1978-79 Lovati stayed on and Lazio finished 8th. De Stefanis played 3 league games.

 

In 1979-80 he left Lazio and joined Palermo in Serie B. He stayed in Sicily for five seasons. The Rosanero finished 9th, 14th, 7th, 15th and 17th (relegated). His managers were Giancarlo Cadè in the first season, a trio Fernando Veneranda, Vincenzo Urbani and Carmelo Di Bella in the second, Antonio Renna in the third and fourth and Gustavo Giagnoni and Graziano Landoni in the fifth. His teammates included, former Lazio, Paolo Ammoniaci (1975-79) and Totó Lopez (1975-1980) plus future Lazio Maurizio Schillaci (1986-87). De Stefanis played 169 league games for the Eagles and scored 30 goals (in 1983-84 was top scorer with 11).

 

In 1984 he moved to Perugia in Serie B. The manager was Aldo Agroppi and the "Grifone" went close to promotion finishing 4th. Perugia only lost once all season but drew 26 times. De Stefanis played 34 league games with 7 goals. He played alongside, future Lazio, Luca Brunetti (1986-88).

 

In 1985-86 he stayed in the Umbrian capital but it was a difficult season. Former Lazio player Massimo Giacomini (1963-64) started as manager and was then replaced by Giampiero Molinari after 26 matches but Perugia finished 18th and were relegated. De Stefanis played 31 league games with 5 goals. Things then got worse for the Biancorossi as they were then further relegated to C2 (4th tier) due to their involvement in the "Totonero bis” match fixing scandal.

 

De Stefanis left and joined Arezzo in Serie B. The manager was Enzo Riccomini and the "Cavallino" (The Foal) finished 12th. Arezzo drew one and won one against Lazio. De Stefanis played 36 league games with 5 goals. His teammates included former Lazio Francesco Dell'Anno (1983-86), Enrico Vella (1982-83), and future Lazio Fabrizio Di Mauro (1993-94) plus past and future Lazio keeper Fernando Orsi (1982-85, 1989-98).

 

In 1987-88 he stayed on but the Aretini were relegated, first under Bruno Bolchi (1-21) and then Antonio Angelillo (22-38). De Stefanis played 35 league games with 3 goals.

 

In 1988-89 he joined Ancona in Serie B. The manager was Giancarlo Cadè from his Palermo days and the Dorici finished 12th. De Stefanis played 29 league games with 1 goal. His teammates included former Lazio Oliviero Garlini (1984-86) and future Lazio Maurizio Neri (1991-93). This was De Stefanis last professional season as he then retired at 32.

 

Since retiring he has coached youth teams at amateur level in the Rome area.

 

De Stefanis was a midfielder. He was 1.79 and 76 kilos. He was a promising player in his youth, dynamic and with good, powerful shooting skills. His career took him away from Lazio but he had a decent Serie B career playing and scoring with continuity, 334 league games and 51 goals.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie A

Intertoto

1977-78

4

1

3

1978-79

3

3

-

Total

7

4

3

Sources




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