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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

April 25, 1954: Spal Lazio 0-1

Updated: Apr 24

Fontanesi shines in difficult match

Two vital goals from Fontanesi gave Lazio a precious win.

Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far

The previous year had been a disappointment so a lot was spent on reinforcing the side. Alberto Fontanesi, Pasquale Viviolo and Renzo Burini arrived in the summer and fan favourite Enrique Flamini returned from his spell at Reggiana in the autumn transfer window.

However, Lazio were not able to improve in the first 19 games of the 1953-54 season, they were only three points clear of the relegation zone and had just lost away to Legnano.

For the first time Lazio and that other team from Rome started playing at the Stadio Olimpico, built for the Olympic Games of 1960.

The match: Sunday, February 14, 1954, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio needed to win this game but had two mountains to climb: nerves and former players Silvio Piola and Dionisio Arce. Both in some way and form will be decisive for the Lazio win.

In the 3rd minute a great shot from Burini was saved into corner by a deflection off Rino De Togni. Three minutes later an acrobatic bicycle kick from Fontanesi was saved on the line by Piero Pombia. The Lazio forward got his revenge in the 11th minute. Per Bredesen crossed the ball into the box, Fontanesi dribbled Pombia and put the ball past Fausto Lena. 1-0 for Lazio.

The Biancocelesti hit the woodwork with Vittorio Bergamo a minute after the goal and Fontanesi also had chance well saved by Lena. Another opportunity came in the 14th minute with a Bergamo shot just wide. At this point Lazio took a break with the exception of Bredesen who hit the crossbar in the 28th minute.

In the 29th minute Piola and Primo Sentimenti V clashed heads. The former Lazio legend had to be taken off the field and go to hospital and Sentimenti V came back with a very visible bandage 10 minutes later. Novara were forced to play with ten men and Arce became centre-forward.

Despite being one man down, Novara re-organised and started being dangerous. In the 39th minute Silvio Feccia’s shot was just wide and three minutes later Arce, unmarked in front of Lucidio Sentimenti IV missed a massive chance.

In the second half things proceeded slowly. Lazio had a few chances to double the lead but everything seemed to be under control. Until the 52nd minute when a disastrous mistake by Sentimenti V allowed Arce to fly towards the Lazio box undisturbed. This time he put the ball past Sentimenti IV.

Lazio had to start all over again, they did so in a disorderly manner and the crowd began to boo. A Fontanesi header in the 55th minute was saved by Lena and ten minutes later Bredesen had a chance, Lena was beaten but Luigi Molina saved on the line.

It was up to Fontanesi to provide a solution to Lazio’s problems and this is exactly what he did in the 66th minute. One-two with Aldo Puccinelli, who crossed for the Lazio forward. His header was saved on the line by Feccia, but it became an easy tap-in for Fontanesi. 2-1 for Lazio.

Arce got sent off for a dangerous tackle in the 75th minute but Novara, despite being down to 9 players, controlled possession. However they were never dangerous and Lazio were able to cash in the two vital points.

Who played for Lazio

Manager: Sperone

Who played for Novara

Lena, Pombia, De Togni, Feccia, Molina, Baira, Arce, Colombi, Piola, Passarin, Savioni.

Manager: Senkey.

Referee: Campanati

Goals: 11’ Fontanesi, 52’ Arce, 66’ Fontanesi

What happened next

If the first half of the season Lazio was decent, the second half was rather dismal. There were seven consecutive losses between March and April 1954, including the derby. The last games of the season went a little bit better and so relegation was avoided comfortably, but the fans really did expect more.

Francesco Antonazzi was the player with most appearances this season (33) and the top scorers were Fontanesi and Vivolo with nine goals each.

Lazio 1953-54






Goals scored

Serie A






Top five appearances


Serie A







Sentimenti V




Top five goal scorers


Serie A











Let's talk about Alberto Fontanesi

Alberto Fontanesi was born in Castel d’Ario on March 10 1929 but at a very early age his family moved to Tresigallo, near Ferrara, and this is where he started to play football. He later signed for Bondenese in Serie C in 1949, a club which periodically used to churn out professional footballers (Giuliano Sarti, considered one of the best goalkeepers in Italian football, was one of them).

In 1950 he signed for Spal, played as left winger and helped them get promotion to Serie A with 16 goals in 33 games. He stayed in Ferrara until 1953 when he was bought by Lazio. With Lazio he played two seasons in a time when they were not particularly strong and suffered a lot, escaping relegation twice. He however went on to play 44 games with 10 goals, all in Serie A.

In 1955-56 he moved to Udinese and stayed there until 1960. His last years in professional football were with Verona and Sambenedettese, but he played as an amateur until he was almost 40.

He played three games for Italy, two of which at the Helsinki Olympic Games of 1952 where he even scored a goal against the USA. He was the last player from Spal to wear the Italian jersey until Manuel Lazzari in 2018.

He died in Tresigallo on April 1 2016.

Lazio Career


Appearances Serie A

Goals Serie A












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