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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

February 14, 1988: Lazio Messina 2-0

9 minutes is enough


Two goals in 9 minutes close the game early




Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had managed to avoid relegation to Serie C in a playoff with Campobasso and Taranto. They had been given an unjust 9-point docking, a very heavy burden with only two points for a victory, due to an alleged involvement in match fixing. Lazio did so well at the beginning that by early 1987 they were closer to promotion than relegation. Then the stress took its toll and the team collapsed physically and mentally. Before the last game of the season, Lazio were second from bottom on 31 points together with Taranto, on 32 there were Campobasso, Vicenza, Sambenedettese and Catania, with Modena on 33. With Cagliari already relegated, there were three places left. The last game was Lazio-Vicenza on June 21. With seven minutes to go, it was still 0-0. Gabriele Podavini got the ball and shot. It was more out of desperation than an actual goal scoring attempt. He miskicked it but the ball reached Giuliano Fiorini who turned on himself and scored.

 

Final verdict: Lazio, Campobasso and Taranto needed a playoff to determine who would join Cagliari, Catania and Vicenza in Serie C. In Naples on June 27 Lazio played their first game against Taranto and lost due to a goal in blatant offside. Then Taranto and Campobasso drew 1-1 on July 1. This meant that Lazio had to beat Campobasso to stay in Serie B. They did thanks to a Fabio Poli goal. The Biancocelesti were safe.

 

The new Presidency of the Calleri brothers with Renato Bocchi were obviously aiming for a return to Serie A in the 1987-88 season and certainly had this in mind when it came down to the summer transfer window. There was a revolution. Lazio said goodbye to goalkeepers Mario Ielpo and Giuliano Terraneo, defenders Ernesto Calisti and Daniele Filisetti, but in particular to Lazio legends Podavini, Fiorini and Poli. The new signings were experienced goalkeeper Silvano Martina and defender Paolo Beruatto both from Torino, Diego Maradona’s reserve Ciro Muro from Napoli, Gabriele Savino from Vicenza, Paolo Monelli from Fiorentina and Giuseppe Galderisi on loan from Milan. Only a year earlier Galderisi had played for Italy in the 1986 World Cup.


There was a lot of expectation, especially because the slots for promotion were increased to four as Serie A was going to expand the number of teams from 16 to 18, but Lazio started slowly. After the first 10 games Lazio were 12th, not too far away from the promotion zone, but still not in a good position. A couple of wins pushed them back up but then four consecutive draws, three of which goalless, did not give them the boost that was needed.


Then came the game at Taranto. Lazio were losing 3-1 after 35 minutes but goals from Savino and Muro in the second half allowed the Biancocelesti to draw and the week after Lazio won at San Benedetto del Tronto. The Biancocelesti were fifth on 23 points together with Lecce, preceded by Cremonese and Bari on 24, Atalanta on 25 and Bologna on 27. Getting closer.


The match: Sunday, February 14, 1988, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


After only two minutes Lazio were already ahead. Freekick from the left from Muro, ball in the box, Massimo Susic tried to anticipate Monelli but put the ball in his own net.


The Biancocelesti went for the immediate kill and Galderisi in the 8th minute was clearly fouled in the box, but the referee just gave a corner. After the cross several players tried to get hold of the ball but it reached the edge of the area and Savino with a clinical shot made it 2-0 for Lazio.


In the 12th minute Angelo Gregucci on a corner kick headed the ball against the crossbar and two minutes later a Marco De Simone header almost made the own goals two but he was saved by the crossbar. In the 24th minute splendid one-two Domenico Caso-Muro, ball to Monelli unmarked in front of the keeper, but his shot went wide.


Messina did try a comeback but Martina did well in stopping a Totò Schillaci attempt. In the second half Lazio slowed down and spent the second 45 minutes controlling the game. The Sicilian Giallorossi did have a chance in the 50th minute with a Giusepe Catalano free kick which was parried by Martina and then Savino, in an attempt to clear the area, mis-kicked the ball which almost went in.


Good win for Lazio, now third.


Who played for Lazio

 

Martina, Marino (42’ Brunetti), Beruatto, Pin, Gregucci, Savino, Caso, Acerbis, Galderisi (73’ Esposito), Muro, Monelli

Substitutes: Salafia, Foschi, Nigro

Manager: Fascetti

 

Who played for Messina

 

Nieri, Susic, S. Di Chiara, De Simone, Petitti, Da Mommio (46' Manari), S. Schillaci, Cuccovillo (60' Di Fabio), Lerda, Catalano, Mossini.

Substitutes: Paleari, Gobbo, Orati

Manager: Scoglio.

 

Referee: Pucci


Goals: 2' Susic (og), 9' Savino



What happened next


With six games to the end, seven teams were involved in the fight for Serie A. Bologna and Atalanta were slightly ahead of the others, Lecce were one point above Lazio who in turn were a point ahead of Catanzaro, Cremonese and Bari.


The most important game of the season was Catanzaro-Lazio. Catanzaro by winning could have overtaken Lazio and it was 1-0 for the Calabrian Giallorossi when the referee indicated three minutes of injury time. With just seconds to go Monelli equalised and Lazio kept fourth place. Catanzaro managed to catch up with Lazio with three games to go but it only lasted one match.


Lazio-Taranto was the last game of the season. Bologna and Lecce were already promoted, Lazio and Atalanta had a one-point lead over Catanzaro. The other two matches of interest were Atalanta-Messina and Piacenza-Catanzaro. The Biancocelesti won 3-1 and secured promotion to Serie A. Finally.


Paolo Monelli was the player with most appearances this season (42) and the most goals (14).


Lazio 1987-88

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

38

15

17

6

42

Coppa Italia

5

2

2

1

4

Total

43

17

19

7

46

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Monelli

42

37

5

Marino

41

36

5

Martina

41

36

5

Pin

41

36

5

Beruatto

40

35

5

Savino

40

35

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Monelli

14

13

1

Savino

10

8

2

Muro

4

4

-

Gregucci

3

3

-

Rizzolo

3

3

-

Let's talk about Gabriele Savino


Source Lazio Wiki

Gabriele Savino had a very long career starting in 1976 and finishing in 1994, but he never made it to Serie A.


Born on February 6, 1960, in Vercelli, he started playing football for his hometown in Serie C and in 1978 signed for Trecate in Serie D. He then gradually worked his way up the tiers and after stints at Novara, Legnano and Carrarese, signed for Vicenza in Serie B in 1985. He stayed a couple of years there but in 1987 the club was relegated to Serie C1 after the dramatic Lazio - Vicenza match.


His next club would be Lazio. The Biancocelesti had gone through a mini revolution and the objective was a return to Serie A. Savino struggled in the beginning and was not playing well. Neither were Lazio however, and after the first half of the season they were fifth. But that last game was a turnaround. The Biancocelesti managed to draw a difficult game at Taranto 3-3 with a Savino brace and things went better from then on . Lazio conquered Serie A in the last game against the Apulians at the Olimpico.


Savino gave a good contribution to the cause: 40 appearances and 10 goals. Once he started to play better so did Lazio and Serie A became there for the taking. He was going to be confirmed but there was a change of plan in July as Fascetti was sacked following an argument with President Gian Marco Calleri over the sale of Paolo Monelli.


Savino was no longer wanted and in the autumn transfer window he was sold to Brescia. In two years, he made 68 league appearances with 11 goals. After this experience he went to play for Lucchese in Serie B but made only 10 appearances. His last years of active football were with Mantova in Serie C2, Treviso and Valdagno in the amateur leagues.


Savino was an excellent midfielder who scored plenty of goals. But the club did not think he was Serie A quality and with Fascetti leaving he was no longer considered useful for the Lazio cause. But he will be remembered for being one of the protagonists of the return to Serie A.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie B

Coppa Italia

1987-88

41

36

5

Sources



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