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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

February 20, 1949: Lazio Palermo 5-1

Updated: Feb 20

Penzo hat trick buries Palermo


A Penzo hat trick plus goals from De Andreis and Puccinelli annihilate Palermo




Source Wikipedia

The season so far


In the summer Lazio had signed forward Ferenc Nyers and said goodbye to Alessandro Ferri, Flavio Cecconi and Corrado Giubilo. But the economic crisis had hit national football big time, therefore also Lazio. The Italian Football League introduced a minimum wage and the players threatened to strike. The more active unionists at Lazio were Uber Gradella, Leandro Remondini, Sergio Piacentini, Romano Penzo and Aldo Puccinelli who refused to train and play. In the end, a compromise was found just before the start of the first game. But this issue had a negative impact on Lazio as they collected only 4 points in the first ten games. Then they beat Bologna 8-2 and it was all smiles again. But then they still only managed 9 points in the subsequent ten. After beating Lucchese, Lazio drew two games: the derby and away to Atalanta. The match against Palermo had to show some continuity of results for Lazio.


In January, Remo Zenobi returned as President of the club and with him he brought Norbert Hofling, the centre-forward Lazio desperately needed.


The match: Sunday, February 20, 1949, Stadio Nazionale, Rome


It was Hofling’s first game in Rome and the stadium was packed as many people were curious to see him. Manager Mario Sperone put him in the centre of the attack and moved Penzo to midfield. This made Lazio more complete and the results showed immediately. In the first minute Hofling hit the crossbar and Penzo was ready for the tap in. 1-0 for Lazio.


Eight minutes later, Aurelio Pavesi crossed for Andrea Marzani and Palermo equalised. The Sicilians managed to block Lazio’s play and were very dangerous themselves up front. Palermo insisted and Enrico Boniforti had a first free kick saved by Marco Brandolin and a second just wide. Cestmir Vycpalek (Zdenek Zeman’s uncle) also had a chance but his shot was walled by Francesco Antonazzi. Penzo could have given Lazio the lead but his header was well saved by Arnaldo Sentimenti II.


In the second half Palermo collapsed. In the 48th minute, great play from Hofling and ball to Puccinelli who crossed for Penzo. Spectacular acrobatic header and 2-1 for Lazio.


Lazio trebled with Costantino De Andreis 11 minutes later. In the 64th minute, excellent cross from Puccinelli, the ball went over to the far post and Penzo scored his third of the day.


Puccinelli’s goal in the 77th minute was the final icing on the cake. A great win for Lazio who were able to fully exploit their new signing, Hofling.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Sperone


Who played for Palermo


Sentimenti II, Boniforti, Casuzzi, Sforza, Milani, Piccinini, Marzani, Vycpalek, Pavesi, Moretti, De Santis

Manager: Varglien


Referee: Bergomi


Goals: 1’ Penzo, 9’ Marzani, 48’ Penzo, 59’ De Andreis, 64’ Penzo, 77’ Puccinelli


What happened next


As seen with this match, life with Hofling in the team was a lot easier and Lazio started playing much better. Spectacular wins with Genoa and Bologna, a draw at home against the Torino champions and in the end a decent 13th place at the end of the season. It could have been much worse.


Piacentini and Puccinelli had the most appearances (38) and Penzo the most goals (12).


The season ending was however tragic for Italian football. The great Torino, who had won 5 consecutive scudettos between 1942-43 and 1948-49, died in an air crash on May 4, 1949. Returning from a friendly against Benfica in Lisbon, the plane carrying the whole team crashed into the wall at the back of the Basilica of Superga which is on a hill near Turin. All 31 people on the flight died. These included the players, coaching staff, a few journalists and the flight crew.


Tommaso Maestrelli was supposed to be on that plane. Despite the fact that he was playing for Roma at the time, he had been invited by Valentino Mazzola to join the team for the friendly match. Maestrelli did not make it because he was unable to renew his passport in time.


A great tragedy for Italian football. The Torino team was the backbone of the Nazionale and Valentino Mazzola was the best Italian player.


Lazio 1948-49

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

11

12

15

60

Top five appearances

Player

Serie A

Piacentini

38

Puccinelli

38

Alzani

33

Magrini

32

Penzo

32

Top five goal scorers

Player

Serie A

Penzo

12

Magrini

9

Puccinelli

8

Nyers

8

Remondini

6

Let's talk about Aldo Puccinelli


Source Wikipedia

Aldo Puccinelli was one of the strongest wingers in Lazio's history. He is the all time second player for number of league appearances for the Biancocelesti, preceded only by Stefan Radu. He played 350 games for Lazio (319 in Serie A, 20 in the Central and Southern Serie A-B Championship, 3 in Coppa Italia, 2 in the Mitropa Cup, 1 in the Latin Cup and 5 in the 1945-46 Post Centre-South Championship) and scored 78 goals (75 in Serie A, 2 in the Central and Southern Serie A-B Championship, 2 in the Post Championship and one in Coppa Italia).


Born in Bientina on Christmas Day of 1920, he started playing football for Pontedera in 1940 in Serie C. He signed for Lazio in 1940. Small, tough and fast, it was his first time in a big city and did not play much in his first season. But Alexander Popovic, Lazio manager in the 1941-42 season, thought very highly of him and he was promoted to the first team.


His first spell at Lazio lasted until the outbreak of World War II when he left to be closer to his family. In Tuscany he played for Massese and Santacroce. He returned to Lazio in 1945 and stayed for 10 seasons. He was a leading figure in the Lazio squad, used as left winger but more often on the right. He was part of the team that reached fourth place three consecutive times between 1949-50 and 1951-52, and was skipper for a number of matches.


He was only 156 centimetres tall and weighed 56 kilos. A featherweight compared to today’s footballers. But he was physically strong and terribly fast, it was very difficult to take the ball off him. He was a leader, an ideal partner for Silvio Piola. He played 20 derbies, fourth Lazio player with most appearances against Roma behind Pino Wilson, Beppe Favalli and Paolo Negro.


He left Lazio in 1955 and played his last couple of professional years with Livorno. He later became manager for many Tuscan teams (Cascina, Siena, Empoli, Viareggio, Livorno and Cuoiopelli) though never in Serie A.


He died in Livorno on March 11 1994.


Aldo Puccinelli was a little giant, forever to be remembered in Lazio’s history.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Southern Serie A-B Championship

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

Latin Cup

Post Centre-South

1940-41

2

2

-

-

-

-

-

1941-42

23 (9)

23 (9)

-

-

-

-

-

1942-43

30 (3)

27 (2)

-

3 (1)

-

-

-

1945-46

25 (4)

-

20 (2)

-

-

-

5 (2)

1946-47

38 (13)

38 (13)

-

-

-

-

-

1947-48

34 (6)

34 (6)

-

-

-

-

-

1948-49

38 (8)

38 (8)

-

-

-

-

-

1949-50

34 (10)

34 (10

-

-

-

1

-

1950-51

38 (9)

38 (9)

-

-

2

-

-

1951-52

28 (9)

28 (9)

-

-

-

-

-

1952-53

31 (6)

31 (6)

-

-

-

-

-

1953-54

18 (3)

18 (3)

-

-

-

-

-

1954-55

8

8

-

-

-

-

-

Total

350 (80)

319 (75)

20 (2)

3 (1)

2

1

5 (2)

Sources


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