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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

February 29, 1956: Atalanta Lazio 1-1

Lazio survive Bergamo siege

Despite having to defend for most of the match, Lazio clinch precious point with a Bettini goal

Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far

The previous season Lazio had finished 12th. The manager had initially been Federico Allasio but he was replaced by George Raynor after seven games, with Roberto Copernico as technical director. A few good wins against Inter, Juventus and Roma but a mediocre season all in all.


This season to start the manager had been Luigi Ferrero but he was replaced by Jesse Carver after 14 games. Lazio had invested pretty heavily in the transfer market for their standards. Arriving were keeper Bob Lovati (Torino-end of loan), defenders Nicola Lo Buono (Trani) and Giovanni Molino (Torino), midfielders Franco Carradori (Palermo) and Angelo Villa (Atalanta), forwards Lorenzo Bettini (Udinese), Ermes Muccinelli (Juventus) and Arne Selmosson (Udinese). The attack in particular had been strengthened.


Leaving were defenders Zeffiro Furiassi (Foligno) and Stefano Malacarne (Foligno), midfielders Carlo Parolo (retiring but staying on as reserve team manager), Romolo Alzani (Foligno), Vittorio Bergamo (Palermo), Per Bredesen (Udinese), Sigvard Löfgren (SPAL) plus forwards Alberto Fontanesi (Udinese), John Hansen (Frem) and Aldo Puccinelli (Livorno, after 78 goals for Lazio).


So quite a lot of changes in Lazio's squad.


So far things were not going a lot better. The Biancocelesti were in joint 13th place with Padova, Novara and Triestina. They were on 18 points, only four above Bologna in 17th in the second relegation slot. Lazio however had a game in hand, today's game against Atalanta. Lazio had won 6 (including Inter 3-2 away), drawn 6 (including derby 0-0 and Atalanta 2-2) and lost 7. A few days earlier Lazio had drawn 1-1 at home to Triestina. Top scorer so far was Bettini with 10 goals while Selmosson had 4.


Atalanta had finished 15th the previous season under Luigi Bonizzoni. The Bergamaschi had won one and lost one against Lazio. Top scorer was Dane, Poul Rasmussen with 16 league goals.


This season Bonizzoni was still in charge and the Orobici had a pretty much unchanged squad. They had two future Lazio connections, forward Orlando Rozzoni (Lazio 1959-61, 62-64, 65-66) and Giulio Corsini (Lazio manager briefly in 1975).


So far, Atalanta were in joint 10th place with Napoli, on 19 points. They had started in style beating Milan 4-3 at home and since then had won 8 (including Inter 2-1 away), drawn 1 (Lazio 2-2 away) and lost 9. In the previous game the Nerazzurri had beaten Torino 3-1 away. Top scorer was Adriano Bassetto with 12 goals while Rasmussen had 4.


A balanced game was expected today between two sides trying to avoid getting too deeply involved in the relegation battle.


The match: Wednesday, February 29, 1956, Stadio Mario Brumana, Bergamo

The game was originally scheduled for February 19, but was postponed due to snow. It was therefore being played today, midweek on February 29.


Fortunately, it was sunny in Bergamo, even if the pitch was a bit slippery. The working day afternoon kick-off meant there was only a 6,000 crowd.


Atalanta took control from the word go and went on the attack. Lazio were forced on the defensive with the wingers Ermes Muccinelli and Renzo Burini often having to drop back deep and help out.


In the 4th minute Carlo Annovazzi tested Bob Lovati out with a powerful low shot but Bob was safe.


In the 14th minute Adriano Bassetto, after combining with Ennio Lenuzza, let off a shot which the referee claimed Giovanni Di Veroli then touched with his hands and awarded a penalty. It was a controversial decision but Bassetto put away the spot kick to Lovati's left and the Bergamaschi were ahead. Atalanta 1 Lazio 0.


Despite the home side showing no signs of relenting, four minutes later Lazio equalised. It was a great move too. Muccinelli skipped past two opponents on the right and passed to Burini who in turn set up Bettini who bicycle kicked the ball into the back of the net. A great goal, Atalanta 1 Lazio 1.


Atalanta continued to have territorial control and superior ball possession and pushed forward. Lazio’s defence however was solid and Lovati always ready. Halftime Atalanta 1 Lazio 1.


The second 45 minutes were similar to the first but without any goals. Atalanta put Lazio under siege for prolonged periods and after two more penalty appeals for fouls on Bassetto went extremely close to a winner.


In the 77th minute Orlando Rozzoni seemed to have beaten Lovati but his thundering strike came back off the post.


Lazio then survived the last ten minutes in the trenches and were relieved to hear the final whistle. Atalanta 1 Lazio 1.


A hard-fought game by Lazio who had defended well and brought a precious point back to Rome. In fairness, the Orobici hosts had deserved more and were a touch unlucky with their attempt hitting the woodwork towards the end.


A point each though and a useful one. Lazio went up to 19 points with Napoli, five points above Bologna while Atalanta pushed up to joint 9th place in the company of Roma on 20 points, only three from 3rd placed Inter.


Who played for Atalanta

Galbiati, Catozzo, Corsini, Angeleri, Zannier, Vittoni, Lenuzza, Annovazzi, Rozzoni, Bassetto, Sabbatella

Manager: Bonizzoni


Who played for Lazio

Manager: Carver


Referee: Rigato

Goals: 15' Bassetto (pen), 18' Bettini


What happened next

Lazio improved considerably and finished joint 3rd with Inter. The next match they drew 1-1 away at Sampdoria and then triumphed 1-0 in the derby with a Muccinelli goal. In the next 12 games they then won 7 (including Juventus 2-0 at home and Milan 3-2 away), drew 3 and lost 2. Top scorer was Bettini with 12 while Selmosson and Muccinelli got 10 each. An excellent season after a difficult start.


Atalanta finished 15th. The Orobici drew the next three games and went unbeaten until April 15. They ended the season with 11 wins, 9 draws and 14 defeats, five points above the drop zone. Top scorer was Bassetto with 18.


The Scudetto was won by Fiorentina for their first historic title. The manager was former Lazio player and future manager, Fulvio Bernardini and the squad included future Lazio, Claudio Bizzarri (1958-63) and Maurilio Prini (1958-62). The two clubs leaving the big time were Pro Patria and Novara.

Lazio 1955-56





Goals scored

Serie A






Top five appearances


Serie A











Top five goal scorers


Serie A











Let's talk about Renzo Sassi

Source Lazio Wiki

Renzo Sassi was born in Parma, on February 9, 1929.


His formative footballing years were spent in the Parma youth teams.


In 1948 he joined the first team squad. The Ducali were in Serie B, got through six managers and were relegated. Sassi played one league game.


In 1949-50 he played more regularly under manager Carlo Rigotti and made 27 league appearances. Parma finished 2nd narrowly missing out on promotion.


The following season, under Giovanni Mazzoni and then Alfredo Mattioli, Parma finished 3rd. Sassi played 32 league games and scored his first goal (Cesena).


In 1951-52 the Gialloblu again finished 2nd, this time under Paolo Tabanelli. Sassi played 29 league games and scored 2 goals (Marzoli Palazzolo, Edera Trieste).


In 1952 he left Parma and joined Legnano in Serie B. The "Lilla" (Lilacs) had a great season under Ugo Innocenti and were promoted to Serie A. Sassi was a protagonist and played 34 league games with 4 goals (Fanfulla, Marzotto Valdagno, Genoa, Fanfulla again, all penalties).


In Serie A in 1953-54 the manager was Giuseppe Galluzzi and the Lombards were relegated. Sassi played 29 league games and scored 6 goals (Palermo, Triestina, Genoa, Novara, Sampdoria, Torino, all penalties).


In 1954 he joined Lazio in Serie A. The manager was first Federico Allasio and then George Raynor. It was a mediocre season and Lazio finished 12th despite beating Inter, Juventus and Roma. Sassi played 26 league games with 1 goal (Triestina).


The following year the manager was first Luigi Ferrero and then Jesse Carver. After a slow start Lazio picked up and finished an excellent 3rd. The Biancocelesti beat Juventus, Inter, Milan and won another derby (the other was a draw). Sassi played 16 league games. He sometimes played in the reserve league and Lazio won the league title.


In 1956 Sassi moved up north and joined newly promoted Udinese. He stayed six seasons and the Zebrette finished 4th, 9th, 15th, 15th, 15th and 18th (relegated). His managers were former Lazio Giuseppe Bigogno (1951-53) for the first two years, Luigi Miconi and then Severino Feruglio in the third, Feruglio in the fourth, Bigogno again in the fifth and in his last Luigi Bonizzoni, Sergio Manente and finally, former Lazio player Alfredo Foni (1929-31). In his time in Friuli, Sassi played 147 league games and scored 5 goals. His teammates over the six seasons included Lazio connections; Alberto Fontanesi (1953-55), Lorenzo Bettini (1955-57), Primo Sentimenti (1950-57), Massimo Giacomini (1963-64), Dino Zoff (Manager 1990-94, 1997, 2001), Arne Selmosson (1955-58) and Orlando Rozzoni (1959 -61, 62-64, 65-66).


In 1962 Sassi returned home to Parma in Serie B. The manager was first Mario Genta and then Ugo Canforini and the Crociati finished 13th. Sassi played 21 league games.  He again played alongside future Lazio defender Primo Sentimenti V (1950-57).


In 1963-64 Sassi played his last season. Parma finished 13th under three different managers: Canforini, Bruno Dazzi and finally Arnaldo Sentimenti. Sassi only played 7 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia.


At 35 he retired.


He reappeared four years later as manager of Puteolana (Pozzuoli-Naples) in Serie D but Red Devils were relegated.


He then had seasons at VJS Velletri (near Rome) in Serie D in 1970-71, Trapani in Serie C in 1974-75, Monteponi Iglesias in serie D in 1979-80, Colleferro (near Rome) in 5th tier in 1982-83 and Crotone in the 5th tier in 1985-86.


Sassi was a midfielder. He had a good career playing 218 games in Serie A, with 23 goals, and 62 games in Serie B, with 4 goals. He won a promotion with Legnano and then played eight consecutive years in Serie A with Lazio and Udinese.


At Lazio he played 42 games in Serie A. The Biancocelesti won two derbies and drew two, beat Juventus twice, Inter twice and Milan. In his second season Lazio achieved a prestigious 3rd place.


Renzo Sassi died in Rome on April 3, 2018.

Lazio career


Total Appearances Serie A

Goals Serie A












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