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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

February 3, 1974: Lazio Vicenza 3-0

Updated: Feb 3

Lazio outclass Vicenza and keep dream alive


A 3-0 which does not tell the full extent of Lazio’s superiority




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


Lazio went close to the scudetto the year before and were in the race again this year.


The charismatic manager Tommaso Maestrelli was still on the bench. There had been no major changes to the squad. Lazio had received plenty of offers for their best players; Luciano Re Cecconi (Torino), Franco Nanni (Fiorentina and Juventus) and Giorgio Chinaglia (Milan, Juventus, Napoli and Inter). The president, Umberto Lenzini, however, managed to resist and keep them all.


There had only been some lesser deals; in Fausto Inselvini (Brescia) and defender Sergio Borgo (Pro Patria), out Giacomo La Rosa (Palermo), Andrea Chini (Cavese), Giambattista Moschino (retired).


So basically Lazio were giving the title another go with the same squad. The idea was that they had gone so close the previous season that this year with a little more experience they stood a realistic chance.


The pitch was so far proving them right. Lazio had won 10, drawn 3 and lost 2. They had beaten Roma 2-1 and only lost to Juventus and Torino. Lazio had 23 points, were top of the table and Chinaglia had scored 9 goals. A week earlier the Biancocelesti had demolished Bologna 4-0. The scudetto race was on, their main rivals being Juventus and Napoli (as the previous year).


L.R.Vicenza had finished 13th the previous season first under manager Gianni Seghedoni (former Lazio player - famous for a ghost goal) and then Héctor Puricelli. They had performed a Houdiniesque escape. Three matches from the end the Biancorossi were 5 points behind Atalanta third bottom. Vicenza then beat Verona, drew away at Roma and in the last game beat Atalanta away. Atalanta lost all three and went down, a miraculous turnaround of events for Vicenza.


This season the Uruguayan survival hero had been confirmed as manager. So far though Vicenza were having another difficult season. They lost the opening game 3-0 at home to Lazio and only won their first game at their eleventh attempt (Fiorentina 2-1). At this stage of the season they had won 1, drawn 7 and lost 7, so had 9 points. A week earlier, however, they had earned a good point away at Juventus (0-0).


Lazio if they wanted to continue chasing their dream were expected to get the two points today.


The match: Sunday, February 3, 1974, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


It was a grey, rainy day in Rome and the match was played on a heavy, muddy pitch in front of a 30,000 crowd.


The pattern of the game was clear right from the kick-off, Lazio attacking and Vicenza on the back foot.


Lazio had their first chance after only two minutes when a Chinaglia solo run and shot was well saved by Bardin. A few minutes later a Sergio Petrelli shot from about 20 metres out shaved the post. Lazio's pressure continued and they were rewarded in the 10th minute. Renzo Garlaschelli won a challenge with a defender and beat the keeper. Lazio 1 Vicenza 0.


On the waves of enthusiasm Lazio started to play even better and had more chances. Chinaglia in particular went extremely close on several occasions.


Vicenza did very occasionally venture out of their half and Felice Pulici had to dive acrobatically to stop a Giorgio Bernardis effort from going into the top hand corner. From then on however it was again one-way traffic. Lazio piled forward, a Chinaglia freekick almost doubling their lead.

At half time Lazio still only led by the single goal, as they had been wasteful of their several chances.


The second half saw no change and in the early stages Chinaglia had a header parried off the goal line and onto the post by Adriano Bardin. In the 61st minute Vicenza were reduced to ten men as Alessandro Vitali was sent off for dissent after Lazio were awarded a penalty (Mario Perego foul on Garlaschelli). Vitali can't have minced his words as he was subsequently banned for eight matches, then cut to six.


So in the 62nd minute a penalty for Lazio. Chinaglia stepped up and the keeper saved it but the referee had seen something irregular in the build up and ordered for a repetition of the kick. Chinaglia again took on the responsibility but again had his shot saved.


Despite this set back Lazio were still well in control and after all were 1-0 up against 10 men. The Biancocelesti finally managed to double their lead in the 69th minute. A Vincenzo D'Amico cross was met by Chinaglia who shot and, helped by a deflection, beat Bardin. A little lucky but well deserved.


Vicenza to be fair had more chances in 10 men than in the first half and Pulici was kept on his toes with shots by Bernardis, Giuseppe Longoni, Luciano Speggiorin and Perego.


It was however Lazio who went closer and a goal by Chinaglia was disallowed for offside and another Long John effort was cleared off the line but the third goal was on its way.


Ten minutes from time, on a rebound after a Fausto Inselvini post, Chinaglia hammered in a powerful low shot to put Vicenza out of their misery. Nanni then had a goal disallowed for offside and Lazio were denied a clear penalty five minutes from time but the match was already dead and buried.


A convincing win for the Biancocelesti who had outclassed Vicenza and could have scored several more goals.


Lazio had put on a good collective effort and played at a high tempo despite the heavy pitch. They certainly did no harm to their title credentials and had pundits starting to think they maybe had a realistic chance of breaking the northern dominance.


The table was looking healthy; Lazio 25, Napoli 22, Juventus and Fiorentina 21.


Who played for Lazio


Subs: Moriggi, Polentes, Franzoni

Manager: Maestrelli


Who played for Vicenza


Bardin, Volpato, Longoni, Gorin (46' Fontana), Perego, Berni, Damiani, Bernardis, Vitali, Faloppa, Speggiorin (II)

Subs: Sulfaro, Berti

Manager: Puricelli


Referee: Branzoni


Goals: 10' Garlaschelli, 69' Berni (o.g), 80' Chinaglia




What happened next


Lazio would go on to win their first historic league title. On the 12th May 1974 Lazio were proclaimed Campioni d'Italia!


A week after today's match they lost 1-0 away to Sampdoria but two weeks later came the crunch game at home to Juventus. It ended in a 3-1 triumph for Lazio (Garlaschelli and twice Chinaglia) and this was a first definite turning point of the season.


On March 31 Lazio also won the return derby, coming from behind to beat Roma 2-1 (Chinaglia, D'Amico).


Another key win came in a home game against Verona on April 14 when, 2-1 down at halftime, Lazio stayed on the pitch waiting eagerly for the second half and ended up 4-2 winners. With five games to go Lazio had a four-point lead on Juventus.


Lazio then earned a good away point against Milan and beat Genoa at home 1-0 with a Garlaschelli winner.


Despite losing to Torino on May 5 (only team to beat Lazio twice that season) a week later, on May 12, Lazio came into the penultimate game of the season knowing a win would give them the scudetto.


The opponents were Foggia, Maestrelli's former team, who were desperately battling against relegation. Fans started arriving at the stadium at 6 o'clock in the morning and the gates were opened at 8.45. The hills above the stadium were also packed as, before the roof was added for the Italia '90 world cup, it was possible to follow the game up on Monte Mario near the "Madonnina". It was obviously a sell out but many fans also managed to get in for free, swelling the crowd to explosive levels.


It was a tough game with Lazio playing the last half hour with ten men (Garlaschelli sent off) and Luigi Martini out injured but Lazio got the all-important goal with a Chinaglia penalty in the 60th minute. Foggia threw everyone forward but a tired and comprehensively tense Lazio managed to resist the Satanelli's assaults. On a glorious 1974 May day in Rome the Biancocelesti founded in 1900 were finally Italian Champions!


Maestrelli's crazy gang had done it. A team divided in clans during the week but masterfully brought together by the "Maestro" on match days. They played an entertaining brand of football based on the new Dutch philosophy and thoroughly deserved the title. Like Bologna, Fiorentina and Cagliari before them they had broken the monopoly of the big three (Juve, Milan and Inter). Top scorer had been charismatic Long John Chinaglia with 34 goals in total (24 in Serie A).


Lazio however would never get to take part in the European Cup a year later. After trouble on the pitch and off it, in a UEFA Cup return match against Ipswich Town, Lazio had been banned from all European competitions for three years, then reduced to one. Lazio players and fans had lost their heads with on field scuffles with opponents and referee and crowd trouble, things had got completely out of hand. In Lazio's and its fans defence they had witnessed one of the most scandalous refereeing performances in the history of football by a certain Van der Kraft from Holland (see an English defender saving the ball with his hands on the goal line for an unawarded penalty as just one example of the Dutchman's exploits). The punishment was inevitable but it was a pity Lazio were not able to participate in a tournament they had so deserved to be in.


The scudetto celebrations however went on in Rome and the region for months and were enough to help forget the European disappointment. SS. Lazio were Champions of Italy!


Vicenza improved considerably in the second half of the season. Vitali's sending off in Rome and subsequent long suspension was a blessing in disguise and prompted manager Puricelli to move Angelo Sormani from the wing to centre-forward and things changed for the better.


A week later Vicenza beat Bologna 2-1 and over the rest of the season beat Milan away and Inter and Napoli at home. They ended up comfortably in 12th position after 7 wins, 12 draws and 11 defeats. Their top scorers were Oscar Damiani and Sormani on 5 goals. The three relegated teams would be Verona, Genoa and Foggia.


Lazio 1973-74

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

18

7

5

45

Coppa Italia

10

3

3

4

10

UEFA Cup

4

2

-

2

8

Total

44

23

10

11

63

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Chinaglia

42

30

8

4

Nanni

42

30

8

4

Oddi

42

30

8

4

Wilson

42

30

8

4

Frustalupi

40

30

6

4

Top five goalscorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Chinaglia

34

24

4

6

Garlaschelli

14

10

2

2

Nanni

2

2

-

-

D'Amico

2

2

-

-

Re Cecconi

2

2

-

-

Let's talk about Renzo Garlaschelli


Source Wikipedia

Renzo Garlaschelli was born on March 29, 1950, in Vidigulfo, half way between Pavia and Milan. It is a small village of 3,000 souls, often covered in thick fog, where they live growing rice, maize or grazing cows. A land of farmers, the alternative being to move towards Milan to a factory, which is what Garlaschelli's father did, finding work in a paper mill.


Renzo Garlaschelli started playing for his home village team before joining Sant'Angelo Lodigiano in Serie D, where he played 32 games and scored 6 goals. At 18, like all boys of his age, he was called up for the year of compulsory military service. He was terrified of being sent far from home, especially down South, so luckily for him the option of joining Como in Serie B came up, enabling him to get off doing a lighter stint in the army not far from home. At Como he played for 3 years making 72 appearances, scoring 6 goals and narrowly missing out on promotion in 1971-72.


In the summer of 1972, while on holiday at the sea, he received a call from Como informing him he was to be sold to Brindisi, in Puglia. Garlaschelli's reaction was to refuse, saying he would rather retire than be sent to play in the deep South. It was only at this point that the director told him it was all a joke, and that in reality he had been sold to Lazio in Serie A, and was now heading for the capital.


Prior to his definite move to Rome, he met Lazio manager Tommaso Maestrelli and club director Antonio Sbardella, who both warned young Renzo of the “temptations and distractions” Rome could bring. It was all in vain however. In the capital Garlaschelli would live the good life, especially at night… He became known as the Dandy, a snappy dresser, a regular face in the nightclubs and definitely a ladies man. He would later claim that in the 10 years he lived in Rome he never once had an evening meal at home. Despite his lifestyle however, he trained hard and Maestrelli turned a blind eye on his nocturnal off- pitch antics as long as he performed well on it. In fact, he proved to be an ideal attacking partner for “Long John” Giorgio Chinaglia, the Lazio centre-forward. A larger than life character, Chinaglia, brought up in South Wales, gave Renzo one piece of advice, “Garla, give me the ball and I'll score”.


Garlaschelli's early years at Lazio were a great success. He was an attacking winger with great speed, agility, dribbling skills and had a good cross. He soon became a permanent first XI choice. In the 1972-73 season he only missed one match, scoring 7 goals with Lazio going very close to winning the title.


In 1973-74 he did even better, again only missing one match (the last against Bologna), scoring 10 goals. In the penultimate and decisive game of the season Lazio were one win away from the scudetto and played Foggia - who were desperately battling against relegation - at the Olimpico. It was Garlaschelli who procured the penalty, which Chinaglia scored to put Lazio 1-0 up. The Foggia players then targeted Garlaschelli, who eventually retaliated and got himself sent off. With 10 men and with Gigi Martini stoically playing on with a broken shoulder, Lazio managed to cling on and conquer their first historic league title. In the post-match celebrations Maestrelli hugged Garlaschelli warmly, but added "Garla, you got off lightly today".


After the glory years of the scudetto, luck turned its back on Lazio. Manager and father figure Tommaso Maestrelli became ill and died in 1976. Midfield dynamo Luciano Re Cecconi was killed in a prank, which tragically ended with him being shot dead. In the meantime, midfield playmaker Mario Frustalupi (the wonderfully named "Wolfwhipper" or "Wolfthrasher") and central defender Giancarlo Oddi had been sold to Cesena in 1975. A year later in the spring of 1976, star goal scorer and charismatic leader Chinaglia, with his American wife, left to play for New York Cosmos.


Garlaschelli stayed however, alongside captain Pino Wilson and Vincenzo D'Amico. He stayed on but the 1981-82 was to be his last for Lazio after a dismal 11th place in Serie B (Lazio had been relegated due to the betting Scandal of 1980). He played 279 times for Lazio (199 in Serie A, 29 in Serie B, 38 in Coppa Italia, 10 in the UEFA Cup and 3 in the Intertoto Cup), scoring 67 goals (49 in Serie A, 2 in Serie B, 9 in Coppa Italia, 4 in the UEFA Cup and 3 in the Intertoto Cup).


After Lazio, despite some offers from medium level teams, he decided to return home to Pavia in C2. He went back to his family home and played 2 more years (46 appearances and 11 goals). Pavia was promoted to Serie C1 in Garlaschelli’s last professional season.


He then retired and, after his parents passed away, sold his family home and bought a smaller one with his sister. For many years he completely cut himself off from football. He spent his days playing cards in his village, cycling and reading. A far cry from his lively and eventful Roman days.


Today Garlaschelli still lives his quiet life in the provinces, but he has rekindled an interest in football and especially Lazio. He now collaborates daily as a pundit with a Roman radio station that talks exclusively about Lazio, the highlight of his career and life.


Garlaschelli is probably one of the best Lazio players never to have played for Italy, but he certainly played a major role in the 1973-74 league triumph. His ability to open up space and to play for Chinaglia was fundamental but he also contributed with 10 goals of his own. He will always be remembered as part of that unrivalled and magical team whose line-up any self-respecting laziale can reel off in their sleep!


Appearances and goals for Lazio


Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Intertoto Cup

1972-73

33 (7)

29 (7)

-

4

-

-

1973-74

38 (14)

29 (10)

-

5 (2)

4 (2)

-

1974-75

26 (6)

23 (6)

-

3

-

-

1975-76

36 (9)

29 (7)

-

5 (2)

2

-

1976-77

27 (5)

23 (5)

-

4

-

-

1977-78

35 (12)

26 (7)

-

2

4 (2)

3 (3)

1978-79

23 (5)

17 (5)

-

6

-

-

1979-80

27 (5)

23 (2)

-

4 (3)

-

-

1980-81

31 (4)

-

26 (2)

5 (2)

-

-

1981-82

3

-

3

-

-

-

Total

279 (67)

199 (49)

29 (2)

38 (9)

10 (4)

3 (3)

Sources




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