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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

January 18, 1987: Lazio Pisa 1-0

Updated: 5 days ago

Lightning start and then lots of suffering


The Biancocelesti scored early but were lucky to bring home the two points




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


There was new ownership. The Calleri brothers and Renato Bocchi had taken over from the disastrous Giorgio Chinaglia Presidency and then the possibly even worse Franco Chimenti brief regency, so everything was new. New manager, Eugenio Fascetti, new Sports Director, Franco Regalia, new players. There were many farewells and in particular the Biancocelesti said goodbye to Vincenzo D’Amico (Ternana), Arcadio Spinozzi (Reggina) and Oliviero Garlini who was a necessary sacrifice and sold to Inter.


The most important new players were Antonio Acerbis (Pescara), Angelo Gregucci and Giancarlo Camolese (Alessandria), Gabriele Pin (Juventus) plus Giuliano Terraneo (Milan).


There was a certain degree of optimism but any hope of promotion was shattered by the summer events.


On May 2, 1986, Armando Carbone, right hand man of Italo Allodi was arrested. Allodi was a well-known figure in Italian football and worked for a number of clubs, including Juventus and Inter. In 1986 he was working for Napoli. Carbone told the magistrates that there was a match fixing association with clubs at all levels involved. Numerous clubs were investigated: Bari, Napoli and Udinese in Serie A, many more in Serie B and C. Plus Lazio.


Why were Lazio involved? Carbone was a good friend of Claudio Vinazzani, a Lazio player. Vinazzani had played for Napoli for seven years before joining Lazio in 1983. He did like to bet but never on matches where he played.


In Italy one could not legally bet on the result of a single game or on the scores of multiple games. There was just the Totocalcio, where one had to guess the result of 13 games. There was however an illegal betting system called Totonero run by illegal bookmakers similar to how legal bets were organised in the UK. Lazio had already been involved in the 1980 scandal and, despite a total lack of proof or wrongdoing by the club itself, since four players had been involved, Lazio were relegated to Serie B.


If there was basically nothing in 1980, in this case there was even less. There was a telephone conversation between Carbone and Vinazzani where the former asked whether the Lazio player was interested in “buying” a Lazio win against Palermo. Vinazzani’s answer was vague and nothing happened. The vagueness in the response was an indication of Lazio’s guilt, according to the prosecution. For this Lazio were sentenced to relegation to Serie C on August 5.


A difficult summer for the Lazio fans, but a very difficult summer for the new owners, Calleri and Bocchi. “If Lazio go down to Serie C, what are we going to do?” they must have asked themselves. It would have been the end of Lazio; the new owners would probably have backed out. Lazio fans mobilised, there were demonstrations and protests. It was simply not possible to relegate Lazio for nothing.


The appeal started on August 21 with many Lazio fans outside the Hilton hotel in Rome waiting to see what would happen. Carboni should have testified but the court refused to have him present. The decision to be made therefore had to be based on the material provided in the first court case. Hence, the written declaration from Carboni saying that Lazio had nothing to do with the match fixing and that he never fixed a match for the Biancocelesti could not be used.


On August 27, Lazio had to play Napoli at the Olimpico for the Coppa Italia. Minutes before the match, the Italian State Television, RAI, announced that the sentence had been confirmed. An overzealous member of the court had leaked the news. This ultimately saved Lazio. The court could not confirm the previous sentence otherwise it would have lost face. In the end Lazio stayed in Serie B but with a docking of nine points. This was a very heavy burden with only two points for a victory, but it at least meant that the new owners could continue.


Fascetti told the players: “This is the situation. You can leave, and it would be perfectly normal if you did, or stay and fight. Decide”. All the players stayed.


The start of the season was terrible. Lazio drew the first game away at Parma but lost a home to Messina. This basically meant that the burden was as if it was -11.


After the catastrophic beginning Lazio started to win and reduce the handicap. After 8 games the Biancocelesti finally had a +1 in the table and were only two points from safety.


At the moment Lazio were 17th in relegation zone, two points away from Bari and Sambenedettese.


The match: Sunday, January 18, 1987, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


The game started slowly as the teams spent the first ten minutes studying their opponents. But in the 12th minute Antonio Acerbis got a ball on the right, went past a defender and put in a low cross that Paolo Mandelli was quick to volley in.


Three minutes later Pisa almost equalised. Paolo Giovannelli took a corner, Franco Isparo rose above the Lazio defenders and headed the ball towards the top corner. Domenico Caso managed to get there just in time. In the 28th minute Stefano Cuoghi dribbled past a number of Biancoceleste defenders, went past Giuliano Terraneo too and crossed into the centre but none of his teammates had followed the move. In the 39th minute Giorgio Magnocavallo found himself in front of Gian Paolo Grudina but sent the ball over the crossbar.


The second half followed the same pattern as the first, Pisa attacking and Lazio defending. In the 79th minute Mario Faccenda shot from outside the box, Terraneo managed to put a hand to the ball and send it onto the crossbar, Davide Pellegrini went for the rebound but his header hit the crossbar again, Paolo Faccini then tried a volley which Terraneo managed to catch. The last chance was again for Pisa with Pellegrini but the Lazio goalkeeper was unbeatable today.


Good win for Lazio, but a lucky one.


Who played for Lazio

 

Terraneo, Marino, Magnocavallo, Acerbis, Gregucci, Piscedda, A. Schillaci (65’ Camolese), Caso, Poli, Pin (68’ Filisetti), Mandelli

Substitutes: Ielpo, Brunetti, V. Esposito

Manager: Fascetti

 

Who played for Pisa


Grudina, Cavallo, Faccenda, F. Mariani, Ipsaro Passione (69' Faccini), Chiti, Cuoghi, Sclosa, Piovanelli (48' Cecconi), P. Giovannelli, D. Pellegrini.

Substitutes: Mannini, S.Gori, Bernazzani.

Manager: Simoni.

 

Referee: Lamorgese

 

Goal: 12’ Mandelli



What happened next


Towards May Lazio started to tire. Being under constant pressure was taking its toll. Four losses, two draws and just one win meant that with one match to go Cagliari were already in Serie C, Lazio and Taranto were on 31 points, Campobasso, Sambenedettese, Vicenza and Catania on 32. Last games of the season Bari-Sambenedettese, Messina-Campobasso, Taranto-Genoa, Cesena-Catania, Lazio-Vicenza. Even a win may not have been enough.


With seven minutes to go, it was still 0-0. 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.


Lazio 1986-87

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

40

15

14

11

36

Coppa Italia

7

2

3

2

8

Total

47

17

17

13

44

Top Five Appearances

Players

Total

Serie B

Serie B playoffs

Coppa Italia

Caso

47

38

2

7

Pin

45

38

2

5

Terraneo

45

38

2

5

Acerbis

44

37

2

5

Podavini

40

33

1

6

Top Five goal scorers

Players

Total

Serie B

Serie B playoffs

Coppa Italia

Fiorini

9

7

-

2

Mandelli

6

6

-

-

Poli

6

4

1

-

Podavini

5

3

-

2

Marino

3

3

-

-

Acerbis

3

2

-

1

Caso

3

3

-

-

Let's talk about Paolo Mandelli


Source Lazio Wiki

Paolo Mandelli was born in Milan on December 4, 1967. He started playing football in the youth sector of Inter and debuted in the Serie A on March 16, 1986, in Napoli-Inter. After a couple of games in Coppa Italia in 1986 he was loaned to Lazio. The Biancocelesti had promotion ambitions but were unjustly given a 9-point docking for the alleged involvement in the 1986 match fixing scandal of one of their players, Claudio Vinazzani. Despite the handicap, Mandelli stayed on.


It was a dramatic season as Lazio managed to avoid relegation with a Giuliano Fiorini goal with seven minutes left in the last game of the season. This win took the Biancocelesti to a playoff and a Fabio Poli goal secured another year in Serie B.


Paolo Mandelli had a very positive year with Lazio with 39 total appearances and six goals. But he went back to Inter at the end of the season. The Neroazzurri then sold him to Sambenedettese. Between 1987 and 1990 he changed teams three times: after San Benedetto del Tronto he went to Messina and Reggiana. In 1990 he signed for Monza where he stayed for 2 years before moving to Foggia. He was chosen personally by Zdenek Zeman for his famous 4-3-3 formation At Foggia he stayed four years with 92 league appearances and 7 goals.


In 1996 he moved to Modena and stayed five seasons with 139 appearances and 13 goals. His last two years of active football were with Sassuolo.


Mandelli also has two caps with the Serie B Under 21.


Once he stopped playing, Mandelli became a manager. He managed the Sassuolo Primavera team from 2003 to 2017 winning a Viareggio tournament in 2017. During his stint at Sassuolo he also managed the first team a few times: in 2011, substituting Angelo Gregucci for the last three games and in 2014 when he coached the team after Eusebio Di Francesco was fired and the club were deciding who to substitute him with. In 2017 he left the Primavera and took over the Under 16s.


Between 2018 and 2021 he was manager of the Chievo Verona Primavera team and in the 2021-22 season the Spal under 18s. He is currently head coach of the Modena Primavera team.


Paolo Mandelli stayed just a year in Rome but he left a lasting mark. Partnering with Giuliano Fiorini in attack he gave a good contribution to the Lazio cause and will always be remembered to for being part of the heroic -9 squad.

Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie B

Coppa Italia

1986-87

39 (6)

33 (6)

3

Sources




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