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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

January 19, 1969: Lazio Modena 2-1

Updated: Jan 19

Lazio silence Canaries with late Mazzola goal


Lazio came from behind and beat Modena with a late winner to keep on track for promotion




Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The 1967-68 season had seen Lazio come in 11th in Serie B. The manager Renato Gei had been replaced by former goalkeeper Roberto Lovati in February. They had a good home record but didn't win even once away and had the least prolific attack of the league.


This year Argentine Juan Carlos Lorenzo was in charge but as he wasn't in possession of the suitable documentation (Italian passport), he was officially called D.T (Technical Director) and on match days it was Bob Lovati who sat on the bench.

The main changes to the squad were the arrival of defenders Mario Facco (Inter) and Guido Onor (Juventus), midfielder Ferruccio Mazzola (Inter) and striker Gian Piero Ghio (Avellino). Leaving Lazio were goalkeeper Idilio Cei (Palermo), defenders Pierluigi Ronzon (retiring) and Alberto Mari (Sambenedettese).


Lazio were considered one of the favourites for promotion but the start had been slightly hesitant with 4 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses (Livorno and Ternana, both away). They had then picked up slightly and came into today's game on 19 points after 6 wins, 7 draws and still 2 defeats. The last 3 games however had all been draws. A win was needed to boost promotion hopes especially against struggling Modena.


Modena were having a poor run. After 14 games they sacked Hungarian manager László Székely and replaced him with Vittorio Malagoli. So far, the "Canarini" had won 2, drawn 7 and lost 6, giving them a meagre 11 points. They had also only scored 6 goals in 15 matches.


This was a must win game for Lazio.


The match: Sunday, January 19, 1969, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A crowd of about 22000 turned up on a freezing day with "tramontana" winds blowing.


Lazio had a few injury problems but were expected to beat the bottom of the table visitors.


The game started and it soon became clear Modena would be no pushovers. They were determined, well organised and had some talented players, in particular South-Americans Ruben Merighi and Jorge Toro. Lazio's game was further complicated by an injury to goalkeeper Rosario Di Vincenzo, who in the 20th minute had to be replaced by Pietro Fioravanti.


Lazio's first chance fell to Mazzola, after an assist by Giuseppe Massa, he had only the keeper to beat but he hesitated and lost the moment. In the 34th minute the "Gialloblu" from Emilia answered with a Braglia shot just wide.


In the 36th minute Lazio lost another player to injury. Carlo Soldo, who had been in doubt before the game, hobbled off with a muscular problem. The manager Lorenzo moved Nello Governato to centre-back and brought Giancarlo Morrone onto the field. Half time Lazio 0 Modena 0.


Lazio were finding it far more difficult than predicted to break down a well set out and fighting Modena team.


With the "Gaucho" Morrone leading the way, Lazio came out to the second half a lot more spirited. A Piero Cucchi assist put Ghio one to one with the keeper but his shot incredibly went wide.


Just when Lazio seemed to be in control and were pushing with more insistence, Modena scored. Sergio Codognato tried his luck from about 25 metres out and Fioravanti parried it with his fists into the middle of the area where Giovanni Console was the quickest to the ball, controlled it and scored.


"Una doccia fredda", as they say in Italy, for Lazio, literally a cold shower. Fortunately for the Biancocelesti the shock only lasted four minutes. In the 62nd minute Rino Marchesi fed Cucchi who put in a good cross which Massa headed over the keeper and into the net.


The equaliser galvanised Lazio who surged forward and had several clear chances. Santino Ciceri was suddenly constantly busy with several saves and then a Mario Facco header touched the top of the crossbar. Ghio was unlucky a couple of times and several scrambles saw Modena being let off.


Modena almost stole it themselves when a Toro corner landed on the crossbar. The decisive goal however came Lazio’s way, with only three minutes remaining. From a corner Giuliano Fortunato defended the ball well and played the ball back to Mazzola, who didn't think twice and hammered a mid-height shot past Ciceri. There was no time for Modena to come back, final score Lazio 2 Modena 1.


A hard fought but deserved win for Lazio. The Biancocelesti had shown character and had never given up believing they could get a winner. Despite injuries and falling behind they had carved out a victory.


A precious two points for Lazio who maintained their second place in the table behind leaders Brescia.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Lovati

D.T: Lorenzo


Who played for Modena


Ciceri, Vellani, D.Landini, Codognato, Borsari, Barucco, Oltramari (69' Marcioni), Toro, Braglia, Merighi, Console

Substitutes: A. Colombo

Manager: Malagoli


Referee: Bianchi


Goals: 58' Console, 62' Massa, 87' Mazzola II


What happened next


Lazio confirmed their ambitions and won promotion back to Serie A with 17 victories,16 draws and 5 defeats. They topped the league with 50 points, ahead of Brescia and Bari. From February 23 to June 22 they only lost once. Their top scorer would be Ghio with 10 goals but another 12 players would also find the net at least once and Lazio finished with the best attack with 55 goals.


All in all, a triumphant return to Serie A for the historic first team of the Italian capital.


Modena continued to struggle but they battled on and eventually managed to stay up. They changed managers again after 26 matches to Armando Cavazzuti and the "Canarini" won 5 out of the last 12 games, plus 3 draws (including Lazio 1-1). They arrived 17th after 9 wins, 14 draws and 15 defeats, one point above third bottom SPAL. Their top scorer was Merighi with 7 goals. The other two sinking to Serie C were Lecco and Padova.


Lazio 1968-69

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

38

17

16

5

55

Coppa Italia

3

-

2

1

2

Total

41

17

18

5

57

Top Five Appearances

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Ghio

40

37

3

40

37

3

Soldo

39

36

3

38

38

-

Fortunato

37

35

-2

Top Five Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Ghio

11

10

1

8

8

-

Fortunato

8

8

-

Massa

7

6

1

Morrone

6

6

-

Let's talk about Diego Zanetti


Source Wikipedia

Diego Zanetti was born in Invorio (Novara), on 22 January, 1939.


He started his football with local club Gozzano and then Novara. He then made his debut for Novara, in Serie B, in 1959. He played two seasons for the" Gaudenziani" (The Gaudentians), making 44 appearances with 2 goals.


In 1961 he arrived at Lazio. His first two seasons in the capital were spent in Serie B and he played regularly under several managers, including Bob Lovati of course: 38 and 39 appearances. Lazio went close to Serie A in 1962 but were successful the following year under Lovati/Lorenzo.


After the promotion of 1963 he played his first year in Serie A with 30 games and 1 goal (Bari). Lazio had a good season and finished 8th. They drew both derbies and beat Milan and Juventus away from home.


In 1964-65 Lazio did not do as well and came 14th under Umberto Mannocci. Zanetti however was consistent and played 32 games plus 2 in Coppa Italia. Both derbies were drawn 0-0.


The following year things went slightly better and Lazio came 12th again under Mannocci. Zanetti played every single league game (34) plus 2 in Coppa Italia. The highlight of the season was "probably" beating Roma 1-0 (the second derby ended 0-0).


In 1966-67 unfortunately Lazio were relegated with a 15th place finish under Mannucci and from November Maino Neri. Zanetti due to injury played less, 17 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia.


In Serie B in 1967-68 Lazio had a disappointing season under Renato Gei and then, from February after 24 games, with Bob Lovati. The Biancocelesti finished 11th and Zanetti played 31 games and scored 1 goal (Modena).


The 1968-69 season would be Zanetti's last in the capital but he ended in style. Lazio won the Serie B championship and were promoted back to the top flight, under Lorenzo/Lovati. In his last year Zanetti was as regular as ever and played 31 league games.


In the summer of 1969 he joined L.R. Vicenza in Serie A but only played 5 league games.


After only a year he joined Borgomanero nearer to home, in Serie D. He stayed two seasons as player-manager playing 54 games.


At the end of the 1972 season he retired at the age of 33.


After hanging up his boots he spent some years as a manager in the lower divisions in Piedmont. From Borgomanero he stayed in his home region and had experiences at Omegna (two spells), Arona and Juventus Duomo. Today he runs a bar/ tobacconist in Novara.


Diego Zanetti was a pillar of 1960's Lazio. He played 258 games over 8 seasons. He was a strong, physical full-back and in his number 2 jersey held his own against all forwards. He was humble and dedicated, spending hours improving his control and left foot against the wall. He was a reserved character but was a popular, reliable and ever-present player in 1960's Lazio history.


Total appearances and goals for Lazio

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

1961-62

38

-

35

3

-

1962-63

39

-

38

1

-

1963-64

31 (1)

30 (1)

-

1

-

1964-65

34

32

-

2

-

1965-66

35

34

-

1

-

1966-67

21

17

-

2

2

1967-68

31 (1)

-

31 (1)

-

-

1968-69

31

-

31

-

-

Total

260 (2)

113 (1)

135 (1)

10

2

Sources


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