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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

January 2, 1938: Fiorentina Lazio 1-1

Good draw


Lazio take home a point after a difficult game in Florence






The previous season Lazio had arrived second just three points behind scudetto winners Bologna. They had played exceptionally well and if it was not for the numerous injuries, they may have even won the scudetto. Leaders after the first half of the season, the Biancocelesti then fell back but later recovered to clinch a historic second place.


The manager, Jozsef Viola, had obviously been confirmed and there were just a few movements in the summer transfer window. In came defender Maximiliano Faotto (Palermo) and forward Emilio Capri (Vicenza) and out went Luigi Uneddu (Vigevano) and Walter D’Odorico (Torino).


Before the beginning of the season, Lazio had to play the final of the Central European Cup (or Mitropa Cup). They had reached it after beating Hungaria (4-3 on aggregate) and Grasshoppers (8-4 in the two games) just before the summer. They did not play the semi-final since Genoa and Admira had been excluded. On September 12, 1937, they played Ferencváros in Budapest and lost 4-2. The refereeing had not been up to par. In the return game in Rome under belting rain Lazio had even managed to go 4-2 ahead but in the end collapsed after Silvio Piola had missed a penalty, and lost 5-4.


For the moment in campionato, Lazio were following in the footsteps of the previous season and were third together with Roma, one point behind Milan and three behind leaders Ambrosiana Inter. They had played well and lost just two matches (Inter at home and Napoli away) and had thrashed Torino 6-0 and Atalanta 4-0 in the last two games of December. Time to consolidate.


The match: Sunday, January 2, 1938, Stadio Giovanni Berta, Florence


Fiorentina started the game a lot better and in the first minutes had an opportunity to score with Alfonso Negro who actually scored in the 3rd minute but was in offside. Libero Marchini and Piola tried to trouble the Fiorentina defence but in the 19th minute Renzo Magli came to the rescue and cleared. A minute later, a Marchini free kick was only just wide. Fiorentina had a chance after a Geo Bortolini shot was parried by Giacomo Blason but Mario Mannelli was unable to tap the ball in.


In the 26th minute Fiorentina scored. Assist from Ugo Conti to Negro who dribbled past Benedicto Zacconi, and invited Blason to come out of his goal to face him. The Lazio goalkeeper did, but could not stop Negro from scoring. Fiorentina 1 Lazio 0.


The Biancocelesti reacted immediately with a Marchini shot that went wide and for the rest of the first half had a lot of good will but with little precision.


In the first two minutes of the second half, Piola had a shot saved into corner by Gino Baggiani who also saved a Giuseppe Viani header on the subsequent corner. Another Marchini free kick in the 49th minute was only slightly wide. The same happened with another free kick this time taken by Bruno Camolese. In the 73rd minute Lazio equalised. Piola to Marchini to Umberto Busani who attempted a shot from outside the box and scored. Fiorentina 1 Lazio 1.


Four minutes later the Viola almost went ahead again with Negro on a Conti cross but his volley went just wide. Then the Biancocelesti attacking duo Piola-Marchini had chances, but the latter shot wide and Piola had his attempt brilliantly saved by Baggiani.


The final minutes were all Fiorentina. In the 82nd minute Blason saved a free kick but no host player was ready for the tap in. In the 87th Zacconi risked an own goal but Blason saved into corner and a minute later a Giovanni Barberis’ shot went over the crossbar.


In the end a good draw for both teams.


Who played for Fiorentina

 

Baggiani, Gazzari, Magli, Traversa, Piccini, Tori, Mannelli, Bortolini, Negro, Barberis, Conti.

Manager: Baccani


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Viola


Referee: Barlassina


Goals: 26’ Negro, 73’ Busani


What happened next


In the second half of the season Lazio did not do as well. They lost to weaker teams (Bari 5-1 is a prime example) and could not keep up the pace of the first part of the year. In the end the Biancocelesti finished 8th with a lot of “what ifs”.


The players with most appearances were Monza, Busani and Viani (33) and the leading scorer was obviously the great Silvio Piola with 18 goals.


Lazio 1937-38

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

30

11

10

9

48

Coppa Italia

1

-

-

1

-

Total

31

11

10

10

48

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Busani

31

30

1

Monza

31

30

1

Viani

31

30

1

Piola

28

28

-

Camolese

27

26

1

Milano

27

26

1

Top five goal scorers

Player

Serie A

Piola

15

Busani

12

Camolese

6

Marchini

5

Riccardi

3

Let's talk about Luigi Milano 


Luigi Milano is second from left standing. Source Wikipedia

Luigi Milano was born in Alessandria on July 6, 1913. He began his career in his home town and played from 1932 to 1936, losing the Coppa Italia  final to Torino in his last year.


For the 1936-37 season Lazio had decided to invest heavily and signed three players from Alessandria: Umberto Busani, Giovanni Riccardi and Milano. He stayed four years in the capital and the Biancocelesti’s best result came in his first year with a second place. Lazio were top after the first half of the season but then lost ground in the second half, only to come back in the end and obtain a historic second place. The other seasons were not so good for the Biancocelesti (8th, 9th and 4th) but Milano gave an excellent contribution. In the end he made 119 appearances with one goal.


In 1940 he signed for Napoli and stayed for three years. Alas, in his second, Napoli were relegated so he played his final year in Serie B. After a brief parenthesis in 1944 playing for the wrong side of the Tiber, he went back to Naples in 1945 but made only one appearance. His last professional year was at Cesena where he was player manager.


Once he stopped playing, he was manager for a season at Ternana but then left football altogether.


Milano played four games with the Italy B team scoring one goal.


He died in Alessandria on November 12, 1990.


Milano was a great midfield player, able to read the game like no other. He was always in the right place at the right time, a rare quality.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

1936-37

33

29

-

4

1937-38

29 (1)

26 (1)

1

2

1938-39

27

25

2

-

1939-40

30

28

2

-

Total

119 (1)

108 (1)

5

6

Sources


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