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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

January 20, 1952: Lazio Fiorentina 1-0

Updated: Jan 20

A Sükrü Turkish delight gets the better of La Viola

A free kick by Sükrü after fifteen minutes and a solid defence give Lazio a precious victory

The season so far

The previous season Lazio had finished an excellent 4th under manager Mario Sperone. The Biancocelesti had won both derbies and Roma had been relegated to Serie B, the first Roman club to do so.

This season Lazio had a new manager in Giuseppe Bigogno. There had also been several changes to the squad. Three new midfielders had arrived; Luigi Fuin (Palermo), Ragnar Nikolay Larsen (Sandaker), Sigvard Löfgren (Helsingborg), plus two forwards, Lelio Antoniotti (Pro Patria) and Armando Macci (Reggiana).

Leaving Lazio were goalkeeper Aldo De Fuzio (Lucchese), midfielder Flavio Cecconi (Napoli) and two forwards, Dionisio Arce (Napoli) and previous year's top scorer Norberto Hofling (Pro Patria).

The first game of the season had been a disastrous 4-0 defeat at Sampdoria but Lazio had since picked up. They had 20 points after 8 wins, 4 draws and 5 defeats. A week earlier they had well beaten Spal 4-1. Top scorer was Turkish Sükrü with 9 goals.

Fiorentina came from a positive 5th place the previous season under manager Luigi Ferrero. He had been confirmed but then replaced with Renzo Magli on November 16. "La Viola" made a slow start to the season with two points in the first four games but had improved. They had 16 points after 5 wins, 6 draws and 6 defeats. A week earlier they had lost 2-1 in Naples. Top scorers were the trio of Dan Ekner, André Rosenburg and Egisto Pandolfini on 4 goals each.

Last season the two teams had won a game each and today too promised to be an evenly matched affair.

The match: Sunday, January 20, 1952, Stadio Torino, Rome

It was a cold but sunny January day in Rome with a crowd of 25,000.

Lazio appeared in difficulty right from the start. Fiorentina controlled the midfield and Lazio only occasionally got out of their own half. In one of these, however, came the decisive moment of the match.

In the 15th minute Vittorio Sentimenti III was fouled clearly inside the area by Sergio Cervato but the referee pointed to the edge of the box for a free kick. There was not any ensuing controversy as Lazio then scored. Turkish striker Sükrü Gülesin curled a magnificent free kick over the wall and into the right-hand corner. The keeper Leonardo Costagliola did not move and his positioning could certainly have been better. Lazio 1 Fiorentina 0.

Fiorentina continued to attack, but their pressure seemed to fade once they got near goal. Their defence and midfield showed quality and quantity but once the moves arrived to the forwards they slowed down and were wasted. It was Lazio, despite long periods in defence, who had the better chances with a Larsen volley (20'), two more shots by the Norwegian (24', 38') and two more wide by Sükrü. Almost all the Lazio initiatives were started by a brilliant Antoniotti. Half time Lazio 1 Fiorentina 0.

The second half was no different. The "Gigliati" going forward but rarely threatening Lucidio Sentimenti IV, with one exception in the 62nd minute, when the visitors had their biggest chance of the game. It fell to Pandolfini who, despite falling, after a challenge by Luigi Fuin, managed to get a shot in with Sentimenti IV coming off his line, but the ball went only just wide of the post. Pandolfini would then go on to play the Roman derby against Lazio over the next four years but that's another story.

The game ended with a 1-0 victory to Lazio. Fiorentina felt a bit hard done by but at the end of the day, despite all their pressure and quality build up, the Lazio keeper had not really dirtied his gloves. Lazio had not played well, far too defensive, but Sükrü's superb freekick was enough to give them an important win over rivals of a similar level.

Who played for Lazio

Manager: Bigogno

Who played for Fiorentina

Costagliola, Magnini, Cervato, Chiappella, Rosetta, Magli, Vitali, Pandolfini, Roosenburg, Ekner, Della Torre.

Manager: Magli

Referee: Silvano

Goal: 15' Sükrü

What happened next

Lazio had another good season finishing 5th. A week later they drew 1-1 away against Triestina. They would later beat Juventus 2-0 and draw away at Inter ending the season with 15 wins, 13 draws and 10 defeats. Top scorer was today's match winner Sükrü with 16 league goals.

Fiorentina also had a positive season finishing 4th (ahead of Lazio on goal difference). A week later the Florentines beat Milan 1-0 and would later beat Inter 5-0. They ended the season with 17 wins, 9 draws (including Lazio 0-0) and 12 defeats. Their top scorer was Swede Dan Ekner with 10 goals.

The scudetto was won by Juventus for their 9th title. Serie B welcomed Lucchese, Padova and Legnano.

Lazio 1951-52






Goals scored

Serie A






Top appearances


Serie A

Sentimenti IV








Top five goal scorers


Serie A











Let's talk about Sukru Gulesin

Source Wikipedia

Şükrü Mustafa Gülesin was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on September 14, 1922.

He started playing football with small local clubs. His first big professional club was Beşiktaş where he played for ten years (1940-50) with the exception of one year (1944-45) with Ankaragücu. He won six league titles with the Black and White Eagles on the Bosphorus. His managers included legendary Italian Giuseppe Meazza, considered one of the country's best ever players and winner of two World Cups (1934,1938).

In 1950 he joined Lazio in Serie A but was immediately loaned to Palermo. He had a positive season with the "Rosanero" playing 28 league games with 13 goals. His stay on the island, however, was marred in the spring when he was badly beaten up outside a nightclub. His relationship with the Sicilian Eagles deteriorated and at the end of the season he returned to Rome.

In 1951-52 he played an excellent season with Lazio, he played 29 games and scored 16 goals. The Biancocelesti too had a good season and finished fourth .

At the end of the season he played a local tournament for a small Roman club called Chinotto Neri Casilina. Chinotto Neri is a popular soft drink, especially in Rome, so they could well have been one of the first sponsored clubs. The symbol of the drink was Otto (8) in the name Chinotto. At their games, in the working-class district of Tor Pignattara, the teams would come on missing the number eight who then ran on individually to much fanfare. A club ahead of the times.

In 1952-53, obviously having patched things up, Sükrü surprisingly returned to Palermo. He made 22 appearances and scored 7 goals.

In 1953 he returned to his homeland but not to Beşiktaş, but rather to city rivals Galatasaray. At least he finally played for a team who were not eagles. He stayed two years at "Gala" with 40 games and 16 goals, winning the league title with "Cim Bom" in his second season.

He earned 11 caps for Turkey with 4 goals.

After retiring he became a journalist. He returned to Rome for a period working as a correspondent for an important Turkish newspaper, "Milliyet". He then went back to football as manager of Izmirspor (1961) and Saudi Arabia (1969) before returning to journalism.

Sükrü died of a heart attack in 1977. It was big news in Turkey as he was a well known and popular figure.

Sükrü was a giant. At 1.91 metres tall and weighing around 100 kilos he was an imposing figure. Despite his size he was quick and relatively technical and he was a penalty, freekick and corner specialist. He holds the record of goals directly from corners (without assists), 32. He also had an exceptionally powerful shot. One story tells of the Padova goalkeeper, when playing Palermo, literally moving away from Sükrü's penalty kick to avoid getting hurt. One weakness in his game was that he was surprisingly poor at tackling.

At Lazio he was considered a success. He scored an enviable 16 goals in his only season in Rome. In Turkish Sükrü means smiling and Lazio fans often certainly were on seeing the big Turk hammer in goals.

Appearances and goals for Lazio


Serie A apperances

Serie A goals






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