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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

January 29, 1984: Lazio Genoa 2-1

Updated: Jan 29

Lazio come from behind to earn two crucial points in relegation battle


An extremely balanced game goes Lazio’s way thanks to second half goals by Manfredonia and D'Amico.




Source Wikipedia

The season so far


Lazio were finally back in Serie A after three difficult years in the second division, the "purgatory "of Serie B.


The legendary Giorgio Chinaglia was back as President with promises of massive American partners investing in Lazio's bright future.


The summer market had seen major changes to the squad. The main arrivals were; defenders Daniele Filisetti (Atalanta), Massimo Piscedda (back from loan-Sanremese), midfielders Joāo Batista (Palmeiras and Brazilian national), Angelo Cupini (Cavese), Rinaldo Piraccini (Pistoiese), Claudio Vinazzani (Napoli) plus forward Michael Laudrup (loan for 2 years- Juventus).


So, apart from a young Laudrup and the experience of Batista, not much to get excited about, but at this point the Laziali had blind faith in Long John Chinaglia. Giancarlo Morrone, who had substituted Roberto Clagluna towards the end of the previous season, had been initially confirmed. At this stage of the season, however, he had already been replaced by Paolo Carosi in December.


Leaving Lazio were several Serie B faithfuls; keeper Maurizio Moscatelli (Cavese- he never really recovered from his serious injury), defenders Ernesto Calisti (loan-Cavese), Carlo Perrone and Paolo Pochesci (both to Ascoli), Marco Saltarelli (Monza), midfielders Roberto Badiani (Vigor Senigallia), Maurizio Montesi (retired), Roberto Tavola (end of loan-Juventus), forwards Claudio Ambu (Monza), Stefano Chiodi (Prato) and Leonardo Surro (Siena).


No great losses for various reasons; injuries (Moscatelli and Montesi), age (Badiani), unfulfilled potential (Pochesci, Perrone and Saltarelli) or lack of Serie A quality (Chiodi, Tavola and Surro). The one player Lazio fans were extremely sad to see leave was Enrico Vella when he left in the autumn for Atalanta.


Whatever opinion was given to the squad, Lazio came into the season with great enthusiasm and packed out the Olimpico in the early games. The long-awaited return to Serie A and even more so that of a Chinaglia was enough to excite even the most laid-back fans.


The season so far predictably had not been easy. Lazio lost on their debut 4-2 away at Verona but young Michael Laudrup had got two late goals, already showing his superior quality. They then beat Inter 3-0 at home maybe deluding on their realistic potential. Since that triumph Lazio had won another 2 games, drawn 5 and lost 8 (including the derby 2-0). A week before today's game Lazio had earned a good 1-1 away draw at Inter. They were in the middle of the relegation battle with 11 points. Top scorers were Bruno Giordano on 5 and Laudrup on 4.


Genoa had finished 12th the previous season and manager Gigi Simoni had been confirmed, as had top scorer Massimo Briaschi.


This year the main changes coming in had been: defenders Nazzareno Canuti (Milan) and Roberto Policano (Latina), midfielders Elói (loan-Vasco da Gama) and Francesco Mileti (Lecce),, plus forward Roberto Bergamaschi (Inter).


Leaving Genoa Cricket and Football club were defender Carmine Gentile (Atalanta), midfielders Pasquale Iachini (Fiorentina) and René Vandereycken (Club Brugge) plus forwards Robert Simonetta (Sanremese) and above all Giuliano Fiorini (Sambenedettese- but later to become a Lazio legend).


This season the Rossoblu had got off to a disastrous start losing 5-0 at home to Zico's Udinese. They had since won 2, drawn 8 (including 0-0 at home to Lazio) and lost 6 (including derby to Sampdoria 2-0). A week earlier they had drawn 0-0 at home with Napoli. They too, like Lazio, were bogged down in the lower part of the table with 12 points.


It was only January but today's game was already seen as vital to avoid falling further down the table towards a potential drop to Serie B.


The match: Sunday, January 29, 1984, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A good crowd of 45,000 turned up on a sunny January afternoon for this relegation clash.


Genoa had a few absences through injury and suspension but Lazio were also still missing their top striker Bruno Giordano, out with a broken leg.


The first half was a lot more open than expected. Such important games are usually very tactical and closed. Today, however, Genoa came out controlling the tempo, possibly taking Lazio a little by surprise.


Genoa looked better organized and soon gained the upper hand in midfield with Policano, Paolo Benedetti and Mario Faccenda. In the 10th minute Policano hit the crossbar with a powerful shot. Lazio were less pleasing on the eye but made up for it with sheer determination and willpower, led by Lionello Manfredonia and Gabriele Podavini's forays. Their chances came from long range shots by Podavini, over the bar, and Giancarlo Marini, superbly saved by Silvano Martina.


The first goal of the game came just before halftime. In the 41st minute a cracking low shot from outside the box by Francesco Mileti beat Nando Orsi. At the break Lazio 0 Genoa 1.


The second half started and Genoa had an opportunity with Massimo Briaschi but his shot was blocked in a crowded area. In the 57th minute Lazio equalised. A high freekick from the left into the area was skilfully chested down by Manfredonia and hammered in from close range with his right foot. Lazio 1-Genoa 1.


Just over ten minutes later Lazio were in the lead. In the 67th minute Laudrup went down the left side of the area and crossed, the ball was headed on by Mauro Meluso to Manfredonia who went past a defender but was pulled down. Penalty given and then put away by Vincenzo D'Amico with a perfect middle height spot kick. Lazio 2 Genoa 1.


Genoa obviously threw themselves into attack at this point and came close to equalising twice. First in the 72nd minute when a Mileti shot was cleared off the line by Marini and shortly after a Benedetti effort was brilliantly saved by Orsi.


Final score Lazio 2 Genoa 1. An absolutely crucial win for Lazio (it would turn out to be the decisive factor in May). The result was slightly flattering but Lazio had shown grit, passion and heart against a better organised and balanced team.


Who played for Lazio


Subs: Cacciatori, Miele, Piraccini, Piga

Manager: Carosi


Who played for Genoa


Martina, Canuti, Testoni (85' Bosetti), Faccenda, Romano II, Policano, R.Bergamaschi (68' Eloi), Mileti, Antonelli, P.Benedetti, Briaschi

Subs: N. Favaro, Eranio, Zannino

Manager: Simoni


Referee: D'Elia


Goals: 41' Mileti, 57' Manfredonia, 68' D'Amico (pen)




What happened next


Lazio managed to avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth.


A week later they lost 2-1 away at Juventus but then beat Sampdoria (2-1) and drew the derby (2-2). They lost several more games but wins against Torino, Ascoli and Napoli took them into the last match at Pisa needing a point.


In the meantime, star striker Giordano had returned from injury. On April 15, away at Fiorentina, Bruno-Gol had finally come back and 10,000 Lazio fans travelled up to Florence to witness the event.


So, it was all down to the final game under the leaning tower of Pisa. Catania and Pisa were already down while Genoa on 23 and Lazio on 24 still had hope. Only one of them would stay up. Genoa had Juventus at home but the Bianconeri had already won and celebrated the league title.


A mass exodus of Lazio fans accompanied the team to Tuscany. The Arena Garibaldi was almost entirely light blue and white.


Things seemed to be looking up when the radios announced Juventus had taken the lead with Antonio Cabrini at Marassi after 7 minutes. Only three minutes later however, Genoa equalised with a Beniamino Vignola own goal. Back to square one until, only a minute later, Bruno-Gol scored for Lazio, with a header from a D'Amico free kick. Half time Pisa 0 Lazio 1 and Genoa 1 Juventus 1; Lazio 26 points, Genoa 24. Things were looking good.


At the beginning of the second half however Pisa equalised with a controversial goal by Danish Klaus Bergreen who seemed to score with his arm. So, 1-1 but Lazio were still safe.


Pisa pushed forward looking to go down with dignity and a win. Luca Birigozzi in the 52nd minute shot over the bar from a favourable position and five minutes later he had the mother of all chances. He found himself with an open goal with only Lazio's Batista on the goal line but somehow managed to get his shot cleared by the Brazilian. One of those chances that are easier to score than miss.


Having seen hell's door opening Lazio turned up the pressure and were rewarded in the 67th minute. Manfredonia was fouled in the area for a clear penalty. Giordano's low spot kick was not impeccable but went under keeper Alessandro Mannini for the 2-1.


Lazio then got a third, but Laudrup had his goal ruled out for offside. Still, going into the last two or three minutes the situation seemed under control, Lazio were winning and Genoa drawing.


Then in the 89th minute Stefano Bosetti scored for Genoa against the Italian Champions, Juventus. No panic, Lazio were still a point ahead. Then in the 90th minute Pisa equalised with Ferruccio Mariani. Lazio 25 points Genoa 25 points.


A very tense few minutes of injury time saw Lazio hold on for their sacred point. Lazio were safe. The decider would not be goal difference (as in UK for example) but the direct matches in the league (0-0 and 2-1 to Lazio). The win over Genoa in January turned out to be a lifesaver for Lazio.


The fans were ecstatic and Chinaglia went down to the pitch to celebrate with the fans.


On the way home on the motorway, Long John bombed past us in his Jaguar, with Felice Pulici, waving and barping his car horn at our supporters bus. All was good.


Lazio stayed in Serie A after 8 wins, 9 draws and 13 defeats. The top scorers were Laudrup and Giordano with 8 league goals.


All may have been good but dark clouds were already looming in Lazio's future, but that's another story.


Today's opposition Genoa obviously had an unhappier end to the season. A week later the Grifoni drew 0-0 at home to Pisa and lost the next three games in a row (Roma, Avellino, Ascoli).


They then picked up and after a draw in the derby went on to earn 11 points in the last 7 games. It was almost enough and after 6 wins, 13 draws and 11 defeats they ended up on 25 points, tied with Lazio and with a better goal difference.


The deciding factor however would be the direct matches so having drawn 0-0 and lost 2-1 on January 29, 1984, Genoa were relegated to Serie B. Their top scorer was Briaschi with 12 league goals.


Lazio 1983-84

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

8

9

13

35

Coppa Italia

5

1

3

1

3

Total

35

9

12

14

38

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Laudrup

35

30

5

Vinazzani

33

28

5

Spinozzi

32

27

5

Manfredonia

31

26

5

Batista

30

25

5

D'Amico

30

25

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Laudrup

8

8

-

D'Amico

8

7

1

Giordano

8

8

-

Manfredonia

4

4

-

Cupini

3

3

-


Let’s talk about Lionello Manfredonia


Source Wikipedia

Lionello Manfredonia was born in Rome, on November 27, 1956.


Manfredonia started playing football for Boreale Don Orione, a local team in North Rome who played on the Monte Mario hill above the Stadio Olimpico. Manfredonia, a Lazio fan, would dream of playing for the Biancocelesti in that stadium. In 1971, at fifteen, he joined Lazio and went into the youth sector. He would be part of a promising generation of youngsters (including Bruno Giordano) who also won the Primavera title (Under 19's).


He made his first team debut on November 2, 1975 against Bologna. He played 5 league games and 1 in the UEFA Cup in his first year.


The following year he made his main breakthrough and played 29 Serie A games and 1 in Coppa Italia. A good year under manager Luís Vinicio with a 5th place. Manfredonia formed a solid central defensive partnership with captain Pino Wilson.


In the 1977-78 season he again played 29 Serie A games, 4 in Coppa Italia and 4 in the UEFA Cup. Lazio had a less positive year, first under Vinicio and then Bob Lovati, finishing 10th.


In 1978-79 he played regularly with 28 league appearances and 6 in Coppa Italia (scoring his first goal, a winner against L.R. Vicenza). Lazio had a decent season finishing 8th under Bob Lovati.


The following year disaster struck for Manfredonia and Lazio. First a Lazio fan, Vincenzo Paparelli, was killed at a derby match by a flare shot from the Roma end. Then they were both involved in the Totonero betting scandal. Four players, Manfredonia, Giordano, Wilson and Massimo Cacciatori were even initially arrested and jailed on March 23, 1980. The final outcome was Lazio being punished with relegation and Manfredonia banned along with Giordano for 3 and a half years. Before the nightmare Manfredonia had played 21 league games and 5 in Coppa Italia (scoring versus Brescia).


In the Autumn of 1982, following Italy’s world cup triumph in Spain, the Italian Football Federation issued an amnesty, allowing all banned players to return.


Lazio were still in Serie B, but with Manfredonia and Giordano promotion was a more realistic prospect. So, in the 1982-83 Manfredonia was back and played 36 league games with 4 goals (Sambenedettese, Perugia, Palermo, Pistoiese) and 5 in Coppa Italia. He had evolved from a classic centre back into more of a box to box midfielder. Lazio were promoted back to Serie A first under Roberto Clagluna and then (from May 15) Juan Carlos Morrone.


In Lazio's first year back in the big time the Biancocelesti avoided relegation on the last day of the season drawing 2-2 at Pisa. Manfredonia played 26 league games and scored 4 goals (Milan, Verona, Inter, Genoa) and 5 games in Coppa Italia.


The following year would be his last for Lazio and was a disaster. Lazio changed manager from Paolo Carosi, to Juan Carlos Lorenzo, to Giancarlo Oddi with Bob Lovati but were unable to avoid relegation back to Serie B. Manfredonia played 27 league games and 5 in Coppa Italia.


Lazio were down and the stars left; Giordano to Napoli, Laudrup to Juventus (end of loan) and Manfredonia too went to Turin to play for the “Old Lady”. For Lazio things were bad but they would get worse, but that's another story.


Manfredonia went to Juventus and stayed two seasons. In his first season he played 23 league games, 6 in Coppa Italia, 6 in European Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup. The 'Zebras' won the scudetto (1986) and the Intercontinental Cup (1985).


In his second year he played 28 league games with 7 goals (Udinese, Avellino, Torino, Verona, Como, Sampdoria, Verona), 9 in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Reggiana, Cremonese) and 4 games in the European Cup. Manfredonia was happy in Turin and had performed well but the two parts were not able to find a deal on a new contract and what happened then was a real coup de theatre.


In the summer of 1987 Manfredonia took a very controversial decision and returned home to Rome but to A.S Roma. It was not a popular move either side of the Tiber. Both teams' fans were against the move. Graffiti appeared on city walls contesting the deal. The Roma Curva Sud was divided in its reaction. Some fans' view was that as he was now a Giallorosso, he should be backed while others remained permanently hostile. One set of fans went as far as setting up a new supporters group called 'Gruppo Anti-Manfredonia'.


Manfredonia has since admitted it was a mistake and it is something he regrets. He has stated he underestimated the reaction of the city and had lacked respect to both sets of fans. He has also admitted his life was not made easy in that period as it seemed everyone had it in for him.


As it is, however, Manfredonia wore the Roma jersey for two full seasons. In his first he played 28 times in the league and scored 3 goals (Empoli, Inter,Verona) and 7 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Triestina). In 1988-89 he made 30 league appearances with 1 goal (Como) and 2 in Coppa Italia. He did not play in the losing derby against Lazio in January but played in the return 0-0. Needless to say, he was not the most popular player on the pitch.


The following season would be his last and not only for Roma. He had made 15 league appearances by the time the Giallorossi went to an away game in Bologna. It was December 30 and a bitterly cold afternoon. The temperature was -5 degrees and soon after the kick-off Manfredonia collapsed, untouched by any opponents. It was a heart attack. The first person to assist him was his old friend and Lazio team mate Bruno Giordano who was playing for Bologna. Manfredonia 's heart stopped for 5 long minutes and he was rushed to hospital. He fortunately survived and had not suffered any permanent damage. His football career however was obviously over. Manfredonia years later attributed the event to a combination of freezing weather conditions and stress, as he had recently lost his mother.


A sad end to a fine playing career marred by a few controversies. After 410 professional games and 26 goals Manfredonia was forced to retire at 33.


At International level he won 4 caps for Italy and played 9 times for the U-21's. His poor relationship with manager Bearzot limited his games for the Azzurri.


Since retiring Manfredonia has remained in the football world. He has worked as sports director for Cosenza, Cagliari, L.R. Vicenza and Ascoli. He has also worked in youth sectors at Vicenza and Brescia, where he is currently.


Manfredonia started his career at Lazio as a man-marking centre-back. He was tenacious and athletic but also possessed good technique. This later helped him evolve into an extremely versatile midfielder. He could defend and attack, probably most modern managers' ideal player. He was an excellent ball winner and developed into a box to box midfielder, making up for his lack of speed with his physicality and determination.


He "was" one of Lazio's golden boys. Their pride and joy along with Giordano and D'Amico. His relationship with Lazio was however soured by his shock move to bitter rivals Roma. In a recent interview before a derby when asked who he would be supporting, Manfredonia just laughed. "Let’s not mix professionalism with passion, I was and always will be a Lazio fan".


Appearances and Goals for Lazio

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

1975-76

6

5

-

-

1

1976-77

30

29

-

1

-

1977-78

37

29

-

4

4

1978-79

34 (1)

28

-

6 (1)

-

1979-80

26 (1)

21

-

5 (1)

-

1982-83

38 (4)

-

36 (4)

2

-

1983-84

31 (4)

26 (4)

-

5

-

1984-85

32

27

-

5

-

Total

234 (10)

201 (8)

36 (4)

28 (2)

5

Sources



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