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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

July 2, 1961: Lazio Grasshoppers 3-3, Cup of the Alps

Last game of a dreadful season

 

Lazio contribute to Italy winning the Cup of the Alps



Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far

 

There probably could not have been a worse start for Lazio in the 1960-61 season. Chaos at the club, lack of money and therefore no possibility to invest in any players. Just one new signing, forward Victor Guaglianone from Wanderers in Uruguay plus the winger Giorgio Stivanelli graciously loaned for free from Juventus. Unfortunately, Guaglianone suffered a very serious injury in his first game and then got hepatitis so he was out for the rest of the season. In December Lazio replaced him with Argentinian Juan Carlos Morrone. Also on loan came Paolo Ferrario, forward from Milan. Leaving the Biancocelesti was Humberto Tozzi. He was sold to Torino but he refused the transfer and went back to Brazil where he joined Palmeiras.

 

Obviously, the situation was not good and furthermore there were problems with the manager, Fulvio Bernardini, which translated into two draws and seven losses in the first nine games.

 

Just before the game against Spal in December, Bernardini was shown the door and the team was given to Lazio legend Enrique “Flacco” Flamini who was managing Lazio’s youth teams. There was hope that the enthusiasm would allow Lazio to avoid their first ever relegation to Serie B, which seemed very likely at this point. The win against Spal was however a rare occasion and on January 6, Jesse Carver was called in to help Flamini with the situation in an attempt to revitalise the team. Lazio at the end of the first part of the season were in a desperate position. They were last with just 9 points, 3 points away from safety. The situation did not improve. There were a few wins (Torino, Napoli, the derby), but some heavy defeats (Inter Lazio 7-0 was just one example). The Biancocelesti finished the season last. This was the first relegation in the history of the club.

 

In September Lazio played the final for 3rd place of the previous year’s Coppa Italia and beat Torino 2-1 (the finals for first and third place were played at the beginning of the 1960-61 season).

 

In the current season’s Cup, they did well. After beating Como at home in March for 4-0, they played in San Siro against Inter in April. An early goal by Giancarlo Morrone was enough to reach the semi-finals where they beat Torino on penalties in May. The final was however another story. Lazio, already relegated, lost 2-0 to Fiorentina.


In the early summer of 1961 Lazio had to play against Grasshoppers Zürich for their legs of the Cup of the Alps. In the first two tournaments, 8 Italian sides played against 8 Swiss in a single home and away tie. The Italian teams were Brescia, Lecco, Pro Patria, Reggiana, Parma, Monza, Fiorentina and Lazio. The nation that got more points won the trophy. Paolo Todeschini, the new manager, was on the bench.

 

In the first game in Switzerland, the Biancocelesti had demolished the Swiss 5-0 with braces from Claudio Bizzarri and Maurilio Prini plus a Franzini goal. Today was the return match.

 

The match: Sunday, July 2, 1961, Stadio Flaminio, Rome

 

It was very hot in Rome for the last game of a terrible season for Lazio. The team, mentally on holiday after the 5-0 win in Zurich probably underestimated the Swiss. The Biancocelesti had started well with a couple of shots from Paolo Carosi and Prini saved by the goalkeeper.

 

But then on the counter attack Grasshoppers started to become dangerous. Bruno Gabrieli crossed into the box, Robert Ballaman’s header beat Idilio Cei but Adelmo Eufemi saved on the line. In the 8th minute Ballaman crossed, Eufemi hesitated and Gabrieli made it 1-0. The goal allowed the Swiss to erect a wall with 8 men in front of the goal, leaving just the wingers and centre-forward up front. The Biancocelesti were forced to attack and slowly built up their play. After six corners, in the 42nd minute they managed to equalise. Free kick taken by Prini, Marcel Poffet tried to clear, ball to Angelo Longoni who dribbled past the goalkeeper and scored.

 

In the second half, after a couple of shots from Bizzari and Pierluigi Pagni parried by Karl Elsener, Grasshoppers scored again. In the 66th minute Ballaman to Raymond Duret on the left, cross into the box and Peter Von Burg headed it in.

 

The Biancocelesti doubled the efforts to overturn the match and did so. In the 79th minute Morrone to Bizzarri who dribbled past Ivo Ghilardi and Elsener and gave the ball back to Morrone for the simplest of tap-ins. Three minutes later Lazio went ahead. A one-two Morrone-Bizzarri allowed the Italian oriundo to penetrate inside the box, ball to Longoni who made it three.

 

All over? No. One minute later, the Lazio defenders messed up and gave Giuliano Robbiani a simple chance to equalise. He did.

 

Not a good match for the Biancocelesti, but at least this dreadful season was over.

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Substitutes: Rossi, Franzini

Manager: Todeschini

 

Who played for Grasshoppers

 

Elsener, Poffet, Ghilardi, Baeni, Winterhofen, Faccin, Gabrieli, Von Burg, Robbiani, Ballaman, Duret

Manager: Vuko

 

Referee: Keller

 

Goals: 8’ Gabrieli, 42’ Longoni, 66’ Von Burg, 79’ Morrone, 82’ Longoni, 83’ Robbiani

 

What happened next

 

Italy won the Cup of the Alps with 19 points.

 

Franco Carradori was the player with most appearances (37), Orlando Rozzoni the top scorer (15).


Lazio 1960-61

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

34

5

8

21

30

Coppa Italia

4

2

1

1

6

Total

38

7

9

22

36

Top Five Appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Carradori

36

32

4

Rozzoni

33

30

3

Eufemi

31

28

3

Janich

30

28

2

Molino

29

26

3

Top Five Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Rozzoni

13

11

2

Morrone

6

4

2

Carradori

3

1

2

Franzini

2

2

-

Mariani

2

2

-

Fumagalli

2

2

-

Let’s talk about Alfredo Napoleoni


Lazio Wiki

Alfredo Napoleoni was born on November 29, 1937 in Rome. He started playing for Garbatella and in 1955 moved to Lazio. After a year in the youth team and a few matches in the reserves team (which won the title), he debuted in Serie A on April 27, 1958, in the game against Torino. He played four league games that season and also appeared in two matches in Coppa Italia scoring a goal against Palermo in the first game. Lazio would then go on and win the Cup in September, but he had been loaned to Catania in Serie B.


He did well but for the 1959-60 season he was again on loan this time in Serie C with Cral Cirio. He came back to Rome in 1960 but made only 9 appearances.


After playing three games in 1962, in the autumn transfer window he was sold to Sambenedettese in Serie B. Despite being relegated to Serie C he stayed on but in 1964 he left to play for Taranto in Serie C where he played until 1970 to then retire. Once he stopped playing he stayed on and worked as an insurer.

 

Napoleoni had a decent career, but the highlight was his contribution to Lazio’s first silverware.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Cup of the Alps

1957-58

6 (1)

4

-

2 (1)

-

1960-61

9

6

-

2

1

1961-62

3

-

2

1

-

Total

18 (1)

10

2

5 (1)

1


Sources





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