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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

July 4, 1937: Lazio Grasshoppers 6-1, Central European Cup

Swiss massacre


Lazio fall behind but then score six including a Piola hat-trick.





Source Il Littoriale

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had arrived seventh, a little bit disappointing. The whole team was geared to set up Silvio Piola but not everything worked according to plan. The defence was a little weak, not protected enough by the midfield. Manager Walter Alt had resigned with three games to go and was substituted by Jozsef Viola who was confirmed for the 1936-37 season.

 

Fans expected a revolution in the summer transfer window and revolution it was. Goodbye to Attilio Ferraris IV (Bari), Anfilogino Guarisi (Corinthians), Virgillio Levratto (Savona), Egidio Turchi and Antonio Bisigato (both to Ambrosiana Inter), Odoacre Pardini (retired) and Umberto Visentin III (Treviso), welcome forwards Giovanni Costa (Vicenza), Giovanni Riccardi and Umberto Busani, plus midfielder Luigi Milano (all from Alessandria).

 

There was great optimism and the start was very good. At the end of the first half of the season Lazio were first with a two-point lead over Bologna. They lost the next game in Milan and were caught up by Bologna and then, marred by a number of injuries, they lost ground with three consecutive defeats: Fiorentina (5-1), the derby and Juventus (6-1). When all seemed lost, the injured players started to return and performances flourished. In the last eight games of the season Lazio won six and lost only once, reaching a spectacular second place and qualification to the Central European Cup (or Mitropa Cup).

 

A great season, the best so far and the best for many, many years to come.

 

In June Lazio played the first round of the Mitropa Cup against Hungaria. They drew 1-1 away and beat the Hungarians 3-2 at home. They now had to face Grasshoppers in the quarter finals.

 

The match: Sunday, July 4, 1937, Stadio PNF, Rome

 

The slight rain at the beginning of the game made both the ball and the pitch a little wet. And this was the cause of the Swiss’ goal. In the 5th minute Abegglen collected the ball just outside the Lazio box and passed to Bickel who dribbled past Luigi Milano and tried a shot. It looked as if Giacomo Blason would save it easily but he could hold on to the wet ball and it was then a simple tap- in for Faugel.

 

After a few moments of disbelief, the Biancocelesti gathered themselves and started to attack. In the 9th minute Libero Marchini missed a chance and Silvio Piola did the same a minute later. But in the 14th minute they managed to equalise. Umberto Busani went off on the counter attack, the Swiss hesitated waiting to see if he would cross the ball or try a shot, the Lazio winger capitalised on the opportunity and with a mighty whack beat Huber who had just come out of his goal to face the Biancoceleste player.

 

Lazio were now more settled and two minutes later Piola tried a shot that went just wide. In the 31st minute Bruno Camolese to Marchini just outside the box, quick shot, Lazio 2 Grasshoppers 1. Three minutes later one-two Piola-Marchini and the Lazio centre forward scored with a powerful shot.

 

The Swiss team were in difficulty and towards the end of the first half Camolese could have made it four but he was unable to make contact with the ball after a Busani cross that had beaten the goalkeeper.

 

In the second half Piola became the protagonist. In the 47th minute he shot directly at the goalkeeper from a favourable position, in the 58th and 60th minute two assists to Costa and Busani deserved to be rewarded and put in the back of the net but were not, in the 68th a one-two with Busani allowed him to shoot but Huber made his best save of the day. In the 73rd he tried again, but he would have to wait another few minutes to get another goal.

 

In the meantime, in the 75th minute, Camolese, to Marchini, to Piola, to Busani alone in front of the keeper, 4-1 for Lazio. Two minutes later, Camolese crossed into the box and Italy’s centre-forward, completely unmarked, had no problem in making it five. Which became six in the 84th minute when Costa passed to Piola, sombrero over Minelli and volley into the net.

 

Marvellous victory for Lazio, semi-final in sight.


Who played for Lazio

 

Manager: Violak

 

Who played for Grasshoppers

 

Huber, Minelli, Weiler II, Springer, Vernati, Guttermann, Bickel, Artimovic, Rupf, Abegglen, Fauguel

 

Referee: Mienz

 

Goals: 5’ Fauguel, 14’ Busani, 31’ Marchini, 34’ Piola, 75’ Busani, 77’ Piola, 84’ Piola

 

What happened next

 

Lazio lost the return match 3-2 but the lead was so substantial that it had merely become a friendly. In the semi-final, the Biancocelesti were supposed to play against SK Admira or Genova 1893. The two teams had drawn the first leg 2-2 in Vienna but there had been anti-Italian political demonstrations so the Italian Minister of the Interior had decreed that the game should not be played. As a consequence, the organising committee disqualified both teams and Lazio went directly into the final which was played in two games in September.

 

The Biancocelesti lost 4-2 away with some very “unfortunate” refereeing decisions. At home they were winning 4-2 but collapsed towards the end of the game and lost 5-4.

 

The player with the most appearances this season was Giuseppe Baldo (35), top scorer was obviously Silvio Piola with 28 goals.


Lazio 1936-37

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

17

5

8

56

Coppa Italia

1

-

-

1

-

Central European Cup

4

2

1

1

12

Total

35

19

6

10

68

Top appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Central European Cup

Baldo

35

30

1

4

Busani

34

29

1

4

Monza

34

30

-

4

Zacconi

34

30

-

4

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Central European Cup

Piola

28

21

-

7

Busani

17

15

-

2

Costa

5

4

-

1

Riccardi

5

5

-

-

Camolese

4

4

-

-


Let's talk about Libero Marchini


Source Lazio Wiki

Libero Marchini was born in Castelnuovo Magra, near La Spezia, on October 31 1913. He started playing football with Carrarese in the third tier in 1931 and stayed a couple of years before moving to Florence in 1933. With Fiorentina he did not play much, just 10 league games, but the Viola did well, arriving sixth. In 1934 he moved again and went nearer home to play for Genoa 1893. The Rossoblù won the Serie B championship but he did not stay and left for Lucchese where he again arrived first in the second tier. After another year but this time in Serie A, he moved to Rome to play for Lazio. He immediately played in the Central European Cup in 1936 and then made 16 appearances the following year.

In 1938 he made a mistake, signing a contract with Torino without permission from the club. President Remo Zenobi punished him by sending him to the stands for a year despite the fact he was a player who had been considered for the Nazionale and had won an Olympic Gold at the Berlin games.

 

He made it to Turin for the 1939-40 season but stayed only a year before going back to Lucchese in 1940. He ended his career with Carrarese where he played from 1941 to 1943.

 

As mentioned, he was part of the team that won Gold at the Olympics in 1936 together with his future team mates Baldo and Gabriotti as well as former Lazio Alfredo Foni. In order to participate in the games, he falsified his documents, in agreement with the authorities, claiming to be born in 1914.

 

He died in Trieste on November 1 2003.


Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Central European Cup

1936-37

4 (2)

-

4 (2)

1937-38

18 (5)

16 (5)

2

Total

22 (7)

16 (5)

6 (2)


Sources


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