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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

July 8, 1928: Lazio Livorno 2-1 Coppa Coni

Updated: May 16

Final of Coppa CONI still possible


The Biancocelesti beat Livorno and still have a glimmer of hope to reach the Coppa CONI final



Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The Serie A was still in an experimental phase and the 22 teams of the National Division (a type of Serie A) were divided into two groups of 11. The top four would continue to the national final group, the bottom three should have been relegated to the First Division but in the end only who came last actually went down, since the Federation decided to have a transitional year and divide the 32 teams into two divisions for the 1928-29 championship so that for the season after there would be Serie A and Serie B.


Lazio in 1926-27 had been promoted to the National Division and played in the A Group. In 1927 a bizarre decision by the fascist party had decided that Rome should have a single team. Football was becoming increasingly popular, but Rome could not compete with the financial might of the teams from Northern Italy so something had to be done. The fascist party put Italo Foschi in charge of the project.


The birth of AS Roma


On August 2 1926 in Viareggio a trio of three “wise men” (Paolo Graziani, Italo Foschi and Giovanni Mauro) redesigned Italian football with the Viareggio Charter. In this document professionalism was introduced to Italian soccer together with the transfer market and the total ban on signing foreign players. Furthermore a first National Division was introduced with 20 teams, 16 from the North of Italy, Internaples and Alba (who had reached the final stage of the Italian championship), Fortitudo (Foschi was coincidently president of the Rome-based team) and finally the winner of a playoff between the 8 clubs that had been relegated the year before (Alessandria).


It was important for the fascist party that the Roman teams should be competitive. As a consequence a series of mergers began to make the teams stronger. Alba, founded in 1907, merged with Audace, founded in 1901, and Fortitudo, 1908, with Pro Roma, 1911. Results however were pretty dismal. Alba arrived second from last in their 1926-27 National Division group and Fortitudo last.


A further step was needed, one single team for Rome that could compete with the powers of the north. Foschi ordered that Fortitudo, Alba and Lazio should merge into a new club that would be called Associazione Sportiva Roma and bear the colours of the city, red and yellow. The players would come from the first two teams, Lazio would supply the stadium (Campo della Rondinella).


President Olindo Bitetti understood what the real plan was. Lazio would have disappeared. Bitetti asked General Giorgio Vaccaro, vice president and prominent member of the fascist party, for a hand. “Lazio has been a Moral Body by Royal Decree since 1921 and has a history, it cannot disappear. If we need to create a single club there is no problem, but it has to be called Lazio, the colours have to be white and light blue and the stadium must be that of the Rondinella”. This was obviously not going to be possible, but General Vaccaro was able to avoid Lazio being included in the new club. Roman, founded in 1901, took Lazio’s place.


The good thing was that Foschi was only interested in the Stadium. Alba too had no intention of joining the new club but they had the best team, so it was impossible for them to refuse.


In justifying the refusal, General Giorgio Vaccaro made the famous proclamation: “Lazio is different. Lazio does not come from, Lazio is. Lazio was born first and the fans came later. For the others there were already fans and a club was created for them to support”.


It took a long while for Roma to be competitive but since they had the best players in town they were a lot stronger than Lazio and the merging of three groups of fans meant that the Lazio supporters were less. Vincenzo Cerracchio in his book “Controstoria della Lazio” said that it was as if all the teams of London merged into one with the exception of Fulham, London’s oldest professional football club. It is a miracle Lazio still exists.


The consequence of the refusal meant that there was little time to create a good team. The squad was strong in some areas and weak in others. The new manager, Austrian Franz Sedlaceck had a lot of tactical ideas but the players took a lot of time to assimilate them. Lazio lost their first four games and the only really prestigious victory was against Milan (3-1).


The Biancocelesti came second last in their group with just 4 wins, 3 draws and 13 defeats. At least they avoided relegation.


The player with most appearances had been Luigi Bodrato (20) whilst top scorer was Renato Sanero with 4 goals.


Coppa Coni


The Coppa Coni was a tournament that took place in 1926-27 and 1927-28 between the 14 teams that did not make it to the final round for the scudetto. In 1927 Alessandria beat Casale 3-2 on aggregate. Lazio were not present.


In 1928, there were supposed to be two groups of seven teams each, but Group B had only six due to the fact that Verona decided not to participate. Lazio was in Group B together with Modena, Pro Vercelli, Livorno, Reggiana and Padova.


Coming into this match Lazio were fourth on 9 points behind Pro Vercelli 10, Modena and Livorno 12. Since the team that would win the group would go onto the final, chances of Lazio getting there were rather slim. So far, the Biancocelesti had beaten Reggiana, Pro Vercelli, Padova and Modena (all home games), drawn at Reggio Emilia and lost the other away matches.


The match: Sunday July 8, 1928, Campo Rondinella, Rome


The game was rather chaotic, but Lazio managed to win due to constant attacking. Livorno defended well and managed to stay in the match mainly thanks to the saves of their goalkeeper Franco Lipizer.


Lazio went ahead in the 20th minute with a goal by Walter Marcacci and made it two in the 56th thanks to Carlo Cevenini V. Livorno pulled one back with Silvano Checcerini in the 75th minute.


Five minutes later Livorno equalised with Paolo Silvestri but the referee, perhaps in compensation for the big mistake in not giving Lazio a clear penalty, for a foul in the box on Cevenini V earlier, signalled offside.


With this result Lazio and thanks to Pro Vercelli’s 4-1 win against Modena, were only a point behind group leaders Modena, Pro Vercelli and Livorno with one game to go.


Who played for Lazio


Nicolini, Canestri, Bottacini, Marcacci, Pardini, Berti, Cevenini V, Paganini, Sanero, Cappa Fenili.

Manager: Sedlacek


Who played for Livorno


Lipizer, Paolini, Innocenti III, Giraldi, Caimmi, Baldi, Checcherini, Alberti, Scioscia, Magnozzi, Silvestri.

Manager: Piselli


Referee: Galli


Goals: 20’ Marcacci, 56’ Cevenini V, 75’ Checcherini


What happened next


Lazio missed out on the Coppa Coni final. They beat Padova in their last match because Padova did not turn up, but Modena thrashed Livorno 5-2 and finished top.


Lazio 1927-28

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

National Division

20

4

3

13

17

Coppa Coni

10

6

1

3

18

Total

30

10

4

16

35

Top five appearances

Player

Total

National Division

Coppa Coni

Paganini

27

18

9

Canestri

26

17

9

Bottacini

26

17

9

Bodrato

25

20

5

Pardini

23

14

9

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

National Division

Coppa Coni

Sanero

6

4

2

Lamon I

4

2

2

Ottier

4

3

1

Cevenini V

4

2

2

Bodrato

3

2

1

Pardini

3

-

3

Let's talk about Dino Canestri


Source Wikipedia

Dino Canestri is another long-time servant to the Lazio cause. Like Bob Lovati, he was a player, manager – both senior and for the youth teams - scout, assistant coach, basically everything you could think of.


He was born in Prato, near Florence, on September 22, 1907. He started his career in the youth teams of his hometown and debuted for Prato in the Italian second division. He was a centre forward until his manager, Hungarian Desiderio Koszegi, moved him to right back and Prato won the Interregional Championship in 1924. When Canestri’s manager moved to Lazio, he specifically asked the club to sign him. The club managed to get their hands on Canestri in 1927 and he debuted for Lazio on October 2 1927. He played for six seasons for Lazio but sadly had to abandon active football in 1933 following a very serious injury in Trieste. He was only 26. He played 26 official games for Lazio with one goal.


He continued to work for Lazio as manager of the youth teams and was very successful. He discovered players such as Umberto Lombardini, Luigi Vettraino, Alessandro Capponi, Corrado Giubilo and many others. In 1941, with the Biancocelesti in very dangerous waters, he substituted Ferenc Molnar as Lazio manager. After 17 games Lazio were second from bottom with only 12 points. But he led the team to safety. During the war years he managed Lazio and with him the Biancocelesti won the first regional wartime tournament of 1943-44.

DIno Canestri is second from right standing. Source Wikipedia

When things went back to normal he continued coaching Lazio’s youth and was also a scout. In February 1957 he was nominated Technical Director and together with Manager Alfredo Monza had to step in to save Lazio from relegation.


In 1958 he was asked to manage the Amateur Nazionale in view of the Olympic Games and Mediterranean Games. In the latter, Italy won the Gold medal, in the former they reached the semi-finals. After this parenthesis he went back to work for Lazio and stayed until 1964.


He died in Rome on November 2, 1981.


Lazio career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

National Division

Coppa Coni

1927-28

26 (1)

17 (1)

9

1928-29

9

9

-

Total

35 (1)

26 (1)

9

Sources


Vincenzo Cerracchio: Controstoria della Lazio. Historica, 2016

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