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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

June 19, 1988: Lazio Taranto 3-1

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Leaving hell and not coming back


Lazio beat Taranto and after three years get back to Serie A


Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had managed to avoid relegation to Serie C in a playoff with Campobasso and Taranto. They had been given an unjust 9-point docking, a very heavy burden with only two points for a victory, due to an alleged involvement in match fixing. Lazio did so well at the beginning that by early 1987 they were closer to promotion than relegation. Then the stress took its toll and the team physically and mentally collapsed. Before the last game of the season, Lazio were second from bottom on 31 points together with Taranto, on 32 there were Campobasso, Vicenza, Sambenedettese and Catania, with Modena on 33. With Cagliari already relegated, there were three places left. The last game was Lazio-Vicenza on June 21. With seven minutes to go, it was still 0-0. Gabriele Podavini got the ball and shot. It was more out of desperation than an actual goal scoring attempt. He miskicked it but the ball reached Giuliano Fiorini who turned on himself and scored.


Final verdict: Lazio, Campobasso and Taranto needed a playoff to determine who would join Cagliari, Catania and Vicenza in Serie C. In Naples on June 27 Lazio played their first game against Taranto and lost due to a goal in blatant offside. Then Taranto and Campobasso drew 1-1 on July 1. This meant that Lazio had to beat Campobasso to stay in Serie B. They did thanks to a Fabio Poli goal. The Biancocelesti were safe.


The new Presidency of the Calleri brothers with Renato Bocchi were obviously aiming for a return to Serie A in the 1987-88 season and certainly had this in mind when it came down to the summer transfer window. There was a revolution. Lazio said goodbye to goalkeepers Mario Ielpo and Giuliano Terraneo, defenders Ernesto Calisti and Daniele FIlisetti, but in particular to Lazio legends Podavini, Fiorini and Poli. The new signings were experienced goalkeeper Silvano Martina and defender Paolo Beruatto both from Torino, Diego Maradona’s reserve Ciro Muro from Napoli, Gabriele Savino from Vicenza, Paolo Monelli from Fiorentina and Giuseppe Galderisi on loan from Milan. Only a year earlier Galderisi had played for Italy in the 1986 World Cup.


There was a lot of expectation, especially because the slots for promotion were increased to four since Serie A was going to expand the number of teams from 16 to 18, but Lazio started slowly. After the first 10 games Lazio were 12th, not too far away from the promotion zone, but still not in a good position. A couple of wins pushed them back up but then seven consecutive draws, five of which consecutive goalless draws, did not give them the boost that was needed. At the end of the first half of the season they were fifth, one point behind fourth place.


The situation improved in the second half of the season and Lazio lost only three games. But it was tough. With six games to the end, seven teams were involved in the fight for Serie A. Bologna and Atalanta were slightly ahead of the others, Lecce were one point above Lazio who in turn were a point ahead of Catanzaro, Cremonese and Bari.


The most important game of the season was Catanzaro-Lazio. Catanzaro by winning could have overtaken Lazio and it was 1-0 for the Calabrian Giallorossi when the referee indicated three minutes of injury time. With just seconds to go Monelli equalised and Lazio kept fourth place. Catanzaro managed to catch up with Lazio anyway with three games to go but it only lasted one game.


Lazio-Taranto was the last game of the season. Bologna and Lecce were already promoted, Lazio and Atalanta had a one-point lead over Catanzaro. The other two matches of interest were Atalanta-Messina and Piacenza-Catanzaro.


The match: Sunday June 19, 1988, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Official SS Lazio photo

For this match there was no Curva Nord, pulled down for renovation to the Stadio Olimpico in view of the 1990 World Cup. The stadium, minus Curva Nord, was packed, everybody wanted to celebrate the return to Serie A.


De facto the game lasted just 9 minutes. Raimondo Marino received the ball from outside the box on the left and gave it a massive whack, 1-0 for Lazio.


Taranto were just a sparring partner and Lazio made sure they did not stir. Massimo Piscedda gave Gianpaolo Spagnulo some work to do with a couple of headers. Gabriele Savino missed an easy tap-in after the Taranto goalkeeper had saved a Paolo Beruatto shot.


Both Catanzaro and Atalanta were winning so Lazio decided to close the game in the second half. In the 47th minute, free kick for Lazio, Gabriele Pin took a shot, the ball reached Paolo Monelli who scored. Six minutes later Lazio made it three. Beruatto crossed from the left and Monelli managed to volley the ball in for Lazio’s 3-0.


Antonio De Vitis scored in the 78’ minute but by that time everybody was already celebrating.


Lazio, after three hellish years, were back in Serie A.


Who played for Lazio


Martina, Marino, Beruatto, Pin, Piscedda, V. Esposito, Savino, Acerbis, Rizzolo (63’ Galderisi), Caso, Monelli (74’ Muro)

Substitutes: Salafia, Brunetti, Camolese

Manager: Fascetti


Who played for Taranto


Spagnulo, Biondo, Gridelli, Chierici, Serra (28' Altamura), Picci, L.Rocca (46' Mirabelli), Roselli, De Vitis, Donatelli I, B.Russo.

Substitutes: Goletti, Altamura, Mirabelli, D’Ignazio, Pernisco

Manager: Pasinato.


Referee: Pezzella


Goals: 9’ Marino, 47’ Monelli, 53’ Monelli, 79’ De Vitis




What happened next


Paolo Monelli was the player with most appearances this season (42) and the most goals (14). He was also the reason behind Fascetti being sacked in July.


President Gianmarco Calleri had sold Monelli to Bari against the manager's wishes. This resulted in a big argument and everything was put on the table, all the negativity of the past two years, the interferences in the team management especially by Renato Bocchi, the transfers. As a result, Fascetti was shown the door and in came Giuseppe Materazzi.


Lazio 1987-88

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

38

15

17

6

42

Coppa Italia

5

2

2

1

4

Total

43

17

19

7

46

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Monelli

42

37

5

Marino

41

36

5

Martina

41

36

5

Pin

41

36

5

Beruatto

40

35

5

Savino

40

35

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Monelli

14

13

1

Savino

10

8

2

Muro

4

4

-

Gregucci

3

3

-

Rizzolo

3

3

-

Let's talk about Paolo Monelli

Source Wikipedia

Paolo Monelli was born in Castelnovo ne’ Monti near Reggio Emilia on January 27, 1963. His long career started very early, at just 16 years of age, when he debuted with Monza in Serie B on February 25, 1979. With the "Brianzoli", together with Daniele Massaro, who would go on to win everything at AC Milan, he formed one of the most interesting young attacking duos.


In 1981 they both were signed by Fiorentina. In his first year he was the first reserve behind forwards Ciccio Graziani and Daniel Bertoni. For the 1982-83 season he was loaned to Ascoli but after a year he went back to Florence and stayed for four seasons. His scoring ability progressively went dry and he had a long period of drought.


In 1987 he signed for Lazio in Serie B on a three-year deal. He was one of the protagonists of Lazio’s return to Serie A, scoring 13 league goals, some of fundamental importance, like the one in injury time at Catanzaro which basically secured promotion.


In the summer of 1988, Lazio surprisingly sold him to Bari in Serie B. It was a shock to the fans and to manager Eugenio Fascetti who had a big row with President Gianmarco Calleri, leading him to be sacked.


Monelli played 42 games for Lazio (37 in Serie B with 13 goals and 5 in Coppa Italia with one goal).


Bari managed to get promoted to Serie A and he scored 10 goals. He stayed for another year in Serie A but did not score much (4 goals in 21 games). After Bari he signed for Pescara in Serie B but suffered a serious injury which left him out for over a year. In January 1993 he moved to Vicenza in Serie C1. He ended his career with another three years in Serie C (Nola, Crevalcore and Palazzolo).


In total he played 167 League games in Serie A, 150 in Serie B and 65 in Serie C.


Once he stopped playing, he became a manager and head coach of Monza youth teams from 2000 to 2013. He is currently manager of Monza Women’s team.


Monelli will always be remembered fondly at Lazio for his goals that took the club back to Serie A after some very difficult years.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie B

Coppa Italia

1987-88

42 (14)

37 (13)

5 (1)

Sources


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