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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

June 6, 1970: Lugano Lazio 3-3, Cup of the Alps

Good start, but could have done better

 

Lazio draw in their first Cup of the Alps game but they should have won




Source Wikipedia

The season so far

 

Lazio had just come back to Serie A after a couple of years in Serie B, and were hoping to stay up without suffering too much.

 

In the summer transfer window of 1969, two players were signed from Serie C team Internapoli that under the guidance of future Lazio 1970s manager Luis Vinicio had almost been promoted to Serie B: Giuseppe Wilson and Giorgio Chinaglia. The two will go on to make Lazio history.

 

Also arriving were goalkeeper Michelangelo Sulfaro (Sambenedettese), defender Giuseppe Papadopulo (Livorno) and in the autumn window defender Luigi Polentes (Perugia), midfielders Francesco Casisa (Ternana) and Franco Nanni (Trapani) plus forward Mario Tomy (Alessandria).

 

Many players left: Pietro Fioravanti, Guido Onor and Elio Rinero returned to Juventus after their year long loans, Corrado Leardi (Varese), Giovanni Masiello (Mantova), Diego Zanetti (Vicenza), Giuseppe Lorenzetti (Livorno), Pietro Adorni (Piacenza), Carlo Soldo (Monza), Piero Cucchi (Ternana), Arrigo Dolso (Monza on loan), Alberto Mari (Velletri) Costantino Fava (Livorno) and Romano Bagatti (Alessandria).

 

After a poor Coppa Italia campaign in September, Lazio had not done too badly. Despite losing the derby 2-1, they had beaten Milan and Fiorentina (5-1!!!) and one could have been reasonably satisfied. But any ambition was foiled by losing four games in the row towards the end of 1969. The beginning of the second half of the season did not go very well and at the beginning of March they were only two points above the relegation zone. But in the next nine games they lost just once and beat Juventus and Inter, thus arriving eighth.

 

In the Mitropa Cup the Biancocelesti were eliminated by Honved. In the Anglo Italian Cup, Lazio won two and lost two, arriving third in the final group of Italian teams behind Napoli and Fiorentina.

 

To end the season Lazio had to play the Cup of the Alps. This was a tournament that was jointly organised by the Italian and Swiss football federations and ran from 1960 to 1987. Italian and Swiss teams only played until 1966, but from 1967 until 1969 they were joined also by West German clubs (and in 1969 also by a Belgian team). Back to the original formula in 1970, from 1972 to 1987 only French and Swiss teams played.

 

The formula was a little bit complicated. Four Italian clubs (Lazio, Bari, Sampdoria and Fiorentina), four Swiss (Lugano, Young Boys, Zurich and FC Basel), each team played against the other clubs once but did not play against their compatriots. The best Italian and the best Swiss then played in the final.

 

Today’s game was the first one of the competition.

 

The match: Saturday, June 6, 1970, Stadio Cornaredo, Lugano

 

Lazio started strongly and after two minutes they were already ahead. Giuseppe Massa took a corner and Mario Facco volleyed the ball into the goal. But in the 17th minute the Swiss team equalised thanks to a marvellous Otto Luttrop curling shot on a free kick.

 

The Biancocelesti went back into attacking mode and after a Massa shot had shaved the post in the 20th minute, 60 seconds later Giorgio Chinaglia got hold of the ball and went off, dribbling past a few defenders and once close to the box put Lazio back in the lead with a powerful, left footed shot. It did not last long. In the 33rd minute corner for Lugano, Henning Hansen, son of former Lazio John Hansen, jumped higher than anybody and headed the ball past Rosario Di Vincenzo.

 

In the second half, Nello Governato and Gian Piero Ghio had some colossal chances and then the referee closed both eyes in the 67th minute when Pier Angelo Boffi stopped a Chinaglia shot with his hands in the box. Three minutes later Lugano scored their third. Ernst Tippelt from outside the box tried a shot that Di Vincenzo was unable to stop.

 

In the 78th minute Chinaglia was unlucky with a shot but a minute later the Biancocelesti equalised. A wonderful play by Lazio started by Pino Wilson who passed to Franco Nanni. Ball to Ghio who left it to Chinaglia, low cross from the left and Massa volleyed it in.

 

Lazio did have one last chance to win the match, but the game ended in a draw.

 

Who played for Lugano

 

Prosperi (46' Malnati), Boffi, Indemini, Berset, Pullica, Coduri, Bernasconi (17' Gottardi), Hansen, Blattler, Luttrop, Tippelt

Manager: Sing

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Manager: Lorenzo

 

Referee: Michelotti

 

Goals: 2’ Facco, 17’ Luttrop, 21’ Chinaglia, 33’ Hansen, 70 Tippelt, 79’ Massa

 

What happened next

 

Lazio then went on to beat Young Boys and Zurich but lost the final game against Basel which meant that Fiorentina would play the final by just one point.

 

The player with the most appearances was Rino Marchesi with 43 and top scorer Giorgio Chinaglia with 20 goals in all competitions.


Lazio 1969-70

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

11

7

12

33

Coppa Italia

3

-

1

2

-

Mitropa Cup

2

-

-

2

2

Total

35

11

8

16

35

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

Marchesi

35

30

3

2

Massa

32

27

3

2

Chinaglia

31

28

1

2

Wilson

31

28

1

2

Ghio

29

25

2

2

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Mitropa Cup

Chinaglia

14

12

2

Massa

5

5

-

Ghio

5

5

-

Mazzola

3

3

-


Let’s talk about Gigi Bezzi

Gigi Bezzi with Tommaso Maestrelli. Source Lazio Wiki

The 1973-74 scudetto, as we all know, was made possible thanks to a wild and talented bunch of players managed by the maestro Tommaso Maestrelli. But, behind the scenes, there were also others who made that miracle possible. Among these was Luigi Bezzi, team manager of that wonderful team.

 

Luigi Bezzi was born in Rome on August 18, 1935. The definition of team manager is a fairly limited description of what he did for Lazio. He started with the De Martino (reserves) team in the late 1960s and in the 1969-70 season he took over the role that Guido Giambartolomei had to leave for professional and personal reasons.

 

Bezzi was a middle man between Tommaso Maestrelli, the team and the club. Maestrelli had absolute faith in him. He was the man that the Maestro used to talk to and explain the problems he was having, certain that Gigi would solve them. He was an active member of the bench during the scudetto and continued in the difficult years that followed with the death of Maestrelli and the absurd passing of Luciano Re Cecconi. Candid, calm, passionate, a good person who always managed to get people on his side with competence and a smile. He was also great with the media, at times leaking useless information to keep them happy in the belief that he had given away something important. He was the one who communicated to a player that he would not be picked on the Sunday and did so with such eloquence that he always managed to convince him that it was for the good of the team. He was a fixer, someone who always mended what was broken.

 

He died on March 4 1984, a year before Doctor Renato Ziaco. He is always remembered as a fundamental piece of that marvellous team that in 1974 won the scudetto against all odds.


Sources


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