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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

June 6, 1982: Lazio Varese 3-2

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

D’Amico’s miracle


Thanks to a D’Amico hat trick Lazio avoid relegation worries


Source Wikipedia

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had gone agonisingly close to an immediate promotion to Serie A. A missed penalty in the penultimate match had condemned the Biancocelesti to another year of Serie B.


Lazio had changed ownership and Gian Casoni was the new president. There was not a lot of money so the club was forced to sell a few of their best players, Filippo Citterio and Dario Sanguin plus promising youngster Lorenzo Marronaro. The transfer window saw the return of scudetto heroes Felice Pulici and Vincenzo D’Amico plus Roberto Badiani. Also signed were Walter Speggiorin, Vincenzo Chiarenza and Claudio Vagheggi. There was a surprise deal with Roma which saw Michele De Nadai and Carlo Perrone swap sides of the Tiber. Manager Ilario Castagner had been confirmed.


Lazio had ambition but the team was not helped by the internal dualism between Luciano Moggi, who had been confirmed Sports Director, and Antonio Sbardella, newly appointed General Director. The players were under constant pressure and that did not help.


Lazio, after having been immediately eliminated in Coppa Italia, had not played well but after 18 games they were just a couple of points off the promotion zone. In the last game of the first half of the season Lazio crumbled against Palermo and Castagner was sacked. He was replaced by the head coach of the Primavera team Renato Clagluna, his first experience with an A team.


The situation did not improve. In the next 17 games Lazio drew 9 times (including 4 consecutive goalless draws) and only won three matches. With two games left to the end of the season, Lazio were just three points clear of relegation. Varese, on the other hand, had had a splendid season and were just one point away from promotion to Serie A. A very difficult match for Lazio.


The match: Sunday, June 6, 1982, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Despite it being the last home game of the season, the Olimpico was virtually empty. A bad year that all fans wanted to forget.


Varese started very well and scored in the 6th minute. Franco Salvadè whizzed down the left wing and crossed into the box, Ennio Mastalli could not connect but Franco Turchetta did, 1-0 for Varese.


After a probable penalty on Vincenzo D’Amico (who was forced to leave the pitch for three minutes) ignored by the referee, in the 14th minute Varese doubled. Vincenzo Di Giovanni passed the ball to Gabriele Bongiorni who, back to the goal, managed to turn around despite being surrounded by Lazio defenders, and put the ball past Maurizio Moscatelli.


Lazio were playing dismally and Varese could have easily scored another if they had wanted, but the Lombard team, satisfied with the double advantage, stopped playing. The Biancocelesti were almost forced to do something. In the 26th minute Claudio Vagheggi to Leonardo Surro who in the box was fouled by Bongiorni. Penalty for Lazio taken by D’Amico with a big central whack. Two minutes later the Lazio Golden Boy was fouled on the far right near the penalty box. Everybody was expecting a cross, which would have been the more logical thing to do, but D’Amico shot around the wall onto the front post and scored. 2-2 and Lazio back into the game.


Varese could not believe it. The Biancocelesti were dead and buried but now they had to start all over again. They attacked but not as clinically as in the first minutes of the game. Lazio seemed content with having equalised but in the 48th minute VIncenzo Chiarenza hit the woodwork and in the 73rd there was another penalty for the Biancocelesti. Free kick on the right, Chiarenza crossed the ball into the box and Alberto Bigon was pushed from behind as he was about to head the ball. For Agnolin it was a penalty and D’Amico scored the spot kick for his and Lazio’s third.


Varese attacked but they had lost their nerve and so Lazio earned two vital points and were mathematically safe. Varese would now need a miracle to get promoted.


Who played for Lazio


Moscatelli, Spinozzi, Chiarenza, Pochesci, Pighin, Sanguin, Vagheggi, Badiani, D’Amico, De Nadai, Surro (62’ Bigon)

Substitutes: Marigo, Mirra, Montesi, Meluso

Manager: Clagluna


Who played for Varese


Rampulla, G.Vincenzi, Salvadè (78' Palano), Strappa, Limido, Cerantola, Di Giovanni, Mauti (32' Scaglia), Mastalli, Bongiorni, Turchetta.

Substitutes: Zunico, Fraschetti, Zubiani.

Manager: Fascetti


Referee: Agnolin


Goals: 6’ Turchetta, 14’ Bongiorno, 26 D’Amico (pen), 28’ D’Amico, 73 D’Amico (pen)



What happened next


Eugenio Fascetti still to this day says that Varese were robbed of the result. He claims that Lazio were saved because if they had lost, they would have gone down. To be fair, to Lazio, if the Biancocelesti had lost all they would have needed was a point at Palermo to avoid Serie C and they would have faced the Rosaneri with a different attitude had they not been safe yet. As it was, Lazio lost the last game 3-2. Furthermore, the only controversy was on Lazio’s second penalty but Bigon really had been fouled.


In conclusion, a dismal season for Lazio who had started the campionato with high hopes. Chiarenza was the player with most appearances (41) and D’Amico with the most goals (10) with two hat tricks.


Lazio 1981-82

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

38

11

15

12

38

Coppa Italia

4

-

1

3

3

Total

42

11

16

15

41

Top five apperances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Chiarenza

41

37

4

Vagheggi

38

34

4

De Nadai

37

33

4

Mastropasqua

37

33

4

Badiani

33

31

2

D'Amico

33

30

3

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

D'Amico

10

10

-

Vagheggi

9

9

-

De Nadai

5

4

1

Ferretti

4

3

1

Bigon

3

3

-

Viola

3

3

-

Let's talk about Vincenzo D'Amico


Source Wikipedia

Vincenzo D’Amico was one of the greatest talents in Italian football. Young hero of the 1973-74 scudetto, he was a player that on a good day could be as good as Pele. He often came to the rescue when Lazio were in difficulty, a true captain. He probably would have deserved more, especially at Nazionale level, but a general ostracism on behalf of selectors never allowed him to help his country. He played as a number 10, but at times also at midfield.


Born in Latina, near Rome, on November 5 1954, he started playing football with the youth team Cos Latina and then joined Almas in 1969. He was noted by Lazio’s scout and former player Carlo Galli and joined the Biancocelesti in 1970. Undisciplined, he often got into trouble and he certainly liked his food, but he was a natural talent. He played in the Primavera team and the reserves championship but suffered a first bad injury which forced him to stop for a while. By the time he debuted professionally on May 21 1971 against Modena, he was a well-known name among fans. Actually, many went to see that match just to have a first glimpse of Lazio’s Golden Boy, as many called him at the time.


In 1972 he suffered another bad injury which forced him to stop playing for over a year. After just missing out on the scudetto of 1972-73, for the next season manager Tommaso Maestrelli selected him for the pre-season training to see if he had fully recovered. He debuted in Serie A on October 14 1973 and basically never left.


Maestrelli made sure Vincenzo never got into trouble by confiscating his driver’s licence, limiting his wages, and making sure, via Pino Wilson, that he did not eat too much. It worked, as D’Amico became one of the protagonists of Lazio’s scudetto at just 19 years of age.


“You know why Lazio did not win the scudetto in 1973? Because I was not there. As soon as I came into the team Lazio won. That was the difference between those two years”, he often said jokingly, but not too much.

When Giorgio Chinaglia left, he found an attacking partner in Bruno Giordano who thanks to his assists became a lethal goal scorer. With age, D’Amico also became more responsible on the pitch. In 1976, with Lazio very near relegation and without Chinaglia who had left to play for New York Cosmos, he took the team by the hand and led them to victory against Milan. Lazio stayed in Serie A.


He suffered another serious injury in 1977 which kept him out for most of the season. In 1978 he was sold to Inter but he refused to go and stayed in Rome.


In 1980 Giordano, Lionello Manfredonia, Wilson and Massimo Cacciatori were arrested for match fixing. But there was a game to be played which was fundamental to avoid relegation. D’Amico took a team full of young players by the hand once again and helped them to safety.


Lazio were relegated just the same due to the match fixing punishment. The problem was that President Umberto Lenzini had sold Giordano and Manfredonia and as a consequence invested heavily in the summer transfer window. But now the deals were off, so Lazio were forced to sell D’Amico. He signed for Torino taking the place of Claudio Sala, who had achieved hero status at the club after winning a scudetto in 1975-76.


He personally did not do too badly under manager Ercole Rabitti, but the team was not doing well and the manager was sacked. Under Romano Cazzaniga he played a lot less and at the end of the season he asked to go back to Lazio.


He returned to a team that had suffered a big disappointment. While D’Amico was away the Biancocelesti with two games to the end of the season were joint second with Genoa and Cesena on 44 points. Genoa and Cesena won away; Lazio were struggling against Vicenza. In the 90th minute, the Biancocelesti were awarded a penalty. Stefano Chiodi, who had never missed a spot kick in his entire career, kicked the ball out. Lazio stayed in Serie B.


When D'Amico returned the team struggled and a return to Serie A was never a possibility. Far from it, in the last home game against Varese Lazio had to win to avoid relegation. Trailing two nil after just 15 minutes, D’Amico once again took the team by the hand and with a hat trick allowed Lazio to avoid serious trouble.


In 1982-83, Giordano and Manfredonia returned to play and with D’Amico’s help took Lazio to an agonised promotion. At a certain point all seemed lost, but Lazio managed a comeback and clinched promotion with a draw in the last game. To remember is D’Amico’s memorable goal against Milan. Lazio were 2-1 down and in the dying minutes Enrico Vella gave a great ball to Vincenzo. His shot hit the crossbar, Milan were unable to clear, ball back to D’Amico who equalised.


The first year in Serie A was not easy. Giorgio Chinaglia had come back as President but Lazio were struggling. Things went from bad to worse. In a match at Ascoli, Giordano broke his leg following a ruthless tackle by Antonio Bogoni (who was not even booked). Lazio had only nine points after the first half of the season. At this point D’Amico and Manfredonia took matters in their own hands and stepped up to lead the team. Lazio managed to avoid relegation in the last match. Unforgettable were his two goals against Roma in the derby which allowed Lazio to draw a game where they were clearly underdogs.


Nobody could do very much in the 1984-85 season. The disastrous decision to sack Paolo Carosi and call Juan Carlos Lorenzo to manage Lazio by Chinaglia was a nail in the coffin for the BIancocelesti's hopes of avoiding relegation. The 1985-86 season was his last year at Lazio. Physical problems limited his appearances to just 12.


In total Vincenzo D’Amico played 338 games for Lazio (201 in Serie A, 75 in Serie B, 55 in Coppa Italia and 7 in the UEFA Cup) and scored 51 goals (25 in Serie A, 15 in Serie B and 11 in Coppa Italia). He is in ninth place as far as number of total appearances for Lazio is concerned, ahead of Cristian Ledesma and behind Luca Marchegiani.


In 1986 he signed for Ternana in Serie C2 and stayed for two seasons before an umpteenth serious injury forced Vincenzo to retire.

Vincenzo D'Amico is first from right kneeling

As far as the Nazionale is concerned, D’Amico had a difficult relationship. He played in the Juniors as a kid, in the Under-23 and the B team. But was never taken into consideration by Enzo Bearzot until he moved to Torino. Then he was called a couple of times but never got to play. A final argument with Bearzot then eliminated all future possibilities.


After he stopped playing D’Amico did some scouting for Lazio and managed some amateur teams. His main job however has been as commentator for RAI, the state-owned television channel, particularly Serie B.


Death


Vincenzo died in Rome on July 1, 2023. He had been fighting against cancer for the past couple of years and in a post on Facebook on May 7 he had written “they tell me that cancer patients churn out unexpected forces!!! I’m trying”.


Lazio issued a statement: “President Claudio Lotito and all the S.S. Lazio learn with great pain and deep emotion the news of the death of Vincenzo D`Amico, undisputed protagonist of the 1973/74 Scudetto. Lazio legend and courageous captain in difficult moments for the Club, Vincenzino, as many have always kept calling him, made fans of different generations fall in love with his magic on the pitch and his infinite attachment to the jersey. D`Amico played for Lazio from 1971 to 1980 and, after a year in Turin, from 1981 to 1986: he never lacked passion, commitment and dedication to the Biancocelesti colours. President Lotito, on behalf of the entire Club, extends his most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We will never forget you, Vincenzo!”


D’Amico was a Lazio legend. Loved by the fans, his attachment to Lazio in times of trouble was always commendable and he will never be forgotten.

O Captain! My captain!


Lazio career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

1971-72

6 (1)

-

1

5 (1)

-

1973-74

33 (2)

27 (2)

-

6

3

1974-75

30 (1)

26

-

4 (1)

-

1975-76

31 (5)

22 (4)

-

8 (1)

1

1976-77

21 (3)

17 (2)

-

4 (1)

-

1977-78

14 (3)

9 (2)

-

2 (1)

3

1978-79

28 (3)

25 (2)

-

3 (1)

-

1979-80

33 (5)

28 (4)

-

5 (1)

-

1981-82

33 (10)

-

30 (10)

3

-

1982-83

38 (5)

-

34 (4)

4 (1)

-

1983-84

32 (8)

25 (7)

-

5 (1)

-

1984-85

25 (3)

22 (2)

-

3 (1)

-

1985-86

11 (2)

-

10 (1)

1 (1)

-

Total

338 (51)

201 (25)

75 (15)

55 (11)

7

Sources


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