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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

June 7, 1908: Lazio Win Three Games In One Day

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Lazio win three matches in one day

Lazio win three games in one day in Pisa, playing with the same XI. No other club in history has even managed such a feat.

Source Wikipedia

The season so far

In December 1907 the Lazio players and staff met at the Casina dell’Uccelleria in the Villa Borghese park to discuss how to organise the season. Silivio Mizzi was named coach with Guido Baccani technical director. Francisco Dos Santos was named skipper for the first team and Alberto Canalini for the second. Pre-season training started on December 15.

The teams in Rome that Lazio could compete with were Roman, Virtus, Alba, Audace and Robur but not all of these clubs wanted to play against Lazio, due to the fact that the Biancocelesti were so good the others preferred to play among themselves. Lazio did play against Virtus on November 21st and lost, but that was also because the players had not trained a single day in months.

Between January and February Lazio won the Coppa Tosti by beating Roman 5-3 and the Coppa Viscogliosi-Bacelli (4-2 vs Virtus).

In May Lazio invited the mighty teams from the north to play a tournament in Rome. There was a preliminary round where Lazio demolished Roman 8-1 and qualified for the next round together with Naples. But Milanese was way too good and Lazio lost 6-0.

The Pisa Interregional Tournament

For June Lazio got invited by the Tuscany Committee to play the Pisa Interregional Tournament. The competition should have taken place over four days with the participation of Foot-ball Club Spezia, Virtus Juventusque Livorno, Foot-ball Club Lucca, Spes Livorno, Forza e Coraggio from Pisa and the Biancocelesti. The idea of the organisers was that since Lazio were so strong in Rome and they no longer had any decent opponents, they could play the winner of the competition and it could be a type of Central Italy final. “You are all students, so just come up for the final on Sunday” said the invitation letter.

There was a great debate at the club on who was going to go and the need to find the money for the trip. Sante Ancherani chose the team:

  1. Guglielmo Bompiani. Born in Rome on November 16, 1890, his brother would later become a famous Italian publisher. He was a Major in the Bersaglieri during World WarI

  2. Francesco Marrajeni. Born in Naples in 1889, he became a General.

  3. Egisto Federici. Born in Milan on January 21, 1897, he had played for Milan and was doing his military service in Rome.

  4. Prospero Omodei. Born in Turin on October 18, 1888, he would become a chemist.

  5. Francisco Dos Santos. Born in Paioes (Portugal) on October 22, 1878, he would become one of the founding members of Benfica.

  6. Augusto Faccani. Born in Rome on May 31 1891, he was a fruit seller, one of the pillars of Lazio until 1923. Also a good swimmer, fencer, water polo player and javelin thrower.

  7. Corrado Corelli. Born in Rome on August 19 1884, he would play for Lazio until 1923. He fought in both the World Wars and later became a sculptor.

  8. Filiberto Corelli. Born in Anticoli Corrado, near Rome, on August 11 1886, he was son of a famous Italian painter (Augusto) and he too would become a full time painter.

  9. Sante Ancherani (see later)

  10. Fernando Saraceni. Born in Rome on January 20, 1891, he was the youngest member of the team.

  11. Fernando Pellegrini. Born in Rome on December 5 1885, one of the early players.

There was a problem though. The Corelli brothers played for Virtus. Ancherani had tried to get them to play for Lazio many times but they had always refused. This time they accepted and this can be considered to be the first “transfer” deal in Lazio history.

The team was ready, so off they went to Pisa, on a third class train. They left the day before the match and arrived at night. They were met by the organizing committee who informed them that the mayor had made sure they all had a bed to sleep on. So when they arrived at the School where they had to spend the night they saw a dozen improvised beds made up of large sacks full of corn leaves. For the times, they felt like royalty.

At 8 o’clock on the morning of the 7th they were all ready to hit the town as tourists when the organising committee approached the Laziali. “We have a problem. You are supposed to play the game at 4.30 pm, but the Lucca team, which has been eliminated, has demanded to play another match against you”. The Biancocelesti reluctantly agreed and at 10 am there was the first game.

Lucca FBC – Lazio 0-3

Not a lot is known about this match with the exception of the score, the fact that Ancherani probably scored the first goal, and the name of the referee, Mr. Spensley from the Genoa Football Club. The referee was the same for all three games.

Next up

After the game, the Lazio team all went to eat in the trattoria where the committee had organised lunch. As the players were finishing, a couple of messengers from the organisers arrived. “We have a problem. Spes Livorno heard that Lucca played against you and they too want a match”. The players looked at each other in disbelief, but agreed.

Spes Livorno Lazio 0-4

The match started at 2pm and Lazio won comfortably with two goals each from Omodei and Saraceni I. There were 500 spectators, a lot of people at the time.

NB. There is some debate on who Lazio actually played against in the second match since Ancherani, interviewed for the book Lazio Patria Nostra by Mario Pennacchia, claimed it was Pisa, but Lazio Wiki has found out by consulting the newspapers of the time that Lazio instead played against Spes. In the book the date is brought back a year, 1907, but documents found by Lazio Wiki instead show that the competition took place in 1908.

At the end of the game, quick massage, an orange, and time for the game the team actually came for.

Virtus Juventusque Lazio 0-1

Ancherani told the team: “We’re all tired and have not got much energy left. They are going to attack us, we let them do so and try to waste the least energy possible by playing in defence. At the end of the first half we’ll see where we stand”. An early form of catenaccio!!!

The first half followed the script prepared by Ancherani. Virtus attacked but never quite managed to get near the Lazio goal. The Biancoceleste wall was impenetrable. The first half finished goalless. “Let’s continue like we have done for another half an hour. When they get tired, we start moving forward with our usual plan”, said Ancherani to the team.

What was the usual plan? Whoever had the ball in defence had to send a high pass to Saraceni I who in turn had to pass to Corrado Corelli on the right. The winger had to go as fast as he could to the byline and cross into the middle for Ancherani.

In the second half Lazio tried this tactic once, twice, three times, but always failed. They tried again, seven minutes from time. Faccani’s long pass reached Saraceni who immediately sent Corelli flying down the wing on a counter attack. The winger reached the byline on the right, looked up and crossed. Ancherani moved between two defenders, controlled the ball and volleyed it into the goal.

Great joy for Baccani and a handful of Rome soldiers watching the match. Lazio triumphed. Three games between 10 am and 6 pm, three wins, all with the same team.

Ancherani sent a telegram “Won tournament, 3-0, 4-0, 1-0”. Back at the club nobody understood but when the team got back from Pisa the word spread and those players became legends.

Let's talk about Sante Ancherani

Source Wikipedia

Sante Ancherani was a football pioneer and the first captain of Lazio. A mythical and legendary figure, part of those early Lazio years when football was only just born in the capital of Italy.

Born in Cotignola, near Ravenna on September 6 1882, at the age of four his family moved to Rome. He was first noticed by a group of early members of the Società Podistica Lazio in February 1900. He ran like the wind and never stopped. They even timed him on the 100 metres: 13.8 seconds, a great time for the period. “Perhaps we made a mistake, shall we time him again?” 13 seconds flat. He was immediately made a member of Lazio and held the membership card number 6.

Football was an unknown sport at the time. Some British sailors in Genoa and Palermo had just started to play and elsewhere in the country there were some Scottish seminarians, in Italy for study, who started to teach the game. There was a national championship, but it was limited to teams from Liguria and Piedmont. In January 1901 Bruto Seghettini arrived in the Lazio offices of Via Valadier 21 asking if anybody played football. Nobody knew what he was talking about so Bruto produced a ball and this is when football was introduced to the capital.

Ancherani fell in love with the new game immediately and tried to convince others at Lazio to play. The early pioneers played amongst themselves in the fields behind Piazza della Libertà using military boots, extremely handy for kicking the ball. Sometimes carriages stopped to have a look at those lads running after a ball.

The first matches were organised and legend has it that Lazio lost their first game against the Scots college 11-0 (a college for student priests). But the kids were not giving up. Ancherani went to the UK and came back with a pair of football boots. He went to a shoemaker he knew who studied these boots and reproduced them for the team. Meanwhile, there was a schism in Lazio and a group of people formed Virtus. Now Lazio could compete with another team, so they trained hard. The first game was played on May 15 1904 at Piazza d’Armi, Lazio won 3-0 and Ancherani scored all three goals.

Santino also played the trumpet and was very good at it and joined the city band.

During the years football began to increase in popularity and Lazio were the strongest team in the capital. They were invited to play in Tuscany in 1908 for the Pisa Interregional Tournament which they won, beating three teams in a single day.

He was centre forward, captain and, in the early days, also manager.

Ancherani continued to play football for as long as he could even though it was difficult due to his day job. When the First World War broke out he was called to the army and joined the front in the 27th Pavia Regiment on July 10 1916. He was on the front line for two years, probably part of some military band.

Back in Rome after the war, he opened a sports shop and literally supplied all the footballs and kits for the capital. He never missed a Lazio game and was a great Silvio Piola fan. He was able to see Lazio win their first silverware with the 1958 Coppa Italia.

Sante Ancherani died on September 9, 1971 at 89 years of age. He would have loved the 1973-74 squad that won the scudetto, but alas, that was not to be.

Apart from the Pisa tournament, with Lazio he won the first Roman championship of 1907 and the Third Category Lazio Championship three times(1909-10, 1910-11 and 1911-12).

He was the father of football in the capital and always held on to his No. 6 membership card. A Laziale for life.



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