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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

June 8, 1969: Lazio Lecco 3-0


Serie A!!!!!

 

By beating Lecco the Biancocelesti clinch promotion with two games to spare



Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far

 

The previous season Lazio had arrived 11th in Serie B. A rather dismal performance, so poor that at a certain point the Biancocelesti were close to the relegation zone. In the end they managed to stay in Serie B but just two points ahead of the five teams that finished on 36 and needed a playoff to determine who would join Novara and Potenza in Serie C (in the end Venezia and Messina were relegated).

 

The worst thing was the very low number of goals scored: just 27 in 40 games. Certainly not enough to have any chance of promotion. Manager Renato Gei had been sacked in February, substituted by faithful Bob Lovati.

 

Hence for the 1968-69 season there was a need for a new head coach and new forwards. Juan Carlos Lorenzo returned for his second stint at Lazio and a number of interesting players were signed: defender Mario Facco and midfielder Ferruccio Mazzola from Inter, forward Gian Piero Ghio from Avellino and three loans from Juventus: defender Guido Onor, goalkeeper Pietro Fioravanti and midfielder Elio Rinero

 

There was optimism for a return to Serie A.

 

Lazio had said goodbye to legendary keeper Idilio Cei (Palermo), Paolo Carosi (Catania) and Pierluigi Pagni (Spal on loan).

 

First, however, there was the Coppa Italia to play in September. Lazio were grouped with Roma, Bologna and Spal. The Biancocelesti lost the derby and drew the other two games 1-1. Roma won the group and eventually the Coppa Italia too.

 

The first six games were characterised by not great performances away from home (a draw and two loses) but big wins at home (4-1, 5-2, 4-0). A win at Mantova in the seventh game broke the negative away spell but then two home draws also broke the home record. Lazio however, were in a good position, just one point behind leaders Genoa and Foggia. The 4-0 win away at Cesena allowed the Biancocelesti to reach the top of the table in the company of Brescia and Genoa. Game 12 saw the beginning of a two-team race that lasted the whole season. Brescia and Lazio were either first or second from then on to the end of the tournament. At the end of the first half of the campionato, and after losing at Reggio Emilia, Lazio were second together with Bari, one point behind Brescia.

 

On April 20 there was the clash with the Lombards who preceded Lazio by one point. The Biancocelesti won and overtook Brescia. The next game Lazio drew at Perugia and Brescia caught up again, but from then on, the Biancocelesti took the lead and had never given it upper . There were three games to the end of the season and the table read: Lazio 47 points, Brescia 43, Reggiana and Bari 32. Three teams were promoted, so a win today against Lecco would mean Serie A.

 

The match: Sunday June 8, 1969, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

 

Lazio needed to win and began the game at full force. After just 6 minutes Ferruccio Mazzola II beat Giuseppe Meraviglia with a powerful shot giving the Biancocelesti the lead. After a first initiative by Aldo Sensibile, Giuliano Fortunato shaved the post and then the visitors’ goalkeeper was forced to make a difficult save on a Mazzola shot. In the 28th minute Mazzola II tried a shot from the centre of the box, the ball was deflected by Bravi, and it was 2-0 for Lazio.

 

The Biancoceleste monologue continued in the second half. A Giancarlo Morrone free kick slightly too high, a saved Mazzola II shot, and a Diego Zanetti attempt anticipated the third goal. In the 67th minute, Morrone to Carlo Soldo, ball to Mazzola who with another violent shot scored his brace.

 

Game over, Lazio were back in Serie A!!!

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Substitutes: Fioravanti, Rinero

Manager: Lorenzo

 

Who played for Lecco

 

Meraviglia, Bravi, Sensibile, Sacchi, Bacher, A.Marchetti, Gavinelli, Azzimonti, Jaconi, Virga, Canzi

Substitutes: Casiraghi, Schiavo

Manager: Gei

 

Referee: Genel

 

Goals: 6’ Mazzola II, 28’ Bravi (og), 67’ Mazzola II

 

What happened next

 

The certainty of winning the Serie B championship arrived a week later despite falling to Monza. As a consequence, the Biancocelesti would be playing the Mitropa Cup the following year.

 

It was a great season; Lazio were strong and had good players in every role. A mix of young talent and experience, well managed by Lorenzo. There was a lot of room for optimism for the 1960-70 season in Serie A.

 

The players with most appearances were Gian Piero Ghio and Ferruccio Mazzola (40) and Ghio was top scorer with 11 goals.

 

Lazio 1968-69

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

38

17

16

5

55

Coppa Italia

3

-

2

1

2

Total

41

17

18

6

57

Top five appearances (complete player statistics)

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

40

37

3

40

37

3

39

36

3

38

38

-

37

35

2

Top five goal scorers (complete player statistics)

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Gian Piero Ghio

11

10

1

Ferruccio Mazzola II

8

8

-

Giuliano Fortunato

8

8

-

7

6

1

6

6

-

Let's talk about Renato Gei


Source Lazio Wiki

Renato Gei was born on February 1, 1921 in Brescia. He debuted professionally at just 16 years of age with Brescia in Serie C. That year he scored the decisive goal in the promotion play off which sent the Rondinelle up to Serie B. He stayed until 1941, a season in which he was top scorer in Serie B. He was signed by Torino and then sent to Florence in the deal which brought Romeo Menti to Turin. In his first year he scored 18 goals. He stayed in Florence until 1948 (with the exception of the war years when he returned to Brescia) when he signed for Sampdoria. During his period in Genoa, he also earned two Nazionale caps in friendlies against Switzerland and Turkey. In 1953 he returned to Brescia and played for his hometown team for another two years. His final professional season was with Pavia in Serie C in 1955-56.

 

Once he stopped playing, he became a manager. His first job was with Sampdoria together with Eraldo Monzeglio. After two good years he moved across the divide and became head coach of Genoa in Serie B, taking them back to the first tier with an 11-point lead over second placed Napoli and Modena. That year, 1962, Genoa also won the Cup of the Alps. In 1963 he went back to Brescia in Serie B and after a first year characterised by a 7-point docking which did not allow the Rondinelle to get promotion, in his second he won the Serie B championship and led the team to safety in Serie A for another two years.

 

In 1967 he became manager of Lazio. The Biancocelesti had just been relegated and were looking for a prompt return to Serie A. But it was not a good year for Lazio who struggled and even risked relegation. He was sacked after 24 games and substituted by Bob Lovati.

 

In 1968 he became head coach at Lecco but at the end of the season they were relegated to Serie C. In 1969 he was on the bench for Atalanta in Serie B and the Bergamaschi avoided relegation by just one point. After a brief stint with Casertana, he became head coach of Brescia in 1973. After the first half of the Serie B season the Rondinelle were last, but he managed to guide them to safety. He started the 1973-74 season but was sacked half way. His final years as manager were with Parma in 1975 and Seregno for 1976-77.

 

At Lazio he was not one of those managers who will be remembered, but the team was pretty poor and continued the scoring drought that had characterised the previous seasons.

 

Gei died on May 20, 1999, in Nave near Brescia.


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