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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Lazio edge Catania in boiling cauldron and see Serie A

Updated: Apr 29

Game 37, Serie B

Sunday, June 5, 1983

Stadio Olimpico, Roma

Lazio Catania 2-1

In inhumane conditions Lazio beat the Sicilians thanks to former player Mastropasqua's own goal

Source Lazio WIki

A June afternoon is never an ideal time to play a game of football in Rome but today the conditions were worse than average. There were 37 degrees and a high level of humidity. The fans had filled the stadium by midday for a three o'clock kick-off. This was before the stadium was covered for Italia '90, so many spectators had to be hosed down by the fire brigade to avoid frying in the heat.

There was a full house today, 65,000, with 15,000 being Catanesi.

The early stages were tense and scrappy. The heat and the importance of the game sapping lucidity out of both teams. There was more excitement in the stands than on the field until the 12th minute. Claudio Ambu flew out of a double challenge by Giorgio Mastropasqua and Claudio Ranieri and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Giordano struck a powerful central shot to put Lazio in front. Lazio 1 Catania 0.

Catania responded well and pegged Lazio in defence. They equalised in the 27th minute. D'Amico was dispossessed by Ennio Mastalli, the ball went to Aldo Cantarutti who back-heeled it to Mastalli again, his assist reached Angelo Crialesi who took it forward and beat Fernando Orsi coming off his line. All square, Lazio 1 Catania 1.

In the 33rd minute Lazio were forced to replace an injured Marco Saltarelli with Renato Miele.

The game was balanced although Catania were more harmonious as a team while Lazio were more technical. It was stop-start with a lot of fouls, the bad blood after the controversial away game in Catania not helping (some journalists at the time compared it to a rugby match). Just before halftime the visitors went close to taking the lead when a Pier Giuseppe Mosti header was blocked by Enrico Vella. Half time 1-1.

In the second half the oppressive heat and tension still reigned. Catania however went extremely close again in the 55th minute when a Mosti header hit the crossbar. Lazio then replaced Lionello Manfredonia with the fresher legs of young Giancarlo Marini.

Catania seemed to be on top but in the 65th minute came the lucky break and it fell to Lazio. Gabriele Podavini won a fifty-fifty ball and tried his luck from outside the area, his low shot took a deflection off former teammate Mastropasqua and beat Roberto Sorrentino. Lazio 2 Catania 1. Curiously it was not Mastropasqua's first own goal in Lazio's favour. Ten years earlier while playing for Ternana he had put the ball in his own net giving Lazio an away 1-0 win in Umbria.

The pandemonium that broke out among the Lazio fans combined with the horrific heat meant many fans had to be assisted by medical staff.

The game went on and Catania, maybe used to volcanic heat, had more energy. In the 71st minute the Sicilians struck the crossbar again and in the 87th minute Orsi saved a venomous Cantarutti free kick into corner. Lazio were groggy and on the ropes, desperately holding on by any means possible (yes also by blatantly wasting time, we are in Italy after all). Finally, Menicucci blew up and Lazio could celebrate with the little energy left, players and fans alike.

The bad blood between the players continued on the pitch (Paolo Pochesci was sent off after the final whistle for fighting with Cantarutti) and apparently in the tunnel leading to the changing rooms.

There were clashes between the fan groups after the match too, the heat and tension had got to everyone.

An absolutely crucial win for Lazio. It had not been easy, far from it, but now the Biancocelesti needed just one more point at Cava de' Tirreni in a week's time. More good news was that Cavese had lost today, so were out of the promotion race.

The table read Milan 53 (promoted), Lazio 45, Cremonese 44, Catania 43, Como 43. The week's mantra was one point, one point, one point...repeat.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Moscatelli, Sciarpa, Chiodi

Manager: Morrone

Who played for Catania

Sorrentino, Ranieri, Mosti, Giovanelli, Chinellato (67' Barozzi), Mastropasqua, Morra II, Mastalli, Cantarutti, Crusco, Crialesi

Substitutes: Onorati, Ciampoli, Marino, Gamberini

Manager: Di Marzio

Referee: Menicucci

Goals: 13' Giordano (pen), 27' Crialesi, 65' Mastropasqua (o.g)



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