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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Long John punishes bitter rivals again

Updated: May 4

Game 8, Serie A

Sunday December 9, 1973

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Roma 2-1

Giorgio Chinaglia scores winner to make it three consecutive wins over Roma

Official SS Lazio photo

A grey, autumnal day witnessed the 97th Roman derby. It was announced as a sell-out but high ticket prices and the world oil crisis (no cars allowed in Rome today) meant the crowd was "only" about 60,000.

Roma were keen to avenge the previous season's two derby defeats but it was Lazio who had the first chances. One of last year's derby heroes Franco Nanni shot just high and then Renzo Garlaschelli forced keeper Conti to tip the ball over the bar with a venomous curling cross come shot.

Roma held their own and had periods of pressure but mainly crosses which came to nothing. It was Lazio who threatened again but "Long John" Chinaglia's shot went wide.

In the 24th minute young Vincenzo D'Amico was elbowed by Giorgio Morini and never really recovered. He went off for several minutes and then came on again but did not look himself.

In the 34th minute however Roma took the lead with a superb goal. Piergiorgio Negrisolo picked up the ball outside the area on the right and dribbled past three Lazio players (including a groggy D'Amico) and once inside the box fired a low left-footed shot past Felice Pulici. A great solo effort, Lazio 0 Roma 1.

Lazio reacted and Chinaglia freed himself in the area but his powerful shot was blocked by Alberto Batistoni. Halftime Lazio 0 Roma 1. A balanced game so far decided by a moment of brilliance by Negrisolo.

For the second half D'Amico did not reappear after his first half problems and was replaced by Paolo Franzoni.

The replacement took only a minute to get his name in the Lazio history books. In the 48th minute Mario Frustalupi found Garlaschelli on the right side of the area near the by-line and, despite being challenged by two defenders, he managed to square a cross into the middle where Franzoni twisted and dived, heading in Lazio's equaliser. Lazio 1 Roma 1. This was the moment Chinaglia famously celebrated pointing his index finger at the Curva Sud (many years later emulated by Paolo Di Canio).

From now on it was more Lazio than Roma. Chinaglia had a thundering free kick saved by Conti and then Sergio Santarini had to clear another Franzoni header off the line, following a clever Luciano Re Cecconi cross with the outside of his foot.

Lazio attacked but Roma occasionally eased the pressure on the break. Francesco "Kawasaki" Rocca went on one his customary runs down the left and crossed to Domenghini on the right inside the area, the former Cagliari controlled it well but then fired over the bar.

It was Lazio again who went closer. Gigi Martini, who had an excellent game, put a low through ball to Chinaglia in front of goal on the left but Conti came off his line and dived, saving Long John's shot with his feet.

Roma then had another counterattack. A good run by Renato Cappellini who jiggled through Lazio’s defence and teed up Batistoni in the heart of the area but his shot was weak and comfortably saved by Pulici.

In the 68th minute Lazio's pressure paid off. On a Re Cecconi cross from the left Chinaglia and Conti jumped up for the ball, the keeper touched it but could not hold onto it and it bounced free, Chinaglia back to the goal twisted and got a shot in that then bounced and deceived the keeper and a defender on the line. Not a pretty goal but an important one for the Biancocelesti. Lazio 2 Roma 1. There followed some controversy as the Giallorossi claimed Chinaglia had fouled Conti on the aerial challenge but there was nothing in it, as the evening TV analysis later confirmed.

Roma predictably piled forward desperate to avoid a third consecutive derby loss. They went close twice. First Prati tried an acrobatic bicycle kick which went just wide of the left post and then, with only three minutes remaining, Ciccio Cordova found Domenghini unmarked in the box and his low strike hit the post, came back to him but this time he sent it over the bar.

After the scare the last chance was for Franzoni. The unexpected protagonist of the derby was teed up by Chinaglia in front of Conti but on the right, he went for power over precision and hammered the ball which got stuck between the keeper's legs. Final score Lazio 2 Roma 1.

A hard fought, balanced and entertaining game had gone Lazio’s way again. Three in a row now and the Biancocelesti were keeping up with the front runners but today it was all about winning the "Stracittadina" always a huge satisfaction in Rome against the bitter rivals known as "i cugini" (the cousins).

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Moriggi, Facco

Manager: Maestrelli

Who played for Roma

P. Conti, Negrisolo, Peccenini, Rocca, Santarini, Batistoni, Domenghini, Morini, Cappellini, Cordova, Prati (80' Orazi)

Substitutes: Ginulfi, Di Bartolomei

Manager: Liedholm

Referee: C. Lo Bello

Goals: 34' Negrisolo, 46' Franzoni, 68' Chinaglia



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