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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

A scandal

Updated: Apr 1

Game 13, Serie A

Sunday, December 18

Rome, Stadio Olimpico

Lazio Udinese 2-2

One of the biggest refereeing scandals in Lazio’s history. Gino Menicucci denies Lazio a deserved win and allows Udinese to draw. President Giorgio Chinaglia has to be restrained by several Lazio staff members.

Source Lazio Wiki

It’s very, very wet, gloomy and cold. Bruno Giordano was injured and Joao Batista suspended. Vincenzo D’Amico, as often happened in moments of crisis, took Lazio by the hand. A win would be absolutely fundamental.

Paolo Carosi had just arrived as new manager so Lazio did not really have much of a game plan. However, Udinese was completely absent so the Biancocelesti took advantage. Zico fouled Claudio Vinazzani 30 meters from the Udinese goal in the 19th minute and D’Amico took the free kick. His marvellous shot made it 1-0 for Lazio.

Udinese did not react and Lazio made it two. In the 36th minute D’Amico dribbled past a number of Udinese players and sent the ball in the penalty box. Angelo Cupini was ready to volley it in to make it 2-0.

Lazio was in control but along came Menicucci. Five minutes later he sent Gabriele Podavini off for having allegedly offended the linesman. The Lazio right back swears, to this day, that all he did was to say to the linesman that it was not a corner. And that he did insult somebody, but it is was a team mate! Lazio was however down to ten men.

In the second half Lazio pulled back to defend and Udinese had numerous chances to score. Luigi De Agostini hit the crossbar in the 78th minute and a few seconds later Edinho’s shot from outside the box went under a number of legs and into the back of the net. Menicucci then decided he wanted to be the absolute protagonist of the show and frustrated the Lazio players with countless controversial decisions. It was rumoured that there was bad blood between the Florentine ref and Giorgio Chinaglia before the match, so perhaps this explains the hostility.

Lazio seemed to cope defensively but then in injury time Udinese was awarded a free kick. Vinazzani was the only player forming the wall but Menicucci walked up and stood directly in front of him, not allowing the Lazio player to counter the cross. Edinho had all the time in the world and a clear path to send in the cross and Pietro Paolo Virdis equalised.

Chinaglia, who was nervously watching the game from the players entrance, at the final whistle stormed furiously onto the pitch screaming at Menicucci, brandishing his umbrella, ready to take justice in his own hands. He was blocked with great difficulty, held back by his friend and legendary Lazio busdriver Alfredo Recchia.

“It’s a scandal. Everybody saw what happened on the pitch. Referees who make fun of so many fans should not be allowed to ref”, he will say the end of match. “I have never seen anything like this in all my years in football”.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Orsi, Marini, Meluso

Manager: Carosi

Who played for Udinese

Brini, Galparoli, Cattaneo (46' Pradella), Gerolin, Edinho, De Agostini, Causio, Mauro II, Miano (70' A.Marchetti), Zico, Virdis.

Substitutes: Borin, Dominissini, Danelutti.

Manager: E. Ferrari.

Referee: Menicucci

Goals: 19’ D’Amico, 36’ Cupini, 78’ Edinho, 90’ Virdis

The number of past and future famous players playing this day for Udinese is very interesting. Edinho was part of the Brazil team that came third in Argentina in 1978. De Agostini will go on to play for Juventus and win a Uefa Cup in 1990 and be part of the Italy 1990 World Cup squad that came third. The “Barone” (Baron) Franco Causio, World Champion at the time, had won practically everything for Juventus in the 1970s and participated in the 1978 and 1982 World Cup. Virdis had won two scudetti with Juventus and will go on to win another with Milan as well as a European Cup. And there is Zico who, at that time, together with Diego Maradona and Michel Platini, was one of the greatest players in world football. He won virtually everything there was to win with Flamengo and was part of the Brazilian National Team in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cup.



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