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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 11, 1979: Lazio Ascoli 3-1

Updated: Mar 11

World class Giordano helps Lazio overcome tough Ascoli obstacle


Ascoli better side in first half but two “Bruno gol” second half strikes give Lazio hard earned win




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had finished 10th. They had started with Brazilian Luis Vinicio as manager but ended with replacement Roberto 'Bob' Lovati.


This season Lovati had been confirmed. Lazio's main change was in goal with Massimo Cacciatori arriving from Sampdoria. Two midfielders were added; Aldo Nicoli from Foggia and Fernando Viola back from a loan period at Bologna. In attack Aldo Cantarutti was signed from Monza.


The goalkeeper making space for Cacciatori was Claudio Garella. He had committed a series of howlers at Lazio and was nicknamed 'Garella paperella' (rubber duck- a play on words with Italian papera meaning howler in football lingo). He would however go on to win league titles with Verona and Napoli. Also leaving were midfielder Luigi Boccolini to Brindisi and Ernesto Apuzzo to Foggia while Sergio Clerici had retired.


Lazio drew the first match of the season 2-2 against Juventus and so far, had won 6 drawn 8 and lost 6. The week before today's game against the marchigiani Lazio had suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat at Vicenza and at this stage now had 20 points in the table. Their star centre-forward Bruno Giordano was on top form and had already scored 13 goals. It had so far been an inconsistent campaign with some great victories, such as the 4-0 against Fiorentina, but also disappointing defeats, Fiorentina 3-0, Inter 4-0, Catanzaro 3-1 and as mentioned, 4-1 Vicenza. The first derby was drawn 0-0. Much of Lazio’s hopes to get results were pinned on Vincenzo D'Amico's inventiveness and Bruno Giordano's excellent goal scoring form.


Ascoli were newly promoted having literally dominated the previous year’s Serie B. They had won the championship with a 17-point advantage. The manager Antonio Renna had assembled a good attacking side. Last year's attacking trio: Claudio Ambu (17 goals), Giovanni Quadri (14) and captain Adelio Moro (9) this year had been joined by former Juventus (78 goals in 285 games), Inter and Italy forward, Pietro Anastasi.


So far, this season in Serie A the Ascolani had won 5, drawn 7 and lost 8. They had drawn 0-0 with Lazio in the away game and also earned an away 0-0 draw at Milan. They had beaten Torino, Verona twice, Atalanta and Fiorentina. To be their first season back in Serie A and only the third in their history, the Picchi ("Woodpeckers") had a satisfactory 17 points in the league table.


The match: Sunday, March 11, 1979, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins

The game took place on a mild, sunny March day in front of 40,000 spectators.

The main talk before the match was the return to the Olimpico of scudetto winning goalkeeper Felice Pulici, known as Felix. Despite defending the Bianconeri of Ascoli's goal and colours, he was welcomed back warmly with applause, chants and flowers. Pulici was an unforgettable pillar of that crazy Lazio team that surprised Italy by winning the title in 1974. In a post-match interview Pulici confessed that during the match he never really got over the emotions of the heartfelt welcome he was given by the fans.


Today Lazio were missing Franco "Ciccio" Cordova in midfield due to suspension. This defection soon showed as the visitors’ midfield took control with Moro, Danilo Pileggi, Eugenio Perico and Gianfranco Bellotto. The first goal scoring opportunity however was for Lazio with Giordano hitting the crossbar with a cracking free kick. It was to be an isolated event as Ascoli were the superior team and deservedly took the lead in the 24th minute. A cross from the left by Perico found Quadri in the area and, despite being surrounded by defenders, headed the ball past Cacciatori. Lazio 0 Ascoli 1, so far a fair score.


Lazio reacted, especially with their two most talented players, Giordano and D'Amico. A dangerous Giordano shot was saved by Pulici in the 33rd minute and four minutes later the golden boy from Latina went close with a brilliant solo effort.


In the 42nd minute Lazio equalised. Ascoli were momentarily in ten men as Giuliano Castoldi was having some stomach problems and the Biancocelesti seized the moment. Aldo Nicoli went on a prolonged run down the left wing and then gave the ball inside to Nando Viola who crossed towards Giordano, the ball was half cleared and fell to Paolo Ammoniaci who unexpectedly hammered a left footed shot into the top hand corner. An unlikely protagonist to the rescue and just before halftime too, Lazio 1 Ascoli 1.


In the second half Ascoli again started the stronger and a Moro shot shaved the post. In the 56th minute however Lazio took the lead. Giordano after magically dribbling three defenders was fouled for a free kick. The "Trasteverino's" subsequent strike curled over the wall and beat Pulici. Lazio 2 Ascoli 1.


At this point the visitors' heads started to drop and Lazio took control. In the 62nd minute the Eagles scored again. A Gigi Martini cross was almost imperceptibly touched with his calf by Giordano, ending up in the back of the net. The ball did not even change direction but the striker swore the goal was his and Pulici confirmed he was deceived by the ever so light touch.


From then on Lazio dominated and easily played out the match without running any risks. A good win for Lazio although Ascoli had played well for an hour and the score line was perhaps a little harsh.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Fantini, Tassotti

Manager: Lovati


Who played for Ascoli


Pulici, Legnaro, Anzivino, Scorsa, Castoldi (41' Trevisanello II), Perico, Pileggi, Moro, Ambu, Bellotto, Quadri

Substitutes: Brini, Roccotelli

Manager: Renna


Referee: R. Lo Bello


Goals: 25' Quadri, 42' Ammoniaci, 56' Giordano, 62' Giordano



What happened next


Lazio finished in 8th position on 29 points, missing out on a European UEFA participation by 3 points. Lazio won 9, drew 11 and lost 10.


A week later Lazio triumphed in the derby against Roma. After being 1-0 down at half time (Cordova o.g ), Lazio equalised (De Sisti o.g) in the 56th and clinched the derby with a Nicoli 88th minute winner. On a personal note, that was the first time I saw Lazio defeat our eternal rivals live at the stadium, with the double satisfaction at the final whistle of seeing Roma supporters burning the seats in their own end (they were still made of wood in those days… the seats that is). Another funny episode was Ammoniaci being sent off in the 89th minute while he was coming onto the field, his "game" lasted literally two seconds.


The season also had other satisfactions. Promising young full back Mauro Tassotti came up from the youth team and made 14 league appearances plus one in the Coppa Italia. He would later go on to have an excellent career but unfortunately with A.C Milan.


Lazio's centre-forward Bruno Giordano was Serie A top scorer with 19 goals.


Ascoli finished the season in 10th position so reached the agonised "salvezza" (safety). A week later they drew 0-0 away at Perugia (who would come 2nd) and three weeks later earned a historic 1-0 home victory against Juventus, another prestigious result was an away 1-1 draw versus Inter. So all in all a good season for the Woodpeckers from Ascoli Piceno who ended up on 26 points after 7 wins, 12 draws and 11 defeats. Their top scorer was Adelio Moro with 7 goals (6 in Serie A). The next season however would be even better for Ascoli, but that's another story.


The scudetto was won by Milan for their 10th title ahead of a surprising Perugia. The teams relegated were Verona, Atalanta and Vicenza while Roma escaped by the skin of their teeth.


A curious fact about the 1978-79 championship was that it was the first season since 1966 (Italy's world cup fiasco against North Korea) to be played exclusively with Italian players. Foreign players had effectively been banned from 1966 but those already present were allowed to stay on. The last one, Lazio's Brazilian Sergio Clerici, had retired in 1978 making this year an all Italian affair. The borders would be reopened for the 1980-81 season with two allowed per team in Serie A.


Lazio 1978-79

Competition

Played

Won

Lost

Drawn

Goals scored

Serie A

30

9

11

10

35

Coppa Italia

6

2

4

-

3

Total

36

11

15

10

38

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Cacciatori

36

30

6

Giordano

36

30

6

Cordova

34

28

6

Manfredonia

34

28

6

Wilson

33

29

4

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Giordano

21

19

2

5

5

-

Wilson

2

2

-

D'Amico

2

2

-


Let's talk about Paolo Ammoniaci


Source Wikipedia

Paolo Ammoniaci was born in Bagno di Romagna, June 1, 1948. He spent his whole youth career at nearby Cesena. In 1966 he made his first team debut in Serie C but in his first two seasons only played 3 games for the Cavallucci Marini (The Seahorses). In 1968 Cesena were promoted to Serie B and Ammoniaci started playing more regularly.


He played five seasons in the second division for the Bianconeri. He made 163 appearances and scored one goal, in the 1972-73 season which coincided with Cesena's promotion to Serie A.


His Serie A debut came on October 7, 1973 versus Torino. For two seasons, under tough manager Eugenio Bersellini "Il Sergente di Ferro" (The Iron Sergeant), Ammoniaci was first choice full-back and contributed to Cesena staying up in the top flight. In total Ammoniaci played 218 games for Cesena with 1 goal.


In 1975, after ten years in his home region of Romagna, he left Cesena and joined Lazio. His first season in Rome was not easy as manager Tommaso Maestrelli was battling with a serious illness and was only present on and off. Ammoniaci however played 25 league games, 9 in Coppa Italia and 2 in the UEFA Cup. Lazio only narrowly avoided relegation.


In his second season in the capital things went better. A new manager Luis Vinicio and the blossoming of youth players Bruno Giordano, Lionello Manfredonia and Andrea Agostinelli helped Lazio to a positive 5th place. Ammoniaci played 29 league games and 4 in Coppa Italia.


The following season Lazio started under Luis Vinicio (1-25) and finished under Bob Lovati (25-30). Lazio were unable to repeat the 5th place and struggled to stay up. Ammoniaci unfortunately suffered a serious injury that kept him out for most of the season so he only played 6 games in Serie A, 4 in Coppa Italia and 3 in the UEFA Cup.


The 1978-79 season would be his last with the Biancocelesti. Ammoniaci recovered from his injury and played 25 league games and 6 in Coppa Italia. He scored his first goal for Lazio, a superb left-footed strike from the edge of the box against Ascoli.


In his last season he would also earn a curious record, that of the quickest sending off in Serie A history. In the last minute of a tense derby game, with Lazio leading 2-1, Ammoniaci was called on to substitute D'Amico. Play had not even restarted when he was already ordered off. Coming on, after only 2 seconds, he had got involved in some sort of scuffle with an opponent and given his marching orders by referee Menicucci. He therefore detains the record, a possibly unassailable 2 seconds.

At the end of the 1978-79 season he was sold to Palermo in Serie B. He stayed for two seasons making 71 appearances and scoring 3 goals for the Rosanero.


In 1981 he moved back home and joined Forlì in Serie C1. He stayed 3 seasons, his last in C2. He played 61 games for the Biancorossi. He then retired at 35.


After retiring he went into coaching. He started off at Cesena U-19's in 1986 and stayed four years. In 1990-91 he was first team manager at Perugia in C1. The following year he was at Baracca Lugo in C2 and in 1993-94 he was in charge at Ternana in Serie D. In 1997 he went back to Cesena for three years as assistant manager. In 2000 he briefly became first manager before slotting back to assistant for 2000-01.


Ammoniaci played 85 times for Lazio in Serie A over 4 seasons, 23 in Coppa Italia, 5 in the UEFA Cup and 2 in Intertoto Cup. He was a regular, steady left full-back. He was what Italians call " un giocatore onesto" (a decent player). He was reliable and constant, leaving the classier stuff to Manfredonia and especially captain Wilson. He surprised everyone by scoring that gem against Ascoli and still has the unenviable but amusing record of the speediest sending off in Serie A history. The fact that it came against Roma definitely did his legacy at Lazio no harm at all.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Intertoto Cup

1975-76

36

25

9

2

-

1976-77

33

29

4

-

-

1977-78

15

6

4

3

2

1978-79

31 (1)

25 (1)

6

-

-

Total

118 (1)

85 (1)

23

5

2

Source


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