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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

March 12, 1944: Lazio Alba 3-0

Dusk for Alba

 

Lazio come to terms with the wet pitch and score three in the second half




Source SS Lazio Museum

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had finished ninth. They won against strong teams but this was balanced with poor performances and defeats with weaker teams. Lots of goals scored but also lots of goals conceded.


For the 1943-44 season Serie A had been suspended due to the Second World War. Instead of a national tournament, local competitions had been organised. In Rome, there was the war championship with ten teams: Lazio, Roma, Tirrenia, Mater, managed by Fulvio Bernardini who also played, Juventus Romana, Vigili del Fuoco (Fire Brigade), Avia, Alba (Orlando Tognotti was the manager), Elettronica (with Attilio Ferraris IV as player-manager) and Trastevere. De facto it was a battle between the first two teams who came from Serie A. Mater had played the previous season in Serie B, the other teams were from third and fourth tiers.


Lazio had Dino Canestri as head coach and some of the players who had stayed in Rome. One must consider that the capital had been occupied by Nazi Germany. Many Lazio players had been stopped by the SS and only managed to avoid deportation thanks to safe-conduct given to players.


So far, the Biancocelesti were second, one point behind Roma and one ahead of Tirrenia.


The match: Sunday, March 12, 1944, Stadio Rondinella, Rome


The game was played on a rain drenched pitch, hence it was difficult to control the ball. There were large puddles in some parts. The two teams did try to play and the first half was good, with the ball moving from one side of the pitch to the other. In the 34th minute Erminio Battaglia with a great reflex managed to anticipate Umberto Lombardini. Otherwise play stationed mainly at midfield.


All three goals were scored in the second half. In the 57th minute, Armando Longhi sent a ball in the box, Oddi tried to clear but it only reached Englebert Koenig who shot. Polverani saved on the line and the Lazio forward was ready for the tap in.


Seven minutes later Longhi scored. The linesman had raised his flag due to a possible off-side, but the referee did not agree and the goal was confirmed despite protests from the visitors. Lombardini made it 3-0 in the 78th minute.


Lazio could then have scored even more goals, but the result did not change.


Who played for Lazio

 

Rega, Valenti, De Pierro, Gualtieri, Andreolo, Risso, Mancini, Longhi, Lombardini, Manola, Koenig.

Manager: Canestri


Who played for Alba


Battaglia, Polverani, Trombetta, Roberti, Dell'Innocenti, Oddi, Piatti, Testoni, Argentieri, Urilli, Sabatini.

Manager: Tognotti.

 

Referee: Cappucci

 

Goals: 57’ Koenig, 64’ Longhi, 78’ Lombardini

 

What happened next


Lazio overtook Roma in the 14th match after having beaten Juventus Roma 4-0 and the Giallorossi drawing 1-1 against Mater. The single point gap between the two clubs remained until the end and Lazio won the Rome War Championship.


Also played was the “Torneo a quattro di Roma”, in June with the participation of the four top teams of Rome: Lazio, Roma, Mater and Tirrenia. The idea was that each team could also use players from other teams but not all participants agreed. In the end a compromise was reached: four players from the teams not playing could be chosen. All teams took advantage of this rule, except Lazio who were convinced of their superiority. As a consequence, the Biancocelesti lost the semi-final against Tirrenia 4-2. They did win the third place final against Mater.


Edoardo Valenti was the player with most appearances overall (20) whereas top scorer was Lombardini with 23 goals


Lazio 1943-44

Competition

Played

Won

Drew

Lost

Goals scored

Roman War Championship

18

14

4

-

60

Torneo a quattro di Roma

2

1

-

1

7

Total

20

15

4

1

67

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Roman War Championship

Torneo a quattro di Roma

Valenti

20

18

2

Mancini

19

17

2

Lombardini

18

16

2

Longhi

18

16

2

Rega

18

16

2

Top five scorers

Player

Total

Roman War Championship

Torneo a quattro di Roma

Lombardini

23

21

2

Koenig

19

16

3

Capponi

7

7

-

Longhi

6

6

-

Mancini

5

3

2

Let's talk about Umberto Lombardini


Source Lazio Wiki

Umberto Lombardini was born in Rome on October 12 1920. He joined Lazio at the age of 9 and played in all the youth teams. He debuted in Serie A on December 15, 1940, in Bergamo in the match lost against Atalanta. He made 10 appearances in the 1940-41 with three goals. He was Silvio Piola’s reserve.


In the game against Napoli on February 9, there was a penalty for Lazio and Lombardini was asked to take it. He was not sure he could score since the Napoli goalkeeper was his former teammate Giacomo Blason. But he did. As he walked up to the spot kick, he said to the keeper “I’ll kick on the right”. That is exactly what he did and scored.


In 1941 he was loaned to Ala Littoria and in the following year to Alba Roma. In 1943 he came back to Lazio and played in the Rome War Championship. The Biancocelesti won the tournament and Lombardini was top scorer with 21 goals.


In 1944 he played for Ala Italiana but was back with the Biancocelesti once Serie A recommenced. In 1947-48 he made just nine appearances due to the arrival of Romano Penzo. In 1949 he signed for Tivoli and then played the rest of his career in minor leagues.


Once he stopped active football he began to work for Lazio and did so until the 1980s.


He was a very powerful centre-forward, nicknamed “bomba” (bomb). Some say he was even more powerful than Silvio Piola.


He made 77 appearances with 36 goals for Lazio. He died in Rome on October 16 1986.


Season

Total

Serie A

National Serie A-B Centre-South Champ.

Post Centre-South Champ.

Roman War Championship

Torneo a quattro di Roma

1940-41

10 (3)

10 (3)





1943-44

18 (23)




16 (21)

2 (2)

1945-46

24 (3)


18 (3)

6



1946-47

17 (7)

17 (7)





1947-48

9

9





Total

78 (36)

36 (10)

18 (3)

6

16 (21)

2 (2)

Sources


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