top of page
  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 15, 1970: Lazio Palermo 4-0

Updated: Mar 15

Chinaglia and Co sweep away Palermo in superb first half


Three first half goals close the game against slow and confused Sicilian Rosaneri




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


Lazio were newly promoted after a year in the purgatory of Serie B. They had won the championship and promotion under Juan Carlos Lorenzo. He had only been allowed to sit on the bench from March 30 as foreigners were not officially allowed to be managers, so until he obtained his passport Roberto Lovati had carried out the Sunday afternoon dug out duties.


This year officially the manager was Bob Lovati and the Technical Director was Juan Carlos Lorenzo. The more important changes had been made to the squad. Lazio had brought in some players who would prove to change the entire club's history.


An unknown young forward called Giorgio Chinaglia was signed from third division Internapoli. Also from the Neapolitan club arrived defender Giuseppe Wilson. Both players had British connections; Chinaglia grew up in South-Wales while Wilson was born in Darlington to an English father and Neapolitan mother. These two facts would later be one of the reasons for myself becoming a lifelong Lazio fan.


Along with the two "Brits" Lazio had added other players; defender and local lad Giancarlo Oddi (Sora-back from loan), defender Giuseppe Papadopulo (Livorno), goalkeeper Michelangelo Sulfaro (Sambenedettese) plus, in the autumn session, defender Luigi Polentes (Perugia) and above all, midfielder Franco Nanni (Trapani). Four of these players, Chinaglia, Wilson, Oddi and Nanni would play key roles some years later in Lazio's Scudetto winning team.


The main players leaving were defenders Pietro Fontana (Ternana) and Guido Onor (Juventus-end of loan) plus in the autumn forward Arrigo Dolso (Monza-on loan) and defender Pietro Adorni (Piacenza).


So far, Lazio were having a reasonable campaign and were just below mid table but still had to look over their shoulders. They had won 7, drawn 4 and lost 12, giving them 18 points. They were a lot better at home than away and had only beaten Sampdoria on the road. A week earlier the Biancocelesti had been beaten 2-1 away at Vicenza courtesy of a completely invented penalty for the Veneti. The penalty issue was a talking point in Rome as so far Lazio had six blown against them but none in their favour. The young Italo-Welsh striker was settling in well and had scored 5 goals.


Palermo had finished a decent 11th the previous season under manager Carmine Di Bello and he had been confirmed this season .The Rosanero Eagles however got off to an awful start, losing the first four matches. They had improved but were still in the relegation battle after 5 wins, 6 draws (including Lazio 1-1) and 12 defeats, so on 16 points.


Two interesting players in the squad were a young Franco Causio, later world champion with Italy in 1982 and Edy Reja, many years later to be Lazio manager.


The match: Sunday, March 15, 1970, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A rainy March day welcomed the clash of the eagles in Rome today with a crowd of about 25,000.


The Rosanero Eagles were without some important players: Gaetano Troja, Silvino Bercellino and Luigi Pasetti. For Lazio, Giorgio Chinaglia was back from suspension to lead the attacking line.


And attack he did, creating chances with solo efforts in the 9th and 12th minutes. It was however Ferruccio Mazzola II who broke the deadlock after 21 minutes. Lazio started a counterattack with Giancarlo Morrone, Giampiero Ghio and Giuseppe Massa finished off by Mazzola with a powerful mid-height shot. 1-0 Lazio.


Palermo were sluggish and their moves were too elaborate and predictable. They did have a penalty appeal in the 32nd minute for a foul by Wilson on the lively Sergio Pelizzaro but the referee saw nothing in it. The action moved down the opposite end and, after some hesitant defending by Antonio De Bellis, Chinaglia dispossessed the Palermitano and altruistically served the ball to Ghio who made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute. A minute before halftime "Long John" Chinaglia got the goal he deserved. A spectacular acrobatic diving header from a Ghio cross made it 3-0.


In the second half Lazio controlled Palermo's attempts to get back in the match without too much difficulty. The Lazio keeper was kept on his toes by Mario Giubertoni and Pelizzaro but the Sicilians never really got near a lifeline scoring.


In fact it was Lazio who got another when they were finally awarded their first penalty of the season, after 24 games. A foul by Alfredo Alario on Chinaglia was considered serious enough for referee Renzo Torelli to indicate the spot kick. Chinaglia stepped up and sent the keeper one way and the ball the other. Lazio 4 Palermo 0.


Despite the heavy pitch Lazio had looked sharp, fit and determined. They were given a standing ovation by their fans at the end of the match and now looked forward to the prestigious next home game against Inter.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Fiorucci

Manager: Lorenzo


Who played for Palermo


Ferretti, Sgrazzutti, Giubertoni, Lancini, Bertuolo, De Bellis, Pellizzaro, Landoni, Causio, Reja, Ferrari (70' Alario)

Substitutes: Cei

Manager: Di Bella


Referee: Torelli


Goals: 21' Mazzola II, 33' Ghio, 44' Chinaglia, 71' Chinaglia (pen)



What happened next


Lazio finished the season off well. They would win 3 and draw 3 of the last 6 matches. A week after today's game they beat Inter at home 3-1 and a few weeks later would also beat Juventus 2-0. The Biancocelesti ended up 8th on 29 points, and above city rivals Roma anyway. They won 11, drew 7 and lost 12. The top scorer was Chinaglia with 12 league goals.


In May, Lazio participated in the Anglo-Italian Cup. They played Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers losing away (3-1 and 1-0) and winning at home (2-1 and 2-0).


Palermo unfortunately ended up in Serie B. A week later they drew 0-0 at home against Bari, then lost the next two and drew the last three (including 2-2 versus Roma). They finished on 19 points after 5 wins, 10 draws and 15 defeats. Their top scorers were Pellizzaro and Troja with 6 league goals.


The 1969-70 was amazingly won by Cagliari. The Sardinians coached by Manlio Scopigno "Il Filosofo" and led by star striker Gigi Riva won the league on 45 points, 4 ahead of Inter and 7 ahead of Juventus. It was one of the biggest surprises in Serie A history and the historic team deserves a mention; Albertosi, Niccolai, Martiradonna, Zignoli, Domenghini, Cera, Nené, Tomasini, Greatti, Riva, Gori plus Brugnera (Tomasini out injured in second half of season). Gigi Riva got 27 goals (21 in Serie A).


The teams who went down with Palermo were Bari and Brescia.


Lazio 1969-70

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

11

7

12

33

Coppa Italia

3

-

1

2

-

Mitropa Cup

2

-

-

2

2

Total

35

11

8

16

35

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

35

30

3

2

Massa

32

27

3

2

Chinaglia

31

28

1

2

Wilson

31

28

1

2

Ghio

29

25

2

2

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Mitropa Cup

Chinaglia

14

12

2

Massa

5

5

-

Ghio

5

5

-

Mazzola

3

3

-


Let’s talk about Luigi Polentes


Luigi Polentes was born in San Giacomo di Veglia (Treviso), October 12, 1944.


At 15 Polentes started playing for his local team San Giacomo. He then almost immediately joined nearby Vittorio Veneto in Serie C. He played for the Rossoblú for three years. In his last year they were relegated to Serie D and after 90 appearances Polentes moved on.


In 1965 he joined Empoli in Serie C. He played for the Tuscan Azzurri for two seasons making 65 appearances.


In 1967 he moved to Perugia, newly promoted to Serie B. He stayed with the Grifoni ("The Griffins") for two seasons playing 83 games.


In 1969 came the big step up to Lazio in Serie A. In his first year in Rome he played 18 matches and scored his first professional goal, away against Verona. Lazio had a good season and finished eighth.


The following year Lazio ran into problems and were relegated. Polentes again played 18 games in Serie A plus 2 in Coppa Italia. But he did win the Cup of the Alps and played in every single match of the tournament.


In the 1971-72 season Lazio bounced straight back up to Serie A. The Biancocelesti won promotion under new manager Tommaso Maestrelli and Polentes played 28 league games, plus 3 in Coppa Italia.


The 1972-73 season saw Lazio as a protagonist in Serie A, going close to winning the title, but ending up third, only two points behind champions Juventus. Polentes played less regularly making only 7 league appearances and 1 in Coppa Italia, this was mainly due to the rise of local defender Giancarlo Oddi.


In 1973-74 Lazio became Italian champions. Maestrelli's crazy gang had a fantastic season winning the scudetto ahead of Juventus. Polentes gave his contribution playing 9 times in the league plus 4 in Coppa Italia.


The year after, the Biancocelesti were unable to repeat themselves but were a solid 4th, gaining a UEFA place. Maestrelli started to suffer from a serious illness and the team's performances were negatively affected. Polentes played 12 games in Serie A, plus 1 in Coppa Italia.


The 1975-76 season was again influenced by Maestrelli's failing health and also by the fact that talisman "Long John " Chinaglia had left to play for New York Cosmos. Lazio got involved in the relegation battle but managed to stay up. Polentes played 18 times in Serie A and 2 games in Coppa Italia.


The 1976-77 season would be Polentes' last for Lazio. The Biancocelesti, under manager Luís Vinicio, had a better season and came 5th, qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Polentes however only played one game in Serie A. In the summer of 1977 he decided to move on. He had made a highly respectable 133 appearances for Lazio and scored one goal.


In 1977-78 he played for Modena in Serie B. He played 28 games for the Canarini ("The Canaries") but the Gialloblu were relegated to Serie C.


Polentes then returned to Vittorio Veneto near home and played two more years at regional level.


At this point, at 36 years of age, Polentes decided it was enough and called it a day.


After retiring he stayed in his local area and went into the wine business. He became a winegrower in San Martino di Colle Umberto near Treviso. His wines gained a good reputation in the trade. He also kept his connections with local club Vittorio Veneto becoming president of the former players association. He was also active in social and voluntary work.


Polentes was a tough and physically strong defender. He could play both at full-back and at centre-back. He was what Italians call "roccioso" meaning made of stone. He was extremely fit and strong and no doubt not a pleasure to be marked by. He had the peak of his career at Lazio with the incredible added satisfaction of becoming Italian champion. His name is not reeled off in the historic starting eleven but he is remembered as part of that bizarre group of characters that gave Lazio fans the ultimate joy of the 1974 scudetto. Polentes certainly gave an important contribution.


Luigi Polentes died on April 21, 2011, in Vittorio Veneto.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Mitropa Cup

Intercities Fairs Cup

1969-70

19 (1)

18 (1)

-

-

-

1

-

1970-71

21

18

-

2

-

-

1

1971-72

31

-

28

3

-

-

-

1972-73

8

7

-

1

-

-

-

1973-74

13

9

-

4

-

-

-

1974-75

13

12

-

1

-

-

-

1975-76

27

18

-

7

2

-

-

1976-77

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

Total

133 (1)

83 (1)

28

18

2

1

1

Source


Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page