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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

March 18, 1979: Roma Lazio 1-2

Updated: Mar 18

Lazio win derby in very last minute


A last second goal by Nicoli gave Lazio a historic victory




Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins

The season so far


The summer transfer window had seen Lazio very cautious. Not much money was available so Lazio did not do much. Lionello Manfredonia and Andrea Agostinelli refused to leave as did Vincenzo D’Amico. The three players chosen by previous manager Luis Vinicio, Luigi Boccolini, Claudio Garella and Sergio Clerici changed jerseys. In goal it looked like scudetto hero Felice Pulici was going to come back but the deal fell through. Lazio’s new goalkeeper would be Massimo Cacciatori. New arrivals included Aldo Nicoli and Aldo Cantarutti plus Nando Viola who returned from a loan spell at Bologna.


In Coppa Italia Lazio topped their Group and reached the quarterfinals after beating Vicenza at home in a decisive match. The Serie A campaign began quite well with a draw against champions Juventus and a win away from home at Avellino. At the end of the first half of the fixture list Lazio were sixth with a UEFA Cup qualification still very possible. But they were not playing well.


In the game before the derby Lazio had beaten Ascoli 3-1 and continued to be sixth.


The match: Sunday, March 18, 1979, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


This derby was very important for both teams as Lazio were trying to hold on to a UEFA Cup qualification and Roma trying to avoid relegation. In the first 25 minutes Lazio were completely absent. Bob Lovati had decided that Vincenzo D’Amico was to be on Francesco Rocca's tracks, to stop his runs down the left side, but this left Bruno Giordano having to fight against the entire Roma defence alone.


In the 11th minute Agostino Di Bartolomei took a free kick, Cacciatori saved into corner. Six minutes later the Roma player tried again on another free kick and this time it came off Ciccio Cordova for a classic own goal. The Lazio fans were not particularly happy with the former Roma skipper.


In the 20th minute Guido Ugolotti had a chance but his shot went high. Lazio finally woke up and in the 28th minute hit the woodwork with a Pino Wilson header off a D’Amico free kick. In the 33rd minute there was a great shot from Francesco Rocca and a marvellous save by Cacciatori. In the 42nd minute, D’Amico passed the ball to Giordano who dribbled past a Roma player and from 20 metres took a shot at goal. The post saved Roma and Cordova was unable to tap the ball in from a favourable position.


Things did not change in the second half. After 20 seconds Loris Boni’s volley from 25 metres saw another splendid save from Cacciatori followed by a Giordano shot just wide. In the 57th minute Rocca to Michele De Nadai (who will later play for Lazio in the early 1980s) but his shot was parried again by Cacciatori. A minute later, Lazio equalised. Luigi Martini to D’Amico who passed the ball to Viola. The Lazio midfielder dribbled past a few Roma players and from outside the box, but central, scored with the help of a slight deflection by Giancarlo De Sisti.


The game was now open to any result. In the 72nd minute Mauro Tassoti crossed in the box for Cantarutti but his shot was weak. Roma opened up in the attempt to go ahead, Lazio capitalised.


In the 88th minute D’Amico tried a shot from outside the box, the ball was blocked by Franco Peccenini, Aldo Nicoli was faster reacting than the Roma defenders and scored.


The last few minutes were very confused with confrontations between the players and a few scuffles. Paolo Ammoniaci replaced D’Amico in the 89th minute, was immediately kicked by Boni and after having asked referee Gino Menicucci if he had seen the incident, got sent off himself. The fastest red card in the history of football.


Source Wikipedia

The match ended with the Roma players surrounding the ref asking for an improbable penalty, Rocca in tears and the Curva Sud in flames as the supporters from the wrong side of the Tiber set fire to the wooden seats. A nightmare derby for the Romanisti. It had started and continued with a huge and unforgettable banner hauled up in the Curva Nord, covering the whole scoreboard, depicting a taunting red and yellow B and now ended with the defeated "Cousins" burning their own Curva. A dream derby for all Laziali.


Lazio would not win another derby until January 15, 1989.


Who played for Roma


P.Conti, Maggiora, Rocca, Boni, Peccenini, Spinosi, De Nadai, Di Bartolomei, Pruzzo, De Sisti, Ugolotti (83' Scarnecchia).

Substitutes: Tancredi, Chinellato.

Manager: Valcareggi.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Fantini, Agostinelli

Manager: Lovati


Referee: Menicucci


Goals: 17’ Cordova (og), 58’ De Sisti (og), 88’ Nicoli



What happened next


At the end of the season Lazio finished 8th, better than the previous, but not all that great. Just two points in the last five games meant that a UEFA Cup qualification became impossible, which was a pity, since Napoli, who came 6th, were only three points away. In Coppa Italia they lost the quarterfinal against Palermo after a penalty shootout.


Giordano was top scorer in Serie A with 19 goals (21 for the whole season) and, together with Cacciatori, the player with most appearances (36).


Roma in the end survived by the singed skin of their teeth.


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 Aldo Nicoli


Source Wikipedia

The hero of today’s game is Aldo Nicoli, an unlucky midfield player who had plenty of talent but whose career was cut short due a very serious injury.


Nicoli was born in Bologna on November 24 1953 and started his career in the Inter youth teams. He debuted in Serie A in 1973 and was a first choice player in the 1974-75 season where he played 26 games out of 30.


Instead of being confirmed he was sold to Foggia in Serie B. The Satanelli immediately got promoted to Serie A in his first year and he stayed until 1978 when he was signed by Lazio. He struggled at first with the Biancocelesti due to an injury in pre-season training but he gradually became increasingly valued and turned into one of the most important players of Bob Lovati’s team.


That year marked his career as a football player. He scored the winning goal in a derby two minutes from the end, but on May 6 he suffered a very bad injury at Perugia. He was never the same again. In the 1979-80 season he only played five games and none at all the year after. In 1981 he moved to Pescara in Serie B to try and make a comeback but had to call it a day and stop playing at the end of the season at just 28 years of age.


After managing the Milan women’s team in the 1990s and winning a scudetto, he became an entrepreneur.


The Lazio fans never forgot him. “In all these years the Lazio fans have always shown me all their affection, both in official circumstances, but also in the more improbable places such as on holiday, abroad, in airports and restaurants”, he said in a recent interview.


He played 31 games for Lazio, 26 in Serie A and 5 in Coppa Italia. He scored against Roma in the derby and also against Napoli in the match where Lazio were awarded the win after a firework exploded near Lionello Manfredonia and Dario Pighin who both had to be taken to hospital.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

1978-79

25 (1)

21 (1)

4

1979-80

6

5

1

Total

31 (1)

26 (1)

5

Sources


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