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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 25, 1973: Lazio Atalanta 2-1

Not vintage but title race continues


Lazio with several absences and others not at best suffer but clinch important win




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had been promoted back to Serie A under "Il Maestro", Tommaso Maestrelli. Top scorer had been "Long John" Giorgio Chinaglia with 26 goals (21 in B). Lazio had also had the satisfaction of beating Roma in a Coppa Italia game (1-0, Chinaglia).

 

This season Maestrelli was obviously still the manager but there had been some important changes to the squad. The main players arriving were goalkeeper Felice Pulici (Novara), defender Sergio Petrelli (a rare deal with Roma), midfielders Mario Frustalupi (Inter), Pierpaolo Manservisi (Napoli-end of loan), Ferruccio Mazzola (Fiorentina- end of loan) and Luciano Re Cecconi (Foggia) plus forward Renzo Garlaschelli (Como).

 

Leaving were keepers Claudio Bandoni (Catanzaro) and Rosario Di Vincenzo (Brindisi), defender Giuseppe Papadopulo (Brindisi), midfielders Arrigo Dolso (Alessandria), Giuseppe Massa (Inter) and Alessandro Abbondanza (Napoli-end of loan) plus forwards Carlo Facchin (retiring) and Giuliano Fortunato (Lecce).

 

So, quite a lot of changes to the squad. The main sacrifice was letting go of Massa but the arrival of Frustalupi would turn out to be a history changer for Lazio.

 

The season had started in August with the Coppa Italia. It went badly and Lazio were out, after losing 3 (Napoli 0-1 at home, Brindisi 0-1 away and Taranto 1-2 at home) and drawing 1 (Palermo 0-0 away).

 

In Serie A fortunately things were going a lot better. After 22 games Lazio were joint second with Juventus, on 31 points, behind leaders Milan on 34. The Biancocelesti had won 11 (including both derbies), drawn 9 and lost 2. The Biancocelesti had won the last four games in a row and had the least beaten defence in Serie A (only 11 goals conceded). Giorgio Chinaglia had scored 8 goals so far and Renzo Garlaschelli 6.

 

Atalanta had finished 11th the previous season under Giulio Corsini (future Lazio manage briefly in 1975).

 

This season Corsini was still the manager. The new players were a young defender Gaetano Scirea (from the youth academy and future World Champion in 1982), Giacomo Vianello (Napoli), midfielders Alberto Carelli (Mantova), Giuseppe Picella (Reggiana), Raffaello Vernacchia (Empoli) plus forwards Gian Piero Ghio (Inter and former Lazio 1968-70), Elio Gustinetti (from youth academy), Giuliano Musiello (SPAL) and Sergio Pellizzaro (Inter). The squad also included midfielder Ottavio Bianchi who many years later as manager would lead Napoli to their first historic Scudetto and a former Lazio player Antonio Maggioni (1966-67).

 

The main players leaving were keeper Antonio Rigamonti (Cremonese), defender Giovanni Vavassori (Napoli, he would be back as a player and manager), midfielders Giuseppe Doldi (Inter), Lamberto Leonardi (Mantova). Gianfranco Leoncini (Mantova) plus forwards Giovanni Ferradini (Napoli), Sergio Magistrelli (Inter), Emiliano Mondonico (Cremonese, he would be back as manager) and Adelio Moro (Inter).

 

Quite a few changes in the squad. So far, the Nerazzurri were in joint 11th position with Verona and Sampdoria, on 18 points. The drop zone was only two points lower down, Vicenza on 16. The Orobici had won 2, drawn 12 (including Lazio 1-1) and lost 7 (including Milan 3-9 away). A week earlier the Bergamaschi had beaten Bologna 1-0 at home.

 

In Coppa Italia the Nerazzurri had qualified for the second group stage, to be played in late May and June. In the first group stage in August/September they had won 3 (Como 1-0 and Reggina 5-0, at home and Mantova 1-0 away) and drawn 1 (Roma away 0-0).

 

Today however, was a fundamental league game for both sides.

 

The match: Sunday, March 25, 1973, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A cloudy but dry day in north Rome brought 50,000 spectators to the Olimpico.

 

The Biancocelesti were without several key players: Renzo Garlaschelli and Mario Facco were injured, Luigi Polentes had flu and Gigi Martini was suspended. In addition, Luciano Re Cecconi and Mario Frustalupi were playing but not fully fit. It was the first time this season Lazio had to do without so many players and there was a certain degree of apprehension on how they would react.

 

Atalanta started with confidence and it was clear it could be a difficult afternoon for the Biancocelesti. Fortunately, the Eagles of Rome scored with their first real chance. In the 9th minute Franco Nanni took a corner and it came back off the post to Giacomo La Rosa who was in the right place at the right time to score. Lazio 1 Atalanta 0 and an early lead.

 

Atalanta restarted where they had left off before Lazio's goal, dominating midfield and causing the Biancocelesti a lot of problems. The Lazio defenders Pino Wilson and Giancarlo Oddi had to work overtime to cope with Giuliano Musiello, Raffaello Vernacchia and Sergio Pellizzaro's attacks.

 

Lazio had some space on the break but Giorgio Chinaglia who was not at his best did not exploit Giambattista Moschino's ideas.

 

In the 37th minute the Orobici were rewarded for their efforts and found the equaliser. Frustalupi fouled Vernacchia and Ottavio Bianchi floated in the freekick to the forward whose header hit the post, the ball then rolled and hovered on the line before Alberto Carelli crashed in and definitely put it over. Lazio 1 Atalanta 1. A fair outcome so far and also the halftime score line.

 

In the second half the Bergamaschi possibly made the mistake of merely trying to defend the draw. This despite having taken the initiative in the first and realising Lazio were in difficulty.

 

They let the Biancocelesti attack them and gave the Biancocelesti the belief they could win it. Lazio's moves were often confused and disorganised but a goal can come in many ways. It came in the 66th minute when Re Cecconi blasted a powerful long range shot past Marcello Grassi. Lazio 2 Atalanta 1.

 

Only now did the visitors start playing more offensively and in the 71st minute had a huge chance to draw level. Carelli found himself with only Felice Pulici to beat but he managed to put it wide.

 

Lazio had further chances on the break but first La Rosa hit the post and some minutes later Chinaglia confirmed his poor form when he pulled his shot wide from a good position.

 

Atalanta were not able to change gear again and gradually faded allowing Lazio to control the remaining minutes without risking much. Final score Lazio 2 Atalanta 1.

 

Not a dominant win for Lazio but an important one. The Biancocelesti had suffered but Atalanta ultimately paid for their lack of ambition and courage in the second half.

 

Lazio were still joint second and three points from Milan but behind, Inter and Fiorentina had both lost so it looked like a three horse race. Now came the international break so, for the next game away at Cagliari the Biancocelesti hoped to have some of their injured players back and have others back on form. The title race was on.

 

Atalanta now only had a one-point lead on Vicenza who had drawn at fellow relegation candidates Sampdoria. Things were not looking good for the Goddess.

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Moriggi, Mazzola

Manager: Maestrelli

 

Who played for Atalanta


Grassi, Maggioni, Divina, Scirea, Vianello, Bianchi, Carelli, Vernacchia, Musiello, Pirola, Pellizzaro

Substitutes: Pianta, Picella

Manager: Corsini

 

Referee: Francescon


Goals: 9' La Rosa, 36' Carelli, 66' Re Cecconi



 

What happened next


After today's game Lazio won the next three (including 2-1 against leaders Milan). They then drew the next two (Torino and Bologna both away) and then beat Verona 2-1 at home.

 

This meant that going into the last fixture the table read; Milan 44, Lazio and Juventus 43. Milan were soon 0-4 down at Verona (Milan had played Cup Winners Cup final midweek) and at halftime Lazio were drawing 0-0 in Naples and Juventus losing 0-1 to Roma, in Rome. A playoff between Lazio and Milan was on the cards. Then unfortunately, almost surely thanks to "financial incentives" and personal interests, Roma stopped playing and lost while Napoli, also apparently paid off by the "Old Lady" played the game of their lives, scored in the 88th minute and acted as if they had won the World Cup. Juventus overtook both Lazio and Milan.

 

A pity for Lazio but they had played great football and had an excellent season finishing 3rd. They also won both derbies (1-0, 2-0). Top scorer was Giorgio Chinaglia with 11 goals (10 in A). The following year would be different but that's another story.

 

Atalanta ended up 14th and were relegated on goal difference. In the next four games they did well; an away draw at Inter, a home win against Roma, a point against Ternana and an away win at Palermo, moving up to 10th place and apparent safety (+5 on Vicenza). Then they lost the last three; at home to Juventus, in Florence and crucially at home to Vicenza (who stayed up for a +1 better goal difference). An incredible turnaround.

 

In Coppa Italia they were eliminated in the second summer phase despite 3 wins (Napoli 2-0 and Cagliari 2-1 away, Cagliari 2-1 at home) as they lost twice against Milan (0-2 at home and 0-1 away) and drew 1-1 at home to Napoli. The cup was won by Milan who defeated Juventus on penalties.

 

The Scudetto as mentioned was won by Juventus (their 15th title) and Atalanta went down with Ternana and Palermo. Top scorers were Paolo Pulici, Gianni Rivera and Giuseppe Savoldi all with 17 league goals.


Lazio 1972-73

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

30

16

11

3

33

Coppa Italia

4

-

1

3

1

Anglo-Italian Cup

4

-

2

2

4

Total

38

16

14

8

38

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Anglo-Italian Cup

Chinaglia

37

30

4

3

Oddi

36

30

4

2

Frustalupi

36

30

4

2

Pulici

36

30

4

2

Wilson

36

30

4

2

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Anglo-Italian Cup

Chinaglia

13

10

1

2

Nanni

7

7

-

-

Garlaschelli

7

7

-

-

La Rosa

3

2

-

1

Let's talk about Giacomo La Rosa


Source Lazio Wiki

Giacomo La Rosa was born in Messina, on August 25, 1946. He was nicknamed "Il Sivori di Messina" (the Sivori of Messina).

 

His formative years were spent with the Messina youth set up and then he was added to the first team squad in 1965.

 

The Giallorossi were in Serie B and he stayed four seasons. The Sicilians finished 7th, 11th, 19th (relegated) and 8th (in C). La Rosa played 88 league games and scored 19 goals. His managers were Tonino Colomban the first two seasons, Umberto Mannocci (Lazio 1964-66) the third and Paolo Todeschini (former Lazio player and manager) the last.

 

In 1969 he changed teams but not colours when he joined Roma. He stayed three seasons in the capital. The Giallorossi finished 10th, 6th and 7th. La Rosa played 19 league games with 4 goals (Milan, Inter, Inter x2), 2 games in the Cup Winners Cup, 3 in Coppa Italia and 4 in the Anglo-Italian Cup with 1 goal (Stoke City). The managers were Helenio Herrera, Luciano Tessari from the 25th game on in the second season and then Herrera again in the third. His teammates at Roma included future Lazio connections Sergio Petrelli (1972-76), Ciccio Cordova (1976-79) and Luciano Spinosi (assistant manager to Eriksson 1997-2000) plus future top manager Fabio Capello (Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, England)

 

In 1972 he joined Varese in Serie B but after 6 league games left and came to Lazio. For the record the Biancorossi finished 6th under Pietro Moroso and in the squad was a young Claudio Gentile (future Juventus and World Champion in 1982).

 

In Rome with Lazio, he was a reserve behind Giorgio Chinaglia and Renzo Garlaschelli but still managed to play 6 league games with 2 goals (Palermo, Atalanta) and 4 games in the Anglo-Italian Cup with 1 goal. The manager was Tommaso Maestrelli and Lazio played great football, fighting for the Scudetto until the last game of the season but ending up 3rd.

 

In 1973 he moved back to Sicily and joined Palermo in Serie B. He stayed two seasons with a 7th and 5th place, playing 50 league games with 21 goals. His manager was Corrado Viciani in both seasons. His teammates included Dario Pighin (Lazio, 1976-82).

 

In 1975-76 he spent a season with Catanzaro in Serie B. It was a great year under Gianni Di Marzio and the "Regina del Sud" won promotion to Serie A for the first time in their history. La Rosa played 17 league games with 3 goals (Ternana, Brindisi, Foggia). One of his teammates was future top manager Claudio Ranieri (Premier League winner with Leicester).

 

In 1976 La Rosa joined Brindisi in Serie C but after 5 league games and 1 goal he left and moved to fellow Adriatici Pescara in Serie B. Brindisi ended up 10th.

 

He stayed in Pescara two seasons. The Dolphins finished 3rd (promoted after playoff) and 16th (relegated). In the promotion year he played 29 league games with 8 goals (Ternana, Novara, Rimini, Cagliari, Lecce, Varese, Brescia, Taranto), while in Serie A he played 8 league games with 1 goal (Bologna). The manager was Giancarlo Cadè both seasons. His teammates included Vincenzo Zucchini (Lazio 1979-80), Roberto Galbiati (Lazio 1985-86).

 

In 1978-79 he spent a season with Salernitana in Serie C1. La Rosa played 19 league games with 4 goals. The manager was first Domenico Rosati and then Franco Viviani and the Granata finished 6th.

 

In 1979-80 he played for Civitavecchia, a port on the coast north of Rome, in C2. He played 27 league games and scored 20 goals with the Nerazzurri finishing 9th.

 

His last two years of active football were played for Banco di Roma in C2. He played 57 games, scoring 15 goals and the Giallorossi finished 13th and 14th. The Bankers team also guaranteed him a job as a bank clerk seeing he had a degree in Economics.

 

At this point at almost 36 he retired and continued to work in the bank.

 

La Rosa was a forward. He was not a physical player but based his game on his technique and skill. His nickname, "Sivori of Messina", better explains his style. He played 33 games in Serie A and 159 in B. He won two promotions to Serie A and in 1973-74 was the second highest goal scorer in Serie B, winning the Chevron Award.

 

At Lazio he only stayed one season but went very close to winning the Scudetto. He played a total of 10 games (6 in A) with 3 goals. He played alongside Chinaglia and Garlaschelli up front and had Felice Pulici, Gigi Martini, Pino Wilson, Giancarlo Oddi, Franco Nanni, Luciano Re Cecconi and Mario Frustalupi as teammates and Tommaso Maestrelli as manager...priceless.


Lazio Career

Season

Total Appearances (goals)

Serie A

Ango Italian Cup

1972-73

10 (3)

6 (2)

4 (1)

Sources



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