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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 31, 1974: Roma Lazio 1-2

Lazio beat Roma...again


Lazio come from behind to beat rivals for the fourth time in a row and continue title dream




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


Lazio went close to the scudetto the year before and were in the race again this year.

 

The charismatic manager Tommaso Maestrelli was still on the bench. There had been no major changes to the squad. Lazio had received plenty of offers for their best players; Luciano Re Cecconi (Torino), Franco Nanni (Fiorentina and Juventus) and Giorgio Chinaglia (Milan, Juventus, Napoli and Inter). The president Umberto Lenzini, however, managed to resist and keep them all.

 

There had only been some lesser deals: in Fausto Inselvini (Brescia) and defender Sergio Borgo (Pro Patria), out Giacomo La Rosa (Palermo), Andrea Chini (Cavese), Giambattista Moschino (retired).

 

So basically, Lazio were giving the title another go with the same squad. The idea was that they had gone so close the previous season that this year with a little more experience they stood a realistic chance.

 

The pitch was so far proving them right. Lazio had won 14 (including Juventus 3-1), drawn 4 and lost 4. They had already beaten Roma 2-1 and only lost to Juventus, Torino, Sampdoria and Inter. Lazio had 32 points and were top of the table with a three-point lead on Juventus and four on Napoli. Giorgio Chinaglia had scored 16 goals. A week earlier the Biancocelesti had beaten Cagliari 2-0 at home. The final scudetto rush was on but today Lazio had a tricky game, the Roman derby.

 

Roma had finished 11th the previous season under manager Helenio Herrera and then from the 25th game on, Antonio Trebiciani. The Giallorossi had lost both derbies (0-1 and 0-2). Top scorer was Valerio Spadoni with 9 goals (7 in A).

 

This season for the first 6 games the manager was Manlio Scopigno (Cagliari Scudetto winning manager) and then Nils Liedholm.

 

The main new signings were: keeper Paolo Conti (Arezzo), defender Alberto Batistoni (Verona), midfielders Angelo Domenghini (Cagliari) and Piergiorgio Negrisolo (Sampdoria) plus striker Pierino Prati (Milan).

 

Leaving were: defender Aldo Bet (Verona), midfielders Walter Franzot (Verona) and Elvio Salvori plus forwards Lucio Mujesan (Arezzo) and Stefano Pellegrini (Avellino-on loan).

 

So far, the Giallorossi were joint 9th with Cesena, on 21 points. They had won 8, drawn 5 and lost 9. A week earlier Roma had drawn 1-1 in Naples after 3 consecutive wins. Top scorer was Prati with 5 league goals.

 

So, Lazio were flying and Roma were mid-table. In normal circumstances it would be an easy call but this was a Roman "Stracittadina" a game like no other in Italy. Lazio were clearly superior but the Romanisti were absolutely desperate to avenge the last few derbies and even more importantly stunt their bitter rivals' title hopes. Bring on "Il Derby".

 

The match: Sunday, March 31, 1974, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A grey and initially drizzly afternoon saw a full house for this "Derby della Capitale", the one with the biggest rivalry in Italy.

 

Roma predictably started the game aggressively and forced a couple of corners. In the 5th minute the Giallorossi took the lead but it was due to a fair dose of luck. Valerio Spadoni put a cross in from the left vertex of the box but the ball took on a strange trajectory and, instead of going into the heart of the area as intended, headed towards the top right-hand corner where Felice Pulici, either overconfident or deceived by the ball's direction, caught it but then took it over the line before throwing it back into play. The referee and linesman gave the goal. Roma 1 Lazio 0.

 

A dream start for the Lupi and Lazio shaken.

 

Roma were rampant, seeing the chance to shatter Lazio's dream, and continued to be dangerous.

 

In the 16th minute however Lazio reacted. Luciano Re Cecconi won a crunching tackle against Angelo Orazi (who would have to be substituted) and crossed but Giorgio Chinaglia's header went just high.

 

The game got rough and a few minutes later Sergio Petrelli was hacked down by Angelo Domenghini but the referee let it go so at the other end Giancarlo Oddi got revenge, lunging in on Spadoni. A lot of pushing and shoving followed, but what Roman derby would it be without? A few minutes later Franco Peccenini (Orazi's replacement) went straight for Re Cecconi's legs but fortunately "Cecco" got straight up without any fuss to try and defuse the increasingly tense situation.

 

The next injury scare was when Chinaglia, challenged by Sergio Santarini, and not helped by the wet, slippery grass, hit his head on a photographer’s case near the by-line. Long John showed his frustration by picking up the case and throwing it onto the athletics track.

 

Before the end of the first period there was time for more "pleasant" words and threats of violence between Giorgio Morini and Chinaglia with Re Cecconi as peacemaker and then between Oddi and Francesco "Kawasaki" Rocca. Rocca then had a goal disallowed for handball but all the Lazio defence had already stopped as it was so clear. Halftime Roma 1 Lazio 0.

 

Possibly a fair result so far but Lazio were making the mistake of falling for the Romanisti's provocations. The more football played the more chance Lazio had of winning and Roma knew that very well.

 

The second half started with Chinaglia taking on Roma single-handedly. He went solo, racing past half the Roma team but hit the side netting from the inside the right of the box.

 

In the 47th minute Lazio equalised. Mario Frustalupi floated in a free kick from the left, it was cleared by Spadoni as far as Chinaglia who volleyed at goal but it was walled by Negrisolo and fell to Vincenzo D'Amico who then drilled it in past Paolo Conti with a low right foot. Roma 1 Lazio 1.

 

Lazio possibly still inebriated about drawing level risked to find themselves behind again only two minutes later. A brilliant run by Franco "Ciccio" Cordova, who skipped past four Lazio defenders, was followed by a shot that came back off the post.

 

On the subsequent counterattack Franco Nanni burst forward and was pulled down by Morini as he was entering the area. The referee awarded a penalty despite the Roma players claiming the foul had started outside the box. Chinaglia hopped up and down before his run up then placed his spot kick into the middle of the goal with Conti diving to his right. Roma 1 Lazio 2. This was when Long John made his famous gesture of pointing his index finger towards the Curva sud. He and captain Pino Wilson then ran to the bench to celebrate with manager Tommaso "Il Maestro" Maestrelli.

 

It was Roma's turn to be rattled and only 50 seconds later Chinaglia set off on the break but was pulled down from behind by Morini just outside the area. The referee awarded the freekick but tempers boiled over this time in the stands. Fighting broke out and one Roma fan invaded the pitch trying to attack the ref. Once calm was finally restored, Chinaglia's freekick shaved the post.

 

More crowd trouble followed in the 60th minute when Lazio had to wait three minutes to take a corner due to being bombarded by objects of various nature (bottles, lighters etc).

 

In the 75th minute Roma had a free kick near the corner flag. The ball came into the crowded area and headed by Piergiorgio Negrisolo hit the bar and fell into Pulici's arms. The Lazio keeper was then barged into by Pierino Prati, the ball fell loose and Rocca scored but the referee had already blown for the infringement.

 

In the 80th minute Prati got a good header in from a Domenghini cross but Pulici dived to his right and saved in a double movement.  A few minutes later the striker failed to make contact for a close-range header, Pulici slapped the ball away and Spadoni missed a sitter, blasting the ball over the bar.

 

The let off liberated Lazio. D'Amico crossed for Chinaglia but as had a difficult angle he lured away the defender and pulled the ball back to Frustalupi who hit the post with a blistering strike from the edge of the box.

 

Roma at this point were totally unbalanced and Lazio had plenty of space on the break. Franco Nanni surged forward but his cracking shot hit the crossbar and then bounced but not over the line.

 

In the 87th minute D'Amico dribbled his way into the area and near the left by-line put in a low cross but Chinaglia stretching out was just a fraction too late and put it wide.

 

Roma desperately threw themselves forward and had a couple of chances but first Pulici rushed off his line and saved from Spadoni and then again blocked a ricochet after some confusion in the area.

 

The last chance of the game was for Lazio but Renzo Garlaschelli fired wide after a good run. That was the last action of an eventful derby. Final score Roma 1 Lazio 2.

 

Lazio celebrated briefly but were quickly escorted off behind shields by the Carabinieri under a flurry of stones thrown from the Roma end. The tension continued around the ground with fifty injured, damaged cars and also four Roma fans suffering heart attacks.

 

Back to football it had been a thrilling derby. A game with controversy, passion, tension, physicality, goals, saves, posts and crossbars for an exciting affair.

 

Lazio were over the moon for several reasons. One for the obvious joy of defeating their eternal rivals, two for seeing their "cousins" so frustrated and, thirdly and not least, looking at the new league table; Lazio 34, Juventus 30, Napoli 29 (Juve had drawn the derby as had Napoli at Cesena). Next up was Napoli-Lazio, a crucial game all the more so after the previous year's events.

 

Who played for Roma


Conti Negrisolo, Rocca, Morini, Santarini, Batistoni, Orazi (16' Peccenini), Domenghini, Prati, Cordova, Spadoni

Substitutes: Ginulfi, Capellini

Manager: Liedholm

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Moriggi, Franzoni

Manager: Maestrelli

 

Referee: Gonella


Goals: 5' Pulici (og), 47' D'Amico, 50' Chinaglia (pen)



What happened next


A week later Lazio drew 3-3 in Naples after trailing three times.

 

Another key win came in a home game against Verona on April 14 when, 2-1 down at halftime, Lazio stayed on the pitch waiting eagerly for the second half and ended up 4-2 winners. With five games to go Lazio had a four-point lead on Juventus.

 

Lazio then earned a good away point against Milan and beat Genoa at home 1-0 with a Garlaschelli winner.

 

Despite losing to Torino on May 5 (only team to beat Lazio twice that season) a week later, on May 12, Lazio came into the penultimate game of the season knowing a win would give them the scudetto.

 

The opponents were Foggia, Maestrelli's former team, who were desperately battling against relegation. Fans started arriving at the stadium at 6 o'clock in the morning and the gates were opened at 8.45. The hills above the stadium were also packed as, before the roof was added for the Italia '90 world cup, it was possible to follow the game up on Monte Mario near the "Madonnina". It was obviously a sell-out but many fans also managed to get in for free, swelling the crowd to explosive levels.

 

It was a tough game with Lazio playing the last half hour with ten men (Garlaschelli sent off) and Luigi Martini out injured but Lazio got the all-important goal with a Chinaglia penalty in the 60th minute. Foggia threw everyone forward but a tired and comprehensively tense Lazio managed to resist the Satanelli's assaults. On a glorious 1974 May day in Rome the Biancocelesti founded in 1900 were finally Italian Champions!

 

Maestrelli's crazy gang had done it. A team divided in clans during the week but masterfully brought together by the "Maestro" on match days. They played an entertaining brand of football based on the new Dutch philosophy and thoroughly deserved the title. Like Bologna, Fiorentina and Cagliari before them they had broken the monopoly of the big three (Juve, Milan and Inter). Top scorer had been charismatic "Long John" Chinaglia with 34 goals in total (24 in Serie A).

 

Lazio however would never get to take part in the European Cup a year later. After trouble on the pitch and off it, in a UEFA Cup return match against Ipswich Town, Lazio had been banned from all European competitions for three years, then reduced to one. Lazio players and fans had lost their heads with on field scuffles with opponents and referee and crowd trouble, things had got completely out of hand. In Lazio's and its fans' defence they had witnessed one of the most scandalous refereeing performances in the history of football by a certain Van der Kraft from Holland (see an English defender saving the ball with his hands on the goal line for an unawarded penalty as just one example of the Dutchman's exploits). The referee may have been to the Castelli wine area before the game but the punishment was inevitable. It was a great pity Lazio were not able to participate in a tournament they had so deserved to be in.

 

The scudetto celebrations however went on in Rome and the region for months and were enough to help forget the European disappointment. SS. Lazio were Champions of Italy!

 

Roma finished 8th but for once no Laziali really cared, they had better things to do, like celebrating a Scudetto.


Lazio 1973-74

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

18

7

5

45

Coppa Italia

10

3

3

4

10

UEFA Cup

4

2

-

2

8

Total

44

23

10

11

63

Top five appearances (Complete Player Statistics)

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

42

30

8

4

42

30

8

4

42

30

8

4

42

30

8

4

40

30

6

4

Top five goalscorers (Complete Player Statistics)

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Giorgio Chinaglia

34

24

4

6

14

10

2

2

Franco Nanni

2

2

-

-

2

2

-

-

Luciano Re Cecconi

2

2

-

-

Let's talk about Tommaso Maestrelli



Source Wikipedia

Tommaso Arturo Maestrelli was born in Pisa, on October 7, 1922.

 

He was the son of a station master for the state railways so, in his childhood, he lived in several towns in Italy before settling in Bari in 1935.

 

Tommaso then joined the Bari youth set up. He was a midfielder and in 1938 he moved up to the first team squad under manager József Ging. He made his debut at 16, in February 1939, in an away defeat to Milan. It was his only game and the Biancorossi finished 11th in Serie A. In these early days he was nicknamed "Carta velina" (Tissue paper) due to his thin physique.


Source Lazio Wiki

He stayed with the "Galletti" for nine more seasons, including the war pause, playing 146 league games with 20 goals. Bari finished 11th again, 16th (relegated), 1st (promoted), 15th (relegated but then stayed up due to the war), two years of war interruption, 1st (in A-B Centre-South and 8th in Divisione Nazionale), 7th in A and 11th. His managers included Ging, Andras Kuttik, Luigi Costantino, Luigi Ferrero, Stanislao Klein, János Vanicsek, János Nehadoma and Ferenc Plemich. Magyar managers were obviously in at the time.

 

The war years were not kind on Maestrelli. He answered the call up and was sent to the Balkans. He suffered a leg injury when a grenade exploded near him and he got hit by a splinter. He was then captured by the Nazis and went through some tough times before being liberated by Tito's partisans, who gave him the nickname "Maestrellovic" and whom he stayed with for a while. When he returned home fortunately his leg gradually healed and he was ready to play again.

 

In 1948-49 he joined Roma. The Giallorossi finished 14th under manager Pietro Baldassare. Maestrelli played 29 league games with 4 goals (Triestina, Livorno x2, Novara) and both derbies were draws.

The season ending was however tragic for Italian football. The great Torino, who had won 5 consecutive scudettos between 1942-43 and 1948-49, died in an air crash on May 4, 1949. Returning from a friendly against Benfica in Lisbon, the plane carrying the whole team crashed into the wall at the back of the Basilica of Superga which is on a hill near Turin. All 31 people on the flight died. These included the players, coaching staff, a few journalists and the flight crew.


Tommaso Maestrelli was supposed to be on that plane. Despite the fact that he was playing for Roma at the time, he had been invited by Valentino Mazzola to join the team for the friendly match. Maestrelli did not make it because he was unable to renew his passport in time.


In 1949-50 the manager was Fulvio Bernardini and then Luigi Brunella for the last three games. The Giallorossi finished 17th and narrowly avoided relegation, blatantly helped by infamous referee Pera in the penultimate game. Maestrelli played 35 league games and the derbies finished 3-1 to Lazio and 0-0.

 

The 1950-51 season was his last with Roma. The manager was first Adolfo Baloncieri (1-19), then Pietro Serantoni (16-33) and finally Giudo Masetti (34-38). This time Roma were relegated, finishing 19th, the first Roman club to do so. Maestrelli played 31 league games and Roma lost both derbies again (0-1, 1-2).

 

With Roma in Serie B, Maestrelli joined Lucchese in Serie A. The manager was first Luigi Ferrero, from his Bari days (1-9) and then Piero Andreoli (10-38). The "Pantere" finished 18th and were relegated after a playoff (Triestina 0-1, in Bergamo). Maestrelli played 35 league games and scored one goal. His teammates included, former Lazio, Leandro Remondini (1947-50) and former and future Lazio, Aldo De Fazio (1949-50, 1952-56).

 

He stayed on in Serie B but the Rossoneri were relegated again. They got through six managers including Tommaso as player-manager for three games. He played 22 league games.

 

In 1953, at 31, he returned to Bari in Serie D. The Biancorossi won the Serie D Scudetto and were promoted under manager Francesco Capocasale. Maestrelli played 23 league games.

 

The following year the "Galletti" won promotion again with the same manager. Maestrelli played 30 league games. One of his teammates was, future Lazio, Gino Seghedoni (1961-63 and famous for the absurdly disallowed goal against Napoli which ultimately denied Lazio promotion).

 

In 1955-56 "La Vecchia Stella del Sud" finished 10th in B and Maestrelli played 13 league games.

 

In 1956-57 he played his last season. Bari had a new manager Federico Allasio (Lazio manager in 1954) and finished 11th. Maestrelli played 8 league games with 1 goal (winner against Como).

 

At 34 he then retired and went into coaching, something he had already done at Lucchese in 1953.

 

At international level he won one cap for Italy in 1948 against Denmark.

 

He started as assistant coach for six years at Bari. He assisted Allasio, Paolo Tabanelli, Capocasale, Luis Carniglia, Allasio again and Pietro Magni. In 1963 he even took over briefly for 5 games (D2, L3). Bari finished 2nd (promoted), 11th in A, 13th in A, 16th in A (relegated), 12th in B, 2nd in B (promoted) and 18th in A (relegated).

 

In 1964 he had his first real experience as head manager at Reggina in Serie C. In his first year he got the Reggini promoted in 1st place. He then stayed three more seasons in Serie B, finishing 4th, 9th and 9th again.

 

In 1968-69 he moved to Foggia in Serie B. The "Satanelli" finished 8th. The following year he led the Rossoneri to promotion to Serie A in 2nd place. The squad included a young Alberto Bigon (Lazio 1980-82) and future Lazio Luciano Re Cecconi (1972-77 and Scudetto winner before his tragic death).

 

In Serie A in 1970-71 he was unable to keep the Rossoneri up and they were relegated in 14th place. They did however beat Lazio 5-2 and Roma 1-0 at home and drew with Juventus and Inter. Foggia also played good football despite their fate.

 

In 1971-72 he joined Lazio in Serie B. He was not initially welcomed too well. The players and fans had got used to Juan Carlos Lorenzo’s histrionic and theatrical ways and here came a calm character from the provinces who had just been relegated himself and had also played for rivals Roma. Maestrelli had the intelligence to first win over charismatic leader Giorgio Chinaglia. Then with patience, gentle ways, dialogue, balance and not least results he convinced everyone.


Official SS Lazio photo

Things started well with Lazio beating Roma 1-0 in the Coppa Italia and then qualifying for the second group phase to be played in the spring /summer of 1972. The Biancocelesti won promotion back to Serie A in 2nd place.

 

In 1972-73 he was joined in Rome by Re Cecconi and Lazio sold Giuseppe Massa but also signed Mario Frustalupi, Renzo Garlaschelli, Sergio Petrelli and Felice Pulici. The Biancocelesti went extremely close to winning the Scudetto, battling with Juventus and Milan until the last game and winning both derbies. Lazio played an innovative style of play based on the Dutch way but also the Austrian vertex system of the 1930's (the constant interchange of positions between players).

 

In 1973-74 came his masterpiece. Lazio won the Scudetto. In the summer he managed to convince the Lazio president Umberto Lenzini to keep all the key players, starting from Chinaglia. A wonderful team with strong internal rivalries who however came together on the Sunday to play great football. On the 12th of May 1974 a Chinaglia penalty against Foggia at the Olimpico gave Lazio their first historic title.

 

In 1974-75 Lazio were unable to represent Italy in the European Cup due to the incidents on and off the pitch in the UEFA Cup game against Ipswich Town. Crowd trouble and brawls between the players, during and after the game, led to a one-year ban. In partial justification Lazio had suffered one of the worst refereeing performances ever by an unsteady Dutchman called Van der Kroft. In the league Lazio finished 4th but in March Maestrelli's life changed. He fell ill and was diagnosed with liver cancer. The team was under shock and collapsed 1-5 against Torino, playing with tears in their eyes. Lazio would never be the same. Faithful Bob Lovati took over for the last five games.

 

In 1975-76 Giulio Corsini became manager but clashed with the players especially Chinaglia who wanted to spend more time in the USA where his family now lived. Corsini was replaced and then surprisingly Maestrelli returned, seemingly in better health after various therapies.

 

It was a difficult season. In April, Chinaglia finally left with Maestrelli's permission who considered Giorgio like a son. Lazio only avoided relegation in the last game of the season with a dramatic 2-2 draw in Como. It was a miraculous feat considering how the season had panned out. It would be his last gift to Lazio.


Source Lazio Wiki

The disease had not gone away and the following season he was unable to continue as manager. He took on the job of sporting director, with Luís Vinicio as head coach, but his energies were fading. On November 26 1976, after Lazio had defeated Roma, he went into a coma. Tommaso Maestrelli died on January 2 at 2.45 p.m. Rome was in mourning and the Lazio world shattered.

 

Maestrelli is considered Lazio’s best manager ever. He is the most respected and the most loved. He has almost cult status. "Tom", as he was known, will be revered forever, without him Lazio's Scudetto would have been impossible.

 

His greatest virtue was his ability to unite a bunch of crazy characters, divided into clans during the week, into a formidable, compact and spectacular team on match day. He did so with his intelligence, his mellow character, his flexibility, his deep understanding of human psychology all combined with a superb footballing brain.

 

To Lazio players he was a coach, a father, a friend, a priest and more. He created a family at Lazio. His two young twins were often present at the training sessions, he often invited Chinaglia to have dinner with his wife and four kids, he flew to Germany during the 1974 World Cup to speak to Giorgio after his controversial substitution against Haiti, he had the human touch.

 

To Lazio fans he is simply "Il Maestro". His name is sung to the heavens every home game, as it is in the official Lazio song. The line more or less goes, "Come on Lazio we cannot falter, the Maestro is up above watching us" (it rhymes in Roman…). There have been several books written about him and even a play.

 

Sadly, three of his children have also passed away from Tommaso's same illness. His grandchildren also play football, Alessio is a defender for Turris in Serie C while Andrea plays for Arzachena (Sardinia) in the 6th tier.

 

Maestrelli is buried in the Prima Porta cemetery in north Rome alongside his beloved Giorgio "Long John" Chinaglia and the captain Pino Wilson.


Sources






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