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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

March 4, 1962: Lazio Napoli 0-0

Updated: Mar 4

The biggest refereeing scandal of all time


This match is the mother of all refereeing scandals. A free kick from Seghedoni had gone into the goal only to come out of a hole in the net. The goal was not given and Lazio had to stay an extra year in Serie B.




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


Following a disastrous 1960-61 season where Lazio finished last in Serie A, there were hopes of an immediate return back to the Italian football elite. To do so, the club revolutionised the squad: 14 players left (including Bob Lovati who retired) and 14 new players arrived including Nello Governato, who would go on to play 251 games for the Biancocelesti, and Gianni Seghedoni, who will be forever remembered for this game. Paolo Todeschini was the new manager.


Lazio started the Serie B championship slowly with three draws, but then picked up and took on a decent pace and finished the first half of the season in third place, just one point behind second place Modena (NB. The first three teams were promoted). The Biancocelesti had stayed second for a long time but the four draws and one loss in the last five matches had slowed them down.


The first match of the second half of the season seemed to solve everything but the defeat at Lucca in early February was fatal for Todeschini who was temporarily replaced by Alfonso Ricciardi (with Lovati on the bench). In the three matches before the game against Napoli, Lazio had lost two and won one and were now fourth, two points off the promotion zone. Beating Napoli was going to be very important.


The match: Sunday March 4, 1962, Stadio Flaminio, Rome


The Serie B big match was played on a terrible pitch due to the rain. Pierluigi Ronzon opened the hostilities immediately for Napoli but the ball went wide. Angelo Longoni had a chance in the 5th minute but his shot was miscued. A Giancarlo Morrone free kick was well saved by Pontel and Tacchi’s shot in the 11th minute just missed the post. Idilio Cei had work to do on a Gianni Corelli shot and in the 27th minute a Vincenzo Gasperi header following a free kick from Paolo Carosi hit the top of the crossbar.


Source Lazio Wiki

In the second half Lazio put their foot on the accelerator and in the 76th minute there was a free kick for the Biancocelesti. Seghedoni sent a curling ball into the net just under the crossbar and Lazio made it 1-0. The Lazio players were overjoyed and the Neapolitans in despair. Referee Iginio Rigato initially gave the goal but the linesman was signalling that the ball went out because he saw a ball boy collect it outside of the goal. The referee changed his mind. No goal, ball to Napoli. The Lazio players could not believe what they were witnessing. The ball clearly went in and they tried to get the referee to check if there was a hole in the goal. But Rigato just laughed. Adelmo Eufemi found the hole and showed it to the ref, but he was not interested.


The game ended in a goalless draw.


That evening what had happened was all over the news and the TV footage clearly showed that the ball went in. Lazio appealed to the Football League on two accounts: a) it was a goal and b) the ref did not check the goal nets before the match as is obligatory. The club was logically confident.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Ricciardi

Coach: Lovati


Who played for Napoli


Pontel, Molino, Mistone, Bodi, Schiavone, Girardo, Gilardoni, Ronzon, Corelli, Fraschini, Tacchi.

Manager: Pesaola.


Referee: Rigato



What happened next: Lazio’s appeal


All Lazio wanted was the repetition of the match. They had won the game in the first half of the season in Naples so they felt rather confident they could beat Napoli again. But the appeal was uphill right from the start. RAI, the Italian state television, refused to hand over the footage, the Federal Appeal Commission (CAF) refused to examine the TV images, the Rome-based media who should have raised hell was very quiet.


There was another scandal involving Napoli that year. With three matches to go there was Verona Napoli. Two people associated with Napoli tried to bribe the Verona goalkeeper and got caught in doing so. This should have automatically meant that Napoli at least got

a penalisation, or worse. But two things happened: firstly there was a massive storm over Verona on the Sunday and the match got postponed, and secondly Napoli’s lawyer managed to “convince” the judges that it was a personal initiative of those two people and that Napoli were not involved. This should have anyway brought a deduction of some points for strict liability, but Napoli got away with it.


In the magnificent book “Controstoria della Lazio”, the author, journalist Vincenzo Cerracchio, underlined the political importance of the then Napoli President, Achille Lauro, former mayor of Naples and very important political figure (if you ever get the chance to see the 1963 movie 'Hands over the City' directed by Francesco Rosi you will understand what type of person Achille Lauro was). Lazio had been commissioned due to very high debts and from a political point of view did not stand a chance.


The game was not repeated. Lazio Napoli 0-0.


Different media reaction


As said earlier, the Rome newspapers at the time were very quiet about what was going on and if you search on google for news about this match you will not find much.


Try looking for info on “gol di Turone”. There is no end.


At three games from the end of the 1980-81 season, Juventus were first with 39 points and Roma second with 38 and the second team of Rome had to face Juventus in Turin. In the 74th minute Bruno Conti crossed into the area, Roberto Pruzzo headed the ball towards the centre of the box and Maurizio Turone scored. The linesman however had his flag up: Turone was in offside. The match finished 0-0 and Juventus would keep the lead until the end of the season.


Was it offside? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. It was a matter of centimetres anyway, impossible for the human eye to be as precise as VAR technology and the footage of the game did not help. Well the Rome based media have been talking about this game for forty years, at least three of four times a year. There is a bibliography of stuff on this game that could fill a large library. They even made a movie about it!!!!


This just goes to show that when it comes to Lazio, one must be very careful when reading about the Biancoclelesti in the Italian media. There is a bias and there always has been.


The Hoffenheim- Bayern Leverkusen ghost goal


There was a similar case in Hoffenheim-Bayern Leverkusen played on October 19, 2013. Stefan Kiessling headed the ball in from a corner. Some of his teammates celebrated but strangely he put his hands on his head in despair, as if he had missed a big opportunity. But the ball was in the back of the net!!! And the referee, Felix Brych, gave the goal!!! What happened?


There was a hole in the net. The ball was out but ran along the outside of the net and back into it. The footage was clear and after the game Hoffenheim asked for the match to be repeated. It was not, Hoffenhiem lost the appeal and the game. It was a referee mistake and not a technical error.


If there had been VAR at the time of all three games, we would not be talking about injustices.



The rest of the 1961-62 season


Lazio had been within a few points of the promotion zone all season and with two games to go, Lazio were third in the company of Verona, Napoli and Modena and one point behind Pro Patria, second. Genoa, first, were miles ahead.


Lazio had to face Verona away and lost, killing any chances of promotion, Napoli and Modena drew and Pro Patria surprisingly lost at home. With one game to go, Verona were one point ahead of Napoli, Pro Patria and Modena and two of Lazio. In the last game Napoli and Modena won, Pro Patria and Verona lost so promotion went to the Neapolitans and the Emiliani.


Lazio won their last game and missed promotion by one point. Napoli were promoted by one point. If that goal had been given …


Lazio 1961-62

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie B

38

14

14

10

50

Coppa Italia

3

2

1

-

4

Total

41

16

15

10

54

Top 5 appearances

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Cei

41

38

3

Zanetti

37

35

2

Seghedoni

36

33

3

Morrone

35

33

2

Gasperi

32

29

3

Landoni

32

30

2

Top 5 Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie B

Coppa Italia

Morrone

15

14

1

Bizzarri

11

10

1

Longoni

9

9

-

Pinti

5

4

1

Maraschi

3

3

-


Let's talk about Gianni Seghedoni

Source Wikipedia

Giovanni Seghedoni, better known as Gianni, was born in Modena on March 3, 1932. He started playing football for his home town club in 1951. A year later he was sent to Toma Maglie (near Lecce) in Serie C on loan and in 1953 he signed for Prato.


His breakthrough as a player came with his move to Bari in 1954. After a first promotion to Serie B, he was sent on loan to Reggiana in Serie D in 1955, but returned to Puglia in 1956 helping them to promotion to Serie A. He played three seasons in Serie A with Bari and in 1961 he moved to Lazio.


Lazio had just been relegated to Serie B for the first time in their history and were looking for an immediate promotion back to the elite football of Serie A. Seghedoni became famous for the ghost goal against Napoli, that eventually was crucial for Napoli’s promotion and Lazio having to stay in Serie B for another year. In 1962-63 Lazio finally got the promotion they deserved.


Seghedoni was a very physical midfielder, a great fighter with a good shot from outside the box. He played 49 games for Lazio in Serie B, scoring one goal, and 4 in Coppa Italia. In 1963 he joined Vis Pesaro and played two more years before retiring.


He had a very lengthy career as manager: from 1966, when he started with Lecce in Serie C to 1995 with Sassuolo. He managed Catanzaro in 1970-71 taking them to Serie A for the first time in their history but could not avoid their relegation back to Serie B the following year. In Serie A he managed L.R. Vicenza in 1972 and Como in 1982. All the other coaching jobs have been with Serie B and Serie C clubs.


Once he stopped coaching, he became a talent scout for Parma and in March 2006 team manager for Modena.


He died in Modena on April 21, 2016.


Lazio Career

Season

Total apperances (goals)

Serie B

Coppa Italia

1961-62

36

33

3

1962-63

17 (1)

16 (1)

1

Total

53 (1)

49 (1)

4

Sources


Vincenzo Cerracchio: Controstoria della Lazio. Historica, 2016




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