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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 5, 1995: Lazio Fiorentina 8-2

Updated: Apr 22

Zeman's masterpiece


A celebration of Zeman's football at its best as Lazio put eight goals past Fiorentina




The season so far


The previous season Lazio had finished fourth and again qualified for the UEFA Cup. New owner Sergio Cragnotti, however, decided it was time for a change. Out went Dino Zoff's conservative style of play and in came "Zemanlandia" with new manager Zdenek Zeman, who had impressed at Foggia. Zoff was kept on as President.


The Bohemian brought Argentinian defender José Chamot with him and was reunited with winger Roberto Rambaudi (Atalanta). Lazio also added midfielder Giorgio Venturin (Torino) to their squad.


Leaving Lazio were defenders and fan favourite Luigi Corino (Brescia), Luca Luzardi (Napoli) plus well serving midfielder Claudio Sclosa (Cremonese-on loan).


So far Lazio had been somewhat inconsistent, capable of emphatic and spectacular victories (Foggia 7-1, Milan 4-0) but also disappointing defeats (Roma 3-0, Sampdoria 3-1, Bari at home 2-1). After 21 matches the Biancocelesti had won 10, drawn 4 and lost 7, so had 34 points. This of course being the first season awarding three points for a victory. A week earlier Lazio had fallen to two Asprilla goals at Parma (2-0).


Fiorentina had bounced back up to Serie A after being relegated in 1992-93. The Viola had won the Serie B tournament under Claudio Ranieri, helped by Gabriel Omar Batistuta's goals (who had honourably stayed on after the relegation).


The Florentines had made some good signings in the summer; Portuguese midfielder Rui Costa (Benfica), recent world champion Brazilian defender Márcio Santos (Bordeaux) and Fabrizio Di Mauro, who was back from his loan period at Lazio.


So far Fiorentina had won 8, drawn 8 (including 1-1 Lazio) and lost 5, giving them 32 points (2 behind Lazio). A week earlier they had drawn 2-2 at home with Inter. Batistuta was still firing away goals and had already scored 18 in 21 games.


An interesting player on the visitors team sheet was defender Stefano Pioli who many years later would become Lazio manager. Ciccio Baiano was on the bench, so had Beppe Signori not been absent, the magic Foggia attacking trio Signori-Baiano-Rambaudi would have been re-united.


Today's clash at the Olimpico was seen as crucial for the two teams' European ambitions and promised to be entertaining. It certainly was, for some anyway.


The match: Sunday March 5, 1995, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


The game was played on a mild, sunny, March day in front of a 45,000 crowd.


Lazio were without star striker Beppe Signori while Fiorentina were missing defender Márcio Santos and midfielder Fabrizio Di Mauro (former Lazio).


Lazio sensed the Florentine defence was in a generous mood after only four minutes. A low Alen Boksic cross was tapped in by an unmarked Gigi Casiraghi for 1-0.


Lazio were all over Fiorentina with Aaron Winter, Diego Fuser and Roberto Di Matteo in absolute control of the midfield. The second goal came on the half hour mark when a Fuser corner was headed backwards by Winter and slotted in by Paolo Negro, 2-0 Lazio.


Fiorentina then had a good Batistuta free kick saved by Luca Marchegiani, while Casiraghi also went close, but Lazio's third came only five minutes later. Alen Boksic was pulled down in the area by Alberto Malusci and Roberto Cravero coolly put away the penalty for 3-0.


Lazio continued on the front foot and Casiraghi set up by Di Matteo almost got Lazio’s fourth, his shot going just wide. Just before halftime, however, Fiorentina had a huge chance to cut the deficit. The "Gigliati" were awarded a penalty but Batistuta's powerful blast was brilliantly saved by Marchegiani. Halftime Lazio 3 Fiorentina 0.


The second half opened with another Batistuta attempt but after going around Marchegiani, he pulled the ball wide with the goal unguarded.


Lazio were relentless, producing attack after attack and in the 49th minute scored again. This time it was Di Matteo to Paolo Negro who, with a low cross again put Casiraghi in a tap- in position for his personal brace and 4-0 Lazio.


The Zeman goal machine marched on and struck again eight minutes later. A Rambaudi cross was nodded backwards into the heart of the area and headed in by Boksic to make it 5-0.


In the 60th minute Fiorentina saved their pride and scored. A Giovanni Tedesco shot was saved by Marchegiani but the loose ball then fell to Rui Costa who anticipated Negro and scored. The "Gol della bandiera" (literally a flag goal but an expression meaning consolation goal)? No, Fiorentina scored again in the 74th minute with Batistuta who this time fired home a second penalty.


Any idea of a crazy comeback was soon thwarted by Pioli being sent off and leaving Fiorentina with ten men in the 76th minute. Thwarted and then shattered by three more Lazio goals.


In the 82nd minute Casiraghi got his hat-trick slotting in from yet another low cross, this time by Di Matteo. Four minutes later it was Marco Di Vaio's turn for some glory with a well taken goal for the 7-2.


In the last minute Lazio decided to exaggerate and after being awarded a penalty Casiraghi scored his fourth of the afternoon from the spot kick to make it 8-2.


Total destruction and a fantastic attacking display by Lazio. Everything clicked and they could have scored another eight. Fiorentina's fragile defence just could not cope with Lazio's attacking moves, Rambaudi and Boksic in particular were like knives going through butter. Casiraghi got four but missed many more.


In the more human and less security minded years, the gates of the Olimpico were opened about fifteen minutes before full-time. This was for those who wanted to leave before and beat the traffic but it also enabled people to come in for free and watch the end of the game, even in the more expensive seats. Anyway on this particular day my brother was one of the lucky "latecomers" who saw three goals in ten minutes. We joked later that he saw more goals in ten minutes than in some whole seasons in the 80's...


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Orsi, Bacci, De Sio

Manager: Zeman


Who played for Fiorentina


Toldo, Sottil (46' Flachi), Luppi, Cois (46' Amerini), Pioli, Malusci, Carbone, Tedesco, Batistuta, Rui Costa, Baiano

Substitutes: Scalabrelli, Innocenti, Campolo

Manager: Ranieri


Referee: Treossi


Goals: 4' Casiraghi, 30' Negro, 35' Cravero (pen), 49' Casiraghi, 57' Boksic, 60' Rui Costa, 74' Batistuta (pen), 82' Casiraghi, 86' Di Vaio, 89' Casiraghi (pen)




What happened next


A week later Lazio lost 3-2 in Naples after being 2-0 up. They then won 8 out of the last 11 matches (including Roma 2-0, Juventus 3-0 away and Inter 4-1).


Lazio had a positive season and came second behind champions Juventus. They never really challenged for the scudetto (10 points behind) but runners up was still a prestigious position (although only the league winners still qualified for champions league). The Biancocelesti won 19, drew 6 and lost 9, finishing on 63 points. They had the best attack (Fiorentina second) and the best goal difference. Top scorer was Signori with 21 goals (17 in the league).


In the current UEFA Cup Lazio were somewhat unluckily knocked out by Borussia Dortmund in the quarter finals. Lazio were first clearly penalised by Hungarian referee Vágner's controversial decisions and then punished by former Lazio Karl-Heinz Riedle's last minute winner, giving the Westphalians a 2-1 aggregate victory.


In the Coppa Italia Lazio reached the semi- finals but were beaten by Juventus.


All in all a promising first year for Zeman and entertainment guaranteed for Lazio fans.


Fiorentina had a reasonable season and came 10th. They would have some more high scoring games, luckily some in their favour (Brescia 4-0, Napoli 4-0, Torino 6-3) while others not (Juventus 1-4). They totalled 12 wins, 11 draws and 11 defeats, so 47 points. They had the third worse defence but had the satisfaction of "Batigol" Batistuta being top Serie A scorer with 26 goals.


As mentioned, Juventus became champions for the 23rd time while Brescia, Reggiana, Foggia and Genoa slumped down to Serie B. Foggia unfortunately have not been back since.


Lazio 1994-95

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

34

19

6

9

69

Coppa Italia

8

6

-

2

19

UEFA Cup

8

5

2

1

10

Total

50

30

8

12

98

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Marchegiani

48

33

7

8

Negro

48

32

8

8

Casiraghi

47

34

6

7

Rambaudi

46

32

7

7

Fuser

45

32

6

7

Top Five Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Signori

21

17

4

-

Casiraghi

15

12

3

-

Boksic

11

9

-

2

Negro

8

4

3

1

Fuser

7

5

1

1

Let talk about Roberto Cravero


Roberto Cravero was born in Venaria Reale (Turin), on January 3, 1964.


He grew up in the Torino youth sector. He made his first team debut at 18 on May 16, 1982. The following year, however, he made no appearances and so in the summer of 1983 he was loaned to Cesena in Serie B.


He played two seasons in Romagna and played 67 games with 5 goals. In 1985 he returned to Torino in Serie A.


In his first season back he made a total of 19 appearances (8 in Serie A, 5 in Coppa Italia and 2 in the UEFA Cup). From the 1986-87 season Cravero became first choice "libero" for the Granata under Gigi Radice and played 28 league games and scored 3 goals (Fiorentina, Udinese and a late equaliser in the derby), plus 6 in Coppa Italia and 8 in the Uefa Cup.


Over the next two seasons Cravero made 58 league appearances under Radice (plus a UEFA place play-off) and 18 in Coppa Italia. He scored 6 league goals (Verona, Inter, Cesena, Atalanta, Lazio, Napoli). Unfortunately Torino were relegated that year and Cravero, by then captain, followed Toro down to Serie B.


Torino came straight up again winning Serie B under Eugenio Fascetti, Cravero played 34 league games with 6 goals (Padova, Cagliari, Avellino, Catanzaro, Cosenza, Messina) and 1 game in Coppa Italia.

Back in Serie A in 1990-91, under Emiliano Mondonico, he played 30 league games with one goal (Pisa), plus 6 in Coppa Italia (1 goal vs Verona) and 1 game in the Mitropa Cup. The club had a good season finishing 5th (UEFA place) and winning the Mitropa Cup (European tournament for second division winners).


The next season, 1991-92 would be his last for now in Turin, but it was an excellent one. Torino came third in the league and were runners-up in the UEFA Cup, losing to Ajax on away goals in the final (Torino had knocked out Real Madrid in the Semis). Cravero made 24 league appearances with 1 goal (Bari), 4 in Coppa Italia and 10 in the great European run.


In the summer of 1992 he signed for Lazio for 7.5 billion Lire (approx 3.8 million Euros). Lazio’s new ambitious owner Cragnotti was trying to build a competitive team and Cravero was chosen as an experienced, reliable "libero". Other players arriving at the same time as Cravero included Paul Gascoigne, Aron Winter, Beppe Signori, Giuseppe Favalli and Diego Fuser.


In his first year at Lazio, under Dino Zoff, he played 30 Serie A games with 3 goals (Juventus, Parma, Ancona) plus 4 games in Coppa Italia. Lazio finished 5th and qualified for the UEFA Cup.


In 1993-94, again under manager Dino Zoff, he played 29 league games and scored 5 goals (Parma, Cagliari, Reggiana, Cremonese, Lecce), 1 game in Coppa Italia and 2 in the UEFA Cup with 2 goals (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, home and away). Lazio had a good season finishing 4th, so back into the UEFA Cup.


The following year 1994-95 saw the arrival of Zdenek Zeman, with new ideas and philosophy of play. Cravero played slightly less, making 23 league appearances with 2 goals (Inter, Fiorentina), 7 in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Piacenza, home and away) and 7 in the UEFA Cup with 1 goal (Trabzonspor). Lazio had a very good season finishing second in Serie A (behind Juventus), reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup (went out on an unlucky night in Dortmund) and the semi-final of Coppa Italia (Juventus). This however was Cravero's last season with Lazio. He would make one more summer appearance in a Coppa Italia game before returning home to Torino.


He played three more seasons in Turin, the first in Serie A and the next two in Serie B. He made another 41 league appearances plus 3 in Coppa Italia. Unfortunately, he could not retire taking Torino back to Serie A as they lost the promotion play-off on penalties (Cravero scored his) against Perugia.


He retired after 301 competitive games for Torino, many as captain, and 18 goals. A club legend.


At Lazio he did not achieve the same status but was highly respected and had a good three seasons in Rome. He played a total of 104 games for the Biancocelesti and scored 15 goals (more than some of the strikers they have had).


At International level he participated in the European Championships of 1988 in the Italy squad but did not play any matches. He took part in the Italian Olympic team in Seoul 1988 and also played 12 games for Italy U21's.


Cravero was an excellent club player. He was a classic "libero" sweeper. He had good technique, was a superb tackler and had impeccable timing and sense of position. Despite not being a giant at 1.78 he had good aerial play, confirmed by his many goals from headers. He was a calm, collected player but with a certain authority about him, perfect captaincy material. He was also a reliable penalty taker usually sending the keeper the wrong way. He is remembered positively at Lazio as a solid, classy defender. He is associated with the beginning of the good times with owner Sergio Cragnotti and was part of the crazy "Gazza years" when Lazio were suddenly back on the world map.


After retiring Cravero worked as Torino team manager until 2000 and then as Torino Sports Director between 2003-05. He now works in punditry and is one of the most important and respected Mediaset technical commentators for Champions League and Coppa Italia.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

1992-93

34 (3)

30 (3)

4

-

1993-94

32 (7)

29 (5)

1

2 (2)

1994-95

37 (5)

23 (2)

7 (2)

7 (1)

July-Sep 1995

1

-

1

-

Total

104 (15)

82 (10)

13 (2)

9 (3)

Sources


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