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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Mario Piga

Mario Piga was born in Palau (Sassari-Sardinia), on May 29 1956. He has a twin brother, Marco, who was also a professional footballer.


Source Lazio Wiki

Mario started playing football at amateur level with his hometown club Palau.

 

In 1973 he moved to nearby Torres (Sassari) in Serie C. He stayed two seasons and the Rossoblu finished 15th and 19th. His manager was Giovanni Sanna who was then replaced during the second season by Romano Magherini. Piga played 71 league games and scored 5 goals. His brother Marco was also in the squad. Some years later Gianfranco Zola would spend three seasons at Torres early in his career.

 

In 1975 Piga joined Lucchese in Serie C. He stayed two years in Lucca and the "Pantere" finished 5th and 4th under Tito Corsi and Giovanni Meregalli. He played 73 league games and scored 3 goals. He again played alongside his twin brother.

 

In 1977 he joined Atalanta in Serie A but after only 2 appearances in Coppa Italia he moved south to Irpinia and joined Avellino in Serie B. These were the Biancoverdi's greatest years in their history. In his first year the "Lupi" were promoted under former and future Lazio, Paolo Carosi. Piga played 25 league games with 2 goals (Cremonese, Sampdoria). His teammates included Lazio connections Maurizio Montesi (1976-1977, 1979-83), Vincenzo Chiarenza (1981-82, 1983) plus obviously his twin brother.

 

Over the next ten seasons Avellino managed to stay in Serie A and Piga stayed for four. The Irpini finished 10th, 12th, 10th and 8th. In these years they had victories against Milan three times, Inter, Napoli, Juventus and Roma to name a few of their scalps. The managers were Rino Marchesi the first two seasons, Luis Vinicio in the third and Vinicio then replaced by Claudio Tobia in the fourth. Piga played another 128 league games with 9 goals (Ascoli, winner against Inter, Roma, Fiorentina, Como, Juventus, Torino, Milan, Ascoli) and 6 games in Coppa Italia. His teammates included Lazio connections, Paolo Beruatto (1987-1990), Ciccio Cordova (1976-79) and Giuseppe Massa (1966-72).

 

In 1982-83 he spent a year with Perugia in Serie B. The “Grifoni" finished 11th under manager Aldo Agroppi. Piga played 25 league games. He played alongside Lazio connections Domenico Caso (1985-89), Dario Marigo (1980-82, 1983) and Dario Sanguin (1980-82).

 

In 1983-84 he played a season with Lazio. The Biancocelesti were back in Serie A after three seasons in the purgatory of Serie B. The new president was club hero Giorgio "Long John" Chinaglia and there was great enthusiasm. The team however was not really competitive for the level of top-flight football. The manager was initially Juan Carlos Morrone but he was replaced in December by Paolo Carosi. Lazio struggled all season but ultimately avoided relegation in the last game of the season with an away draw at Pisa. Piga played 11 league games.

 

In 1984 he moved on and joined Palermo in Serie C. He stayed two seasons in Sicily. In the first the Rosaneri finished 2nd and were promoted to Serie B under Domenico Rosati. In the second the Eagles finished 6th, first under Antonio Angelillo and then Fernando Veneranda. In his time in "Paliemmu" (in dialect) he played 59 league games with 5 goals. He too was accused of being involved in the 1986 Totonero bis match fixing scandal and was suspended for one month.

 

In 1986 he went home and joined Torres again, in C2. He stayed three seasons. In the first the Rossoblu won promotion, in 1st place, to C1, under manager Lamberto Leonardi. He played alongside future Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.

 

In his next two seasons the Sardinians finished 7th and 4th, first under Leonardi and then Francesco Liguori. In his three seasons Piga played 71 league games and scored 8 goals.

 

He then spent his two last seasons at local club Ilva Maddalena in Interregionale (4th tier). He played 61 league games.

 

At 35 he then retired.

 

After retiring he had a brief experience as manager with Torres in C2 in 1996-97, managing to avoid relegation. He was then replaced some months later.

 

Piga was an attacking midfielder. He was diminutive at 1.68 but extremely dynamic. He had his satisfactions in his career, 114 games in Serie A with 9 goals (including the three giants, Juve, Inter and Milan plus Roma). He won a promotion to A with Avellino, scoring the promotion clinching goal against Sampdoria. He also won a promotion to C1 with his local club Torres, again scoring the decisive goal against Alessandria in the last game of the season.

 

With Lazio he only stayed one season and was not a regular. He played 11 league games but it was ultimately a positive season for the Biancocelesti in that they avoided relegation in dramatic fashion.


Lazio Career

Season

Serie A appearances

1983-84

16

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