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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

May 16, 1976: Como Lazio 2-2

Updated: 3 days ago

To hell and back


Down 2-0 after 17 minutes, Lazio manage to equalise thanks to Giordano and Badiani and avoid relegation. A miracle.




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


The previous season Lazio had arrived fourth. The team was deeply affected by their manager’s illness. Tommaso Maestrelli had cancer so he could not lead the Biancocelesti for the 1975-76 season. President Umberto Lenzini had waited until the last possible moment, and then he was forced to look elsewhere. The new manager was Giulio Corsini, a young trainer who had done well with Atalanta.


Corsini’s idea was to get rid of some of the players that had been the backbone of the scudetto team. So goodbye Mario Frustalupi and Giancarlo Oddi, who were sold to Cesena in exchange for Paolo Ammoniaci and Francesco Brignani, plus Franco Nanni, sold to Bologna. The other signing of any significance was Antonio Lopez from Pescara.


Giorgio Chinaglia was a problem.


Long John’s family had been forced to return to the US following threats by Roma supporters. Chinaglia really missed his family so in the summer he went to the States. While he was there he was invited to play a game for the Hartford Bicentennials against Poland. His participation was a media event and Chinaglia felt very important.


Pele joined the New York Cosmos and Chinaglia was invited to see the Brazilian champion’s first game with the club. While he was there he asked if Cosmos would want to sign him too. He really missed his family and he felt that life without them, the current difficult situation in Italy, plus Maestrelli’s illness was a sign that his Lazio adventure was over. Lenzini refused any negotiations and threatened Chinaglia with fines and suspension. Long John was forced to come back to Rome but when he arrived he saw that some of his teammates had been sold and that the new manager wanted to rule. Chinaglia demanded to play in Coppa Italia as soon as he returned, the manager said no. War had begun.


In Coppa Italia Lazio did rather well, qualifying for the second phase, which would be played at the end of the campionato. They won their two matches at home and drew the other away games.


In the UEFA Cup Lazio faced Chernomorets Odessa in the first round. After losing 1-0 away in the first leg, Lazio managed to take the tie to extra time thanks to a Chinaglia penalty with one minute to go. Long John scored another two goals and the Biancocelesti went through. In the next round, Lazio were drawn against Johan Cruijff’s Barcelona. A few weeks before the first leg, General Francisco Franco had ordered a few dissidents shot and this had created great indignation in Italy. There was strong pressure from Italian politicians on Lazio to refuse to play against the Spanish team. Lenzini did what he could to get the game played, but in the end gave up. As a consequence UEFA gave the victory to the Spaniards 3-0. The return game was pointless and the Biancoclesti, packed with reserves, lost 4-0. The stupidity of the decision was blatant: Barcelona had always been against Franco.


Lenzini had then granted Chinaglia the possibility of going to the US once a month to see his family. Corsini did not agree and told the Lazio centre forward that “until I am the Lazio manager you will never be going to the States”. The situation reached its pinnacle in the interval of the first derby of the season. Chinaglia and Corsini fought, the old Lazio guard was with their leader and all hell broke loose. Long John scored Lazio’s equaliser and that night flew to the US. The next Sunday Lazio lost and Corsini was sacked. Lazio were 13th, in the relegation zone with just 5 points.


Tommaso Maestrelli was feeling much better and had returned almost to a normal life. Lenzini offered him his job back and the Maestro accepted. But there were problems. Lazio did not have a playmaker since Frutstalupi had been sold. Lots of runners, but nobody to feed the ball to the forwards. By the end of the first half of the season there was a slight improvement and Lazio were 12th, still in the relegation zone, but together with Sampdoria and Verona and one point behind Ascoli.


With four games to the end of the season Lazio were third from bottom, one point behind Sampdoria and Ascoli. Three teams went down (two points for victory). The Biancocelesti had to play against Torino who were leading the Serie A. Lazio scored in the second half but an unfortunate own goal with 60 seconds to go gave Torino the equaliser. With three games left, Cagliari were doomed on 15 points, Como had 18, Lazio and Sampdoria 20, Ascoli 21 and Verona 22.


This was Chinaglia’s last game for Lazio. On that evening he left to join New York Cosmos. His last goal was against Ascoli on March 21.


Lazio lost the next match 4-3 in Florence. So now Como and Lazio were on 20, Ascoli 21, Verona and Sampdoria 22. Lazio needed to beat AC Milan in the last game at home and they did. Not only, they literally destroyed Milan, scored four goals and they could have scored many more.


Como had 20 points, Lazio, Sampdoria and Ascoli 22, Verona 23. Last match at Como.


The match: Sunday, May 16, 1976, Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia, Como


Lazio needed to win to secure Serie A or draw and hope that Ascoli and Sampdoria did not win. The Biancocelesti had the advantage of a better goal difference which would have been decisive in the case of a tie.


The beginning of the game was hell. In the 6th minute a great shot by Doriano Pozzato beat Felice Pulici. Lazio collapsed and ten minutes later Pozzato again went close to scoring. The 2-0 however arrived in the 17th minute. Claudio Correnti received the ball from a corner outside the box and shot. Vincenzo D’Amico was able to block, but Correnti volleyed the ball into the Lazio goal. Como Lazio 2-0.


A terrible start but Lazio gradually woke up, they did not have much choice if they wanted to avoid relegation, and in the 20th minute a wonderful counter attack by Pino Wilson, Luciano Re Cecconi and Bruno Giordano handed the young Lazio centre forward a chance which he capitalised. 2-1.


Lazio attacked but did not create any chances. At the end of the first half the situation was Lazio and Como on 22 points, Ascoli, who were winning against Roma, on 24, Sampdoria, who were 1-0 up against Napoli, also on 24, as were Verona who were losing in Florence.


In the second half, the Biancocelesti took control of the match. In the 53rd minute Re Cecconi did a coast-to-coast and at the edge of Como's box passed the ball to Roberto Badiani. Great shot, 2-2.


Lazio also had the possibility to score the winner but Giordano and Re Cecconi missed some easy chances. The situation in the other matches improved for Lazio as Roma managed to equalise.


At the end of the season Lazio and Ascoli were on 23 points but the Biancocelesti had a better goal difference so it was Ascoli who joined Como and Cagliari in Serie B.


Great celebrations and tears at the end of the game. But there was still a problem.


Who played for Como


Rigamonti, Melgrati, Boldini, Garbarini, Fontolan (I), Guidetti M., Rossi R. (67' Rossi P.), Correnti, Scanziani, Martinelli, Pozzato.

Substitutes: Tortora, Mutti (I))

Manager: Bagnoli.


Who played for Lazio


Pulici, Ammoniaci (76’ Ghedin), Martini, Wilson, Polentes, Badiani, Garlaschelli, Re Cecconi, Giordano, D’Amico, Lopez

Substitutes: Moriggi, Ferrari

Manager: Maestrelli


Referee: Agnolin


Goals: 6’ Pozzato, 17’ Correnti, 20’ Giordano, 53’ Badiani



What happened next


As mentioned earlier, there was still a problem to face. We mentioned that Frustalupi and Oddi had been sold to Cesena in the summer of 1975. Lazio, however, still owed them some money. Furthermore, in the home match, the Cesena goalkeeper Lamberto Boranga had had his car damaged by some Lazio fans (in 1971 Boranga had feigned being hit by Chinaglia during a game and Long John had been sent off) and Lazio had promised to reimburse him. So when Lazio went to Cesena in April 1976, the club took the opportunity to pay off their debts.


CORRUPTION!!!! Lazio has bribed the Cesena players!!! There was an enquiry and nothing happened but the club and tifosi had to wait until the end of July to be certain.


At the end of a complicated season there was the second phase of the Coppa Italia to play. The eight winners of the first phase groups were divided into two groups of 4. Lazio had to play against Verona, Inter and Genoa. In the end they arrived third, just one point behind leaders Verona who qualified for the final (which they lost to Napoli).


Lazio 1975-76

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

6

11

13

35

Coppa Italia

10

5

3

2

10

UEFA Cup

4

1

-

3

3

Total

44

12

14

18

48

Top five appearances

Players

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Badiani

43

30

10

3

Pulici

42

30

9

3

Wilson

40

28

10

2

Ammoniaci

36

25

9

2

Garlaschelli

36

29

5

2

Top five goal scorers

Players

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Chinaglia

11

8

-

3

Garlaschelli

9

7

2

-

D'Amico

6

4

2

-

Giordano

6

5

1

-

Re Cecconi

3

1

2

-

Let's talk about Roberto Badiani


Roberto Badiani was born in Prato, near Florence, on October 9, 1949. He started his youth career with Club Sportivo Firenze and in 1968-69 played for Sangiovannese in Serie D. A year later he moved up to Serie B and played two seasons at Livorno. In November 1971 he signed for Mantova in Serie A. The team was relegated to Serie B and Badiani moved to Genoa to play for Sampdoria. He played fairly regularly there and attracted the attention of Lazio who signed him for the 1974-75 season. He was the only signing of that year for the club.


Badiani suffered the strong personalities in the team and was often the victim of pranks by his teammates. But he was fundamental at Como in 1976, when he scored the equaliser that allowed Lazio to stay in Serie A. He played fairly regularly for four years. In his last year he played less and at the end of the season he was loaned to Napoli.


At Napoli he hardly ever played and after a year he signed for Pistoiese in Serie A, again on loan. Despite the relegation, he became a hero for the Tuscan team when he scored the winning goal against Fiorentina away.


He returned to Lazio in 1981-82 and a year later helped the Biancocelesti to promotion in Serie A.


His last year of professional football came in the 1983-84 season with Vigor Senigallia in Serie C2.


After he quit football he went to work for the family business together with his brother-in-law, another former Lazio player, Walter Speggiorin.


He appeared in 226 games for Lazio and scored 7 goals. He was a good midfield player, one of those players that can be defined as a runner. He also played on the wing a few times. One of Badiani’s characteristics was that when he scored, which did not happen very often, he usually went beserk!!!


Lazio career

Seasons

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Serie B

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Intertoto Cup

1974-75

33

29

-

4

-

-

1975-76

43 (2)

30 (2)

-

10

3

-

1976-77

34 (2)

30 (1)

-

4 (1)

-

-

1977-78

39 (1)

25

-

4

4

6 (1)

1978-79

18

13

-

5

-

-

1981-82

33 (1)

-

31 (1)

2

-

-

1982-83

26 (1)

-

24 (1)

2

-

-

Total

226 (7)

127 (3)

55 (2)

31 (1)

7

6 (1)

Sources


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