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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

May 25, 1958: Lazio Verona 4-0

Updated: 12 hours ago

Lazio crush Verona and relegation worries


A convincing display shows Lazio deserve to keep Serie A status



Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far


The previous season had been excellent. Under English manager Jesse Carver, Lazio had finished 3rd in Serie A.


This year, however, things had not gone as well. Lazio had started the season with Milovan Čiric as coach, then replaced by Alfredo Monza after 19 games.


In the summer there had been a few transfer movements. In had come defender Mario Colombo (Pro Patria), midfielders Giorgio Bravi (Taranto), Dante Castellazzi (Taranto) and Ugo Pozzan (Bologna) plus striker Brunello Cocciuti (Reggina). Out of these only Pozzan would play regularly.


Two players were retiring: goalkeeper Aldo De Fazio and striker Karl Aage Præst. Also leaving was legendary defender Primo Sentimenti V (Udinese) and forward Lorenzo Bettini (Udinese).


So far, Lazio had won 9, drawn 10 and lost 10. The Biancocelesti were not safe yet. After beating Roma 2-1 on March 16 they had not won another game (5 defeats and 3 draws) and had the worst defence in Serie A. Top scorer was Arne Selmosson "Raggio di Luna" (Moonbeam) with 8 league goals.


Lazio needed a win today to be sure of Serie A football the following year. The table read Verona 26, Atalanta, Lazio, SPAL, Genoa and Sampdoria all on 28, Alessandria 30. Two teams went down so it was very close. In Lazio's favour SPAL were playing Atalanta, so a win would guarantee the Roman's survival.


Today's opposition Verona were practically doomed but still had a glimmer of hope. They were newly promoted having won Serie B the previous year but had found the higher level problematic. Initially the Scaligeri had kept promotion manager Angelo Piccioli, but replaced him after 31 games with the Luigi Bonizzoni and Guido Tavellin duo. The Gialloblu had won 10 (including Milan, Lazio 1-0)), drawn 6 and lost 17. The previous week they had beaten Talmone Torino 2-0 to still give them a small chance of escaping the "purgatory" of Serie B.


The match: Sunday May 25, 1958, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


The last decisive game of the season was played on a sunny but not excessively warm day. A crowd of 40,000 was present to cheer Lazio on to safety.


There was tension in the air for this crucial clash and inevitably other scores would be monitored too.


Lazio came out determined to resolve the matter immediately. They attacked from kick-off and soon took the lead. After six minutes a Franco Carradori-Renzo Burini combination produced a long through ball which Pozzan (a former Verona player) ran onto and beat Italo Ghizzardi coming off his line. 1-0 and a perfect start for Lazio.


Verona at this stage were desperate and threw themselves forward. They had three chances to equalise with Finn Gundersen twice and Franco Bassetti. Lazio resisted the visitors' reaction and then doubled their lead.


In the 27th minute Humberto Tozzi decided to go solo and his brilliant run ended with his shot taking a somewhat lucky deflection off Selmosson and ending up in the net. Lazio 2 Verona 0. The Scaligeri now needed a miracle and Lazio were in the driving seat. The visitors did not look like believers anymore and their heads dropped. Halftime 2-0 Lazio. SPAL vs Atalanta was still 0-0 so for the moment it was Verona and the Bergamaschi for the drop.


The second half started with Lazio keen to wrap things up and not run any risks. They did just that after only a minute, Tozzi made it 3-0. What followed was attack against defence with the visitors completely demoralised and Lazio playing on the waves of enthusiasm. In the 51st minute Carradori scored the 4-0. Lazio had several other chances and could even afford the luxury of missing a penalty, with Burini having his shot saved by Ghizzardi. Selmosson went off with cramp in the 85th minute but the game had stopped being competitive. Final score Lazio 4 Verona 0.


Lazio left the field with a standing ovation from their fans. Appreciation of the performance and also relief and joy for escaping relegation.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Monza

D.T: Canestri


Who played for Verona


Ghizzardi, Basiliani, Cuttica, Tesconi, Benedetti, Stefanini, Galassini, Amicarelli, Del Vecchio, Gundersen, Bassetti

Manager: Tavellin

D.T: Bonizzoni


Referee: Bonetto


Goals: 6' Pozzan, 26' Selmosson, 46' Tozzi, 51' Carradori



What happened next


Lazio as said with the win and two points were safe irrelevant of the other results.


In the summer, starting in June, the Coppa Italia started. For the cup Lazio had a new manager, Fulvio Bernardini and they had an excellent group phase with 4 wins (Palermo 5-1, Napoli 3-1, Roma 3-2, Napoli 4-0) and 2 draws (Palermo 2-2 and Roma 1-1). In the quarterfinals in September they defeated Marzotto Valdagno 2-1 and then Juventus 2-0 in the semi-final.


The final was played in Rome on September 24, 1958. Lazio played Fiorentina and won 1-0 with a goal by Maurilio Prini (recently bought from Fiorentina …). After 58 years Lazio lifted their first historic trophy.


The main news in the summer had been a major change to the Lazio squad. It was more a trauma, as Swedish idol Arne Selmosson, (nicknamed “Raggio di Luna”, Moonbeam, for the pallor of his skin) after 3 highly successful seasons and 31 goals in 101 games for Lazio, had done the unmentionable: he had swapped “sides of the Tiber” and signed for bitter rivals Roma. It was a major event in Rome and some people were even said to have changed teams siding with the “Giallorossi” just so they could continue following the Swede (such as former Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, just to name one). Until 2018 he was the only player to have scored for both Lazio and Roma in derbies (since emulated by Aleksandar Kolarov and Pedro). So Lazio would start the next season “Selmossonless”.


As for Verona they obviously ended up bottom of the table. SPAL beat Atalanta 2-1 and were safe, as were Genoa and Sampdoria who had both won and Alessandria who had drawn.


As often happens in Italy there was some confusion at the end of the season. The second bottom team had to play the second placed club in Serie B to decide who would play in Serie A. Initially Atalanta were punished with bottom place for match fixing (the Azzini case). This meant Verona played Bari for the right Serie A status.


The Gialloblù lost both matches, 1-0 and 2-0, and were relegated. Meanwhile Atalanta were first put back to second bottom, then punished with relegation and then finally let off, result being... they were relegated anyway. All quite simple really…


The Scudetto was won by Juventus for their 10th title and the top scorer was Welshman, John Charles, "Il Gigante Buono" (The Gentle Giant) with 28 league goals.


A curious fact about the 1957-58 season is that it was the first to have a night game, as Roma vs Juventus was played under the novelty of floodlights.


Lazio 1957-58

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

34

10

10

14

45

Coppa Italia

6

4

2

-

18

Total

40

14

12

14

63

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Pinardi

35

30

5

Molino

34

34

-

Selmosson

33

33

-

Muccinelli

32

32

-

Pozzan

32

27

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Tozzi

16

7

9

Burini

12

7

5

Selmosson

9

9

-

Pozzan

6

5

1

Muccinelli

5

5

-

Let's talk about Ugo Pozzan


Ugo Pozzan is second from right kneeling. Source Lazio Wiki

Ugo Pozzan was born in San Martino Buon Albergo (Verona), on December 29, 1929.


He started his football in his local village team, A. C San Martino. He then played for nearby big town Verona between 1949 and 1953. The Scaligeri finished 9th, 9th, 10th and 13th. Pozzan played 121 league games with 32 goals.


In 1953 he joined Bologna in Serie A. In his first year under Cipo Viani the Rossoblú finished 7th. Pozzan played 14 games with 2 goals (Sampdoria, Palermo).


In 1954-55 Bologna came 4th. Pozzan played 32 games with 4 goals (Catania x2, Catania again, Torino).


In 1955-56 the Felsinei finished 5th, first under Viani and then after 18 games Aldo Campatelli. Pozzan made 26 league appearances and scored 6 goals (Triestina,Vicenza, Torino, Napoli, Milan, Juventus).


The next season would be his last in Emilia. Still under Campatelli, Bologna finished 6th. Pozzan played 25 league games with a personal record of 8 goals (Atalanta, SPAL, Juventus, Padova, Genoa, Inter, Roma x2).


It may have been the brace against Roma in a 3-2 away win but the fact is the following year Pozzan was playing for Lazio. In his first year in Rome, first under Milovan Ćiric and then Alfredo Monza, the Biancocelesti came 12th. Pozzan played 27 games with 5 goals (Atalanta, Napoli x2, Inter, Verona). It was in the Coppa Italia, however, that Lazio lived their finest hour. Under Fulvio Bernardini they lifted the cup on September 24,1958, beating Fiorentina 1-0 in Rome, thus winning their first ever trophy. Pozzan was a protagonist and played 8 games including the final, with one goal (Napoli).


In 1958-59 Lazio continued with Bernardini. The Biancocelesti, without Selmosson, who had defected to Roma, came 11th. Pozzan played 24 league games with 2 goals (Udinese, Roma).


In 1959-60 Lazio finished 12th. Pozzan played 16 games with 1 goal (Bari) and 3 in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Palermo, Bologna).


The next season would be his last in the capital. It was not a positive one for Lazio. They started the season with Bernardini but after 10 games replaced him with former glory Enrique Flamini and were however unable to avoid relegation with an 18th place finish. Not even the appointment of Englishman Jesse Carver as Technical Director, after 15 matches, managed to salvage the situation. Lazio won a derby but, after 30 years, were going down to Serie B. Lazio almost got some glory in the Coppa Italia getting to the final but were beaten 2-0 by Fiorentina. Pozzan played 15 league matches and scored 1 goal (Fiorentina) and 2 games in Coppa Italia.


In 1961-62 Pozzan joined Pisa for a season in Serie C. He played 26 league games and scored 1 goal.


At international level he won 2 Italy caps, in 1956 in friendlies versus Argentina and Brazil.


At 32 he retired but continued in football as a manager. He coached Verona in Serie B in 1966-67 for 8 matches, between Omero Tognon and Nils Liedholm.


Between 1968 and 1970 he was at Pistoiese in Serie C. In his second year unfortunately the "Olandesina" (Little Dutch girl- for their orange shirts) got relegated to Serie D.


In 1970 he was back in Verona. After 8 matches the Gialloblù sacked Renato Lucchi and called on Pozzon. He led them to safety with an 11th place (beating Roma and Lazio). His top scorer was future Lazio Sergio Clerici with 15 goals in all competitions.


Pozzan was a midfielder. At 1.73 he was not an overly physical player but he had many qualities. He was constant, rarely having a bad game, intelligent and extremely dynamic. He could play with both feet and despite his height had a good header. His mobility and the fact he possessed a strong and accurate shot explain his relatively high scoring rate.


At Lazio he played 82 league games and scored 9 goals plus 14 Coppa Italia games with 3 goals. He played all 8 with a goal in the 1958 Coppa Italia triumph. This, apart from four solid seasons, would be his main legacy at Lazio. It was Lazio's first unforgettable silverware and their last until the 1974 Scudetto and then the next domestic cup in 1998. For us growing up in the 1970's the 1958 victory took on legendary status and Pozzan was a big part of it.


Pozzan died prematurely of leukemia in 1973, at the age of 43.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Italo-French Friendship Cup

1957-58

32 (6)

27 (5)

5 (1)

-

1958-59

27 (2)

24 (2)

3

-

1959-60

20 (3)

16 (1)

3 (2)

1

1960-61

18 (1)

15 (1)

3

-

Total

97 (12)

82 (9)

14 (3)

1

Sources


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