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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

November 23, 2003: Lazio Perugia 3-1

No love lost in tense affair but Lazio win 3-1


More scuffles than football with six red cards but Lazio get two late goals and win the battle 




Official SS Lazio photo

 

The season so far


The previous season had been a positive one for Lazio, despite being the first without Alessandro Nesta. The Biancocelesti, under Roberto Mancini, finished 4th and therefore qualified for the Champions League. They also reached two semi-finals: Coppa Italia (Roma 1-3) and UEFA Cup (eventual winners Porto 1-4 on aggregate). Top scorer was Claudio Lopez with 17 goals (15 in Serie A).

 

This season more sacrifices were made due to the club's critical financial situation. Leaving were Scudetto heroes Luca Marchegiani (Chievo), defender Giuseppe Pancaro (Milan) and midfielder Diego Simeone (Atlético Madrid) plus midfielders Dino Baggio, (Blackburn-on loan), Lucas Castromán (Udinese-on loan) and forward Enrico Chiesa (Siena). It seemed Dejan Stankovic would also leave but ended up staying, for now.

 

Arriving were keeper Matteo Sereni (Brescia), defender Luciano Zauri (Atalanta), midfielders Demetrio Albertini (Milan) and Ousmane Dabo (Atalanta) and striker Roberto Muzzi (Udinese). Lazio also welcomed back Scudetto hero Sergio Conceição (free agent).

 

So not a lot to get excited about, but this was the transition phase between Sergio Cragnotti's golden era and Claudio Lotito's austerity era. The President at the moment was Ugo Longo.

 

So far, had been a mixed bag. In Serie A. Lazio had played 9 games, winning 5 (Lecce, Sampdoria, Chievo, Bologna and Udinese), drawing 1 (Empoli) and losing 3 (Parma, Milan and most recently the derby to two late goals). Lazio were therefore on 16 points and were in 6th position.

 

In the Champions League Lazio had got through the preliminary round in August, defeating Benfica 4-1 on aggregate. Things had then started well in the group phase, with a 2-0 away win Istanbul against Beşiktaş, but then gone downhill with a 2-2 home draw against Sparta Prague (with a Karel Poborsky goal) and two defeats against Chelsea. It would be difficult to qualify now.

 

Perugia had finished a positive 9th the previous season under manager Serse Cosmi. The "Grifoni" had won 10 (including Inter 4-1, Milan 1-0, Roma 1-0, all at home), drawn 12 (including Lazio 2-2 at home, Roma, Juventus, Inter all 2-2 away) and lost 12 (including Lazio 0-3 away). Top scorer was Miccoli with 16 goals (9 in A). The Biancorossi also reached the semi-final of Coppa Italia (beating Juve 4-2 on aggregate on the way) but then lost to Milan 1-2 on aggregate. 

 

This season Cosmi was still on the bench. Perugia had a few new players: midfielders Fabio Gatti (Catania- back from loan), Guilherme do Prado (Catania) and Saadi Gheddafi (Al-Ittihad Tripoli) plus forwards Jay Bothroyd (Coventry City) and Massimo Margiotta (Vicenza-on loan).

 

Leaving were: keeper Sebastiano Rossi (retiring), defenders Mauro Milanese (Ancona), Sean Sogliano (Napoli), Rahman Rezaei (Messina), Ferdinand Coly (Lens), midfielders Manuele Blasi (Juventus) plus forwards Andrea Caracciolo (Brescia-end of loan) and Fabrizio Miccoli (Juventus).

 

So far in Serie A Perugia were winless, having drawn 6 (including Milan 1-1 at home) and lost 3.

 

In Coppa Italia the Umbri got through the first round defeating Cesena 5-3 on aggregate. They would now play Chievo in the Round of 16, in December.

 

The Perugini had participated in the Intertoto Cup in the summer and won it (beating Germans Wolfsburg in the final, 3-0 on aggregate ) thus qualifying for the UEFA Cup. In the first round they had then eliminated Dundee United 3-1 on aggregate. In the second round they had won the first leg 2-0 at home against Aris Thessaloniki, the return match in Greece was in four days time, on November 27.

 

Perugia had a future World Champion in their squad, defender Fabio Grosso who would score in the semi-final against Germany and the last penalty in the shoot-out in the final against France in 2006.

 

Today Lazio were favourites, but Perugia were a hard team to beat as their six draws so far proved.

 

The match: Sunday, November 23, 2003, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A sunny day and 45,000 spectators in Rome today.

 

The first half was an extremely balanced affair with neither team creating much danger. The deadlock was broken in the 47th minute and it was an episode which would not only affect the score line but the mood of the remainder of the game. Just before half time Fabio Liverani put in a high cross from the left, Sergio Conceição jumped up with defender Massimiliano Fusani, the ball fell a couple of metres backwards to Dejan Stankovic who hammered in a half volley, just inside the right post. It looked like a clear goal but the Umbri were furious and claimed Fusani, who had collapsed a little theatrically, had been pushed by Conceição. Anyway, the goal stood but Perugia would be seething about the decision for the rest of the match. For now, luckily halftime came, Lazio 1 Perugia 0.

 

The second half brought bad news for Lazio as an injured Jaap Stam did not reappear on the field, replaced by Paolo Negro.

 

Perugia started to push forward more but there was suddenly bad blood between the sides and the game became increasingly tense and dirty. 

 

Mancini tried to remedy Perugia's attacks by replacing Ousmane Dabo with Giuliano Giannichedda in the 57th minute but five minutes later the Grifone equalised. In the 62nd minute, after Angelo Peruzzi had parried a Massimo Margiotta effort, Grosso scored with the left foot. Lazio 1 Perugia 1.

 

In the 70th minute Perugia had a man sent off when Souleymane Diamoutene got his marching orders for a rough foul too many, this time on Giuseppe Favalli.

 

Lazio did not really take advantage of the extra man but soon they would have two players more. In the 84th minute Do Prado, who had come on for Margiotta, pulled up with a muscular problem but Lazio did not put the ball out of play immediately causing another hysterical reaction by the visitors. Massimo Oddo did the right thing but it was too late and scuffles broke out between the players. When "calm" returned Conceição and Perugia's Giovanni Ignoffo were shown red cards.

 

With Perugia in 9 men and Lazio in 10 the Biancocelesti managed to score in the 87th minute with a Bernardo Corradi goal from a Stankovic assist. Lazio 2 Perugia 1.

 

The looming defeat caused the visitors to lose their heads completely. A killer tackle by Marco Di Loreto on Stankovic, right in front of the benches, earned him a red card too and led to more pushing, shoving and aggro. The result was marching orders for Perugia manager Serse Cosmi, who made no new friends by shouting "Forza Roma" to the crowd while going down the steps to the changing rooms and also for team manager Alessandro Gaucci (son of owner Luciano Gaucci).

 

Against 8 men Lazio made it three in the 94th minute with a Simone Inzaghi chip over the keeper. Final score Lazio 3 Perugia 1.

 

Not a great advert for football but the game had gradually degenerated after Perugia's exaggerated protests on the first goal.

 

Lazio would have to improve in Champions League during the week while Perugia would have to steady their nerves if they wanted to stay in Serie A.

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Sereni, Couto, Zauri, Delgado

Manager: Mancini

 

Who played for Perugia


Tardioli, Diamoutene, Di Loreto, Ignoffo, Zé Maria, Tedesco, Obodo, Grosso, Fusani, Vryzas (75' Bothroyd), Margiotta (72' Do Prado, 85' Nastos)

Substitutes: Pardini, Loumpoutis, Gatti, Berrettoni

Manager: Cosmi

 

Referee: Bolognino


Goals: 47' Stankovic, 62' Grosso, 87' Corradi, 94' S. Inzaghi

 

What happened next 


A week later Lazio crumbled at Siena, losing 0-3. They then beat Juventus 2-0 at home, this sums up Lazio's season in the league, inconsistent. They ended up in 6th place (UEFA place) after 16 wins, 8 draws (including derby 1-1) and 10 defeats. Top scorer was Stefano Fiore with 16 but in Serie A it was Bernardo Corradi with 10.

 

In the Champions League Lazio did not make it out of the group phase, they drew 1-1 at home with Beşiktaş and then lost 0-1 away to Sparta Prague. They came bottom of the group so not even a UEFA Cup consolation.

 

In Coppa Italia however it was a different story. In December Lazio got the better of Modena 3-0 on aggregate. In January the Biancocelesti knocked out Parma 3-1 on aggregate. Then came the semi-final in February against Milan which Lazio dominated 6-1 on aggregate, in the return game in Rome Lazio put on a magnificent display and thrashed the Rossoneri 4-0.

 

The final was against Juventus. In the first leg at home Lazio got a comforting 2-0 win, so took a decent lead up to Turin. Under the Mole however the Bianconeri scored after three minutes with Trezeguet and doubled straight after halftime with Del Piero. All square with 44 minutes to go, things were not looking good. Then a then a towering header by Corradi with twenty minutes to go and a Fiore low strike from the edge of the box, with seven minutes to play, definitely put the light blue and white ribbons on the cup. An immense satisfaction for Lazio who, in the middle of financial crisis, still managed to lift silverware.

 

Perugia only lifted their suitcases for a trip to Serie B. In January they strengthened the team with defender Salvatore Fresi (Juventus), midfielders Eusebio Di Francesco (Ancona), Christian Manfredini (Lazio-on loan) plus forwards Fabrizio Ravanelli (Dundee United), Franco Brienza (Palermo-on loan) and Marcelo Zalayeta (Juventus) while Grosso, Vryzas, Todesco and Margiotta left (Palermo, Fiorentina, Genoa and Vicenza), but all in vain. The Biancorossi were relegated after a playoff with Fiorentina (6th in Serie B) which the Viola won 2-1 on aggregate.

 

The Grifoni finished 15th, after 6 wins (including Juventus 1-0 again….), 14 draws and 14 defeats (including Lazio 1-2). The Umbri went down after six seasons in A.

 

In Europe Perugia drew the return leg 1-1 in Thessaloniki and then played PSV Eindhoven. The Dutch proved to be too good and won 3-1 on aggregate. 

 

In Coppa Italia Perugia reached the quarterfinals but were knocked out by Juventus 1-3 on aggregate. 

 

The Scudetto was won by Milan for the 17th time. Perugia were accompanied down to B level by Ancona, Empoli and Modena. Perugia, Modena and Ancona have not been seen in Serie A since.


Lazio 2003-04

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

34

16

8

10

52

Coppa Italia

8

6

2

-

16

Champions League

8

3

2

3

10

Total

50

25

12

13

76

Top Five Appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Fiore

47

32

7

8

Corradi

46

32

6

8

Oddo

44

31

7

6

Favalli

43

29

6

8

Stam

42

29

6

7

Top Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Fiore

16

8

6

2

Corradi

12

10

1

1

Inzaghi

10

6

1

3

Cesar

8

6

1

1

Let’s talk about Demetrio Albertini


Official SS Lazio Photo

Demetrio Albertini was born in Besana in Brianza (Monza), on August 23, 1971.

 

He came through the Milan academy and joined the first team in 1988. In his first season he only played one league game (Como on January 15, '89) under Arrigo Sacchi. The Rossoneri finished 3rd but won the European Cup (Steaua Bucharest 4-0).

 

In 1989-90 a similar story, Albertini played one league game and Milan finished 2nd but won the European Cup (Benfica 1-0), European Supercup (Barcelona 2-1 on aggregate) and the Intercontinental Cup (Atlético Nacional Medellín 1-0)

 

Albertini was then sent out on loan and in 1990 joined Padova in Serie B. The Patavini had Mario Colautti as manager and finished 5th. Albertini played 28 league games and scored 5 goals (Udinese, Barletta, Pescara, Reggina x2). The squad included former Lazio Antonio Rizzolo and Giuseppe Galderisi.

 

In 1991 Albertini returned to Milan. He would remain eleven seasons playing 406 total games (293 in A, 41 in Coppa Italia, 61 in Europe and 11 between Supercups and Intercontinental cups). He scored a total of 28 goals (21 in A, 2 in Coppa Italia and 5 in Europe).

 

He played under Fabio Capello for six seasons, Giorgio Morini and Arrigo Sacchi for one, Alberto Zaccheroni for two and a half, Mauro Tassotti briefly and in his last, first Fatih Terim and then Carlo Ancelotti. 

 

He won plenty at Milan, 5 league titles, 3 Italian Super Cups, 3 European Cups/Champions League, 2 European Super Cups and 2 Intercontinental Cups.

 

One cup he did not win was the 1998 Coppa Italia final against Lazio despite scoring in the return leg. Milan won the first match 1-0 at home and Albertini put them ahead in Rome too, just after halftime with a cracking freekick, but Lazio then roared back and scored three goals in ten minutes to win their second Coppa Italia. 

 

In 2002 Albertini left Milan and joined Atlético Madrid. It was not a great year for the Colchoneros under Luis Aragonés as they finished 12th. Albertini played 28 league games with 2 goals and 2 games in the Copa del Rey with 1 goal. The Rojiblacos also lost on their centenary celebration day, 0-1 at home to Osasuna.

 

In 2003-04 Albertini signed a one-year contract for Lazio. The manager was Roberto Mancini and the club were going through financial difficulties after the Sergio Cragnotti days of wine and roses. It was however a positive year, the Biancocelesti finished 6th (UEFA qualification) and won the Coppa Italia (Juventus 4-2 on aggregate). Albertini played 23 league games with 2 goals (Lecce on debut, Sampdoria) plus 4 games in Coppa Italia. Lazio’s best results, apart from the cup triumph, were beating Juventus 2-0 and Inter 2-1, both at home.

 

In 2004-05 he joined Atalanta. The Orobici's manager was first Andrea Mandorlini and then after 14 games, future Lazio Delio Rossi. They were not able to avoid relegation. Albertini left in January anyway after playing 14 league games with 1 goal (Lecce on debut, again) and 2 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Reggina ).

 

In January 2005, at 34, he made a surprise move to Barcelona. The manager was former teammate Frank Rijkaard from his Milan days. The Blaugrana won the Liga although Albertini only played 5 league games and 1 in the Champions League. 

 

He then retired after 521 professional games. To celebrate his career a friendly was played between Milan and Barcelona, on March 15, 2006 at San Siro.

 

At national level he won 79 caps for Italy with 3 goals (Brazil, Croatia, Estonia). He played in two world cups: USA ' 94 including the final lost to Brazil on penalties (he scored his), and France '98. He was also supposed to play in Japan /South Korea 2002 but injured his Achilles tendon a few months before. He took part in two European Championships; Euro '96 and Euro 2000 (Italy beaten finalists again, to France's golden goal). He captained Italy six times.

 

At Under 21 level played 17 games and won the 1992 European Championship, he also played 6 times for the 1992 Olympic team with 2 goals.

 

So, an excellent career. Albertini was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation. He was extremely versatile but usually played as playmaker, he was nicknamed "il metronomo” (the metronome) and "il cervello" (the brain). He had great vision, good long-range passes and a powerful shot (he also took freekicks and penalties, the spot kick with no run-up).

 

Since retiring he has held several jobs in the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) including Vice-President and President of the Technical Sector.

 

Away from institutional roles, he has set up his own Football Academy in and around Milan. He is head of sport marketing company in Milan. He is involved in organizing Padel tournaments with a project called City Padel Milano (one of his business partners is former Lazio Pierluigi Casiraghi). He has also written a book about great players in A.C Milan's history. 

 

A busy man as dynamic as he was as a player.

 

At Lazio he only stayed one season but was highly appreciated for his class and experience. He stayed long enough to add yet another trophy to his vast collection, the 2004 Coppa Italia. 


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

2003-04

35 (2)

23 (2)

4

8

Sources


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