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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

November 9, 1969: Lazio Vicenza 1-0

Massa goal clinches win in hard fought contest


An evenly balanced game is decided by Massa on the brink of halftime



Source Wikipedia

The season so far


Lazio were newly promoted after a year in the purgatory of Serie B. They had won the championship and promotion under Juan Carlos Lorenzo. He had only been allowed to sit on the bench from March 30 as foreigners were not officially allowed to be managers, so until he obtained his passport, Roberto Lovati had carried out the Sunday afternoon dug out duties.


This year officially the manager was Bob Lovati and the Technical Director was Juan Carlos Lorenzo. The more important changes had been made to the squad. Lazio had brought in some players who would prove to change the entire club's history.


An unknown young forward called Giorgio Chinaglia was signed from third division Internapoli. Also, from the Neapolitan club arrived defender Giuseppe Wilson. Both players had British connections since Chinaglia grew up in South-Wales while Wilson was born in Darlington to an English father and Neapolitan mother. These two facts would later be one of the reasons for myself becoming a lifelong Lazio fan.


Along with the two "Brits" Lazio had added other players: defender and local lad Giancarlo Oddi (Sora-back from loan), defender Giuseppe Papadopulo (Livorno), goalkeeper Michelangelo Sulfaro (Sambenedettese) plus, in the autumn session, defender Luigi Polentes (Perugia) and above all, midfielder Franco Nanni (Trapani). Four of these players, Chinaglia, Wilson, Oddi and Nanni would play key roles some years later in Lazio's Scudetto winning team.


The main players leaving were defenders Pietro Fontana (Ternana), Guido Onor (Juventus-end of loan) and above all Diego Zanetti (Vicenza- after 248 league games for Lazio), midfielder Elio Rinero (Juventus- end of loan) plus, in the autumn, forward Arrigo Dolso (Monza-on loan) and defender Pietro Adorni (Piacenza).


The season had started in August, in Coppa Italia. Lazio were eliminated after losing to Perugia 0-1 away, drawing with Ternana 0-0 away and losing the derby (Roma were awarded a 2-0 victory as there was a blackout in the 87th minute and, as the host team, it was deemed Lazio’s responsibility, to be fair Roma were winning 1-0 at the time).


In Serie A Lazio had won 3 (Milan 1-0 at home, Sampdoria 1-0 at home and Fiorentina 5-1 at home), drawn 1 (Torino 1-1 at home) and lost 3 (Bologna 0-1 away, Cagliari 0-1 away and the derby 1-2 away). The derby had been the previous week and dampened Lazio’s decent start. However, Lazio had 7 points in the table.


Vicenza finished 12th the previous season. First under manager Umberto Menti (1-16) and then Uruguayan Ettore Puricelli (17-30). Their top scorer was Paride Tumburus with 6 league goals.


This season the South-American coach had stayed on. The Biancorossi had signed defender Diego Zanetti (Lazio- after 248 league games), midfielders Nevio Scala (Milan) and Roberto Derlin (Genoa) plus forwards Oscar Damiani (Inter) and future Lazio Carlo Facchin (Torino). The Vicentini also had another former Lazio player, forward Nicola Ciccolo (Lazio 1965-66).


The main player leaving or better, retiring, was legendary forward Luigi Menti, after 291 league games. Also leaving were keeper Franco Luison (retiring), midfielder Domenico Fontana (Milan) plus forwards Alberto Reif (Inter) and Francesco Gallina (Internapoli).


In the late summer, Vicenza had lost all three Coppa Italia games and been eliminated (Monza 1-2 and Piacenza 0-1, both away and Torino 1-3 at home).


In Serie A things were going better. After seven games the "Lane" had 9 points from four wins (Napoli 3-2 at home, Palermo 3-1 away, Juventus 1-0 at home and Verona 3-0 at home), one draw (Bari 0-0 away) and two defeats (Cagliari 1-2 away and Fiorentina 1-2 at home). They were in second place. Alessandro Vitali had already scored 6 goals.


So, two similar teams today but Lazio keen to get the disappointment of the derby defeat behind them. It would not be easy against a team who had beaten Juventus a couple of weeks earlier and came from two consecutive wins.


The match: Sunday, November 9, 1969, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Serie A returned after the break for the 1970 World Cup qualifiers. It had been raining for days in Rome and quite hard in the morning, but it stopped in time for the game. Romans do not have a good relationship with the rain and there were 25,000 spectators at the Olimpico.


Lazio were without midfielder Piero Cucchi due to last minute illness while Vicenza had their usual line-up.


The early stages were immediately lively with end-to-end action. Vicenza had the first chance with a free kick by specialist Sidney Cinesinho but Michelangelo Sulfaro dived low and stopped it. Lazio replied with a dangerous Gian Piero Ghio cross but a brave jump by keeper Pietro Pianta just anticipated Giuliano Fortunato. The keeper would later pay for his heroics.


Vicenza were slightly on top and had a strong Alessandro Vitali header saved by Sulfaro and another Cinesinho curling freekick parried by Sulfaro. Cinesinho especially was causing Lazio problems and just before halftime he came out worse for wear in a 'tackle' with Giorgio Chinaglia.


Due to a series of interruptions for injuries the referee gave an unusually long added on time, three minutes. In this short spell Lazio struck. A one-two between Nello Governato and Giuseppe Massa allowed the Neapolitan to enter the area and he then beat Pianta with a low diagonal shot. Lazio 1 Vicenza 0.


A balanced and entertaining game so far decided by Massa in the dying minutes.


For the second half Pianta was unable to continue after his initial injury and was replaced by Adriano Bardin. The game restarted with Vicenza on the attack but they exposed themselves time and time again to Lazio’s counterattacks. Chinaglia and Fortunato missed several opportunities to double Lazio’s lead.


In the 72nd minute the Biancorossi visitors had a huge chance to level the score. Vitali got away from his marker Pino Wilson and let off a cracking left foot which left the post shaking for a while.


After the woodwork scare, Lazio had several more near misses; Chinaglia shaved the post with a low shot, Pianta saved a thundering Juan Carlos Morrone effort and Ghio was just anticipated by the substitute keeper rushing off his line. Final score Lazio 1 Vicenza 0.


A good win for Lazio against a hard fighting and competitive Vicenza. Lazio had deserved the two points for opportunities created but the "Lane" played well and had they earned a point it would not have been without merit.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Di Vincenzo, Mazzola II

Manager: Lovati / Lorenzo


Who played for Vicenza


Pianta (46' Bardin), Volpato, De Petri (78' Derlin), Biasiolo, Carantini, Calosi, Damiani, Scala, Vitali, Cinesinho, Facchin

Manager: Puricelli


Referee: Giunti


Goal: 45' Massa



What happened next


Lazio had an up and down season and finished 8th. The Biancocelesti had some good wins, Palermo 4-0, Inter 3-1, Juventus 2-0, and drew the derby 1-1 but also lost at home to Cagliari 0-2, away to Torino 0-3, Milan 0-3 and Vicenza 1-2. In the end Lazio won 11, drew 7 and lost 12.


In the Mitropa Cup they lost in the last 16 to Hungarians Honved 2-3 on aggregate.


In the Anglo-Italian Cup they won two (Sunderland 2-1 and Wolves 2-0, both at home) and lost two (Sunderland 1-3 and Wolves 0-1, both away).


In the Alps Cup they won two (Young Boys 2-0 and Zurich 3-0, both away), drew one (Lugano 3-3 away) and lost one (Basel 2-3 away).


Top scorer was Giorgio Chinaglia with 12 league goals, 2 in the Mitropa Cup and 6 in the Alps Cup.


Vicenza had a decent season and finished joint 8th with Lazio. They won 11 (including Roma 3-0, Milan 1-0 and Lazio 2-1, all at home), drew 7 and lost 12 (exactly the same as Lazio). Their top scorer was Alessandro Vitali with 17 league goals.


The Scudetto was surprisingly but deservedly won by Cagliari. Manlio Scopigno's islanders made history with players such as Enrico Albertosi, Pier Luigi Cera, Mario Martiradonna, Mario Brugnera, Sergio Gori, Comunardo Niccolai, Angelo Domenghini, Nené to name a few but above all top goal scorer, with 21 goals, Gigi Riva.


At the opposite end Bari, Palermo and Brescia were relegated to Serie B. Palermo would not be back for 34 years, Bari 18 and Brescia 10.


Lazio 1969-70

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

30

11

7

12

33

Coppa Italia

3

-

1

2

-

Mitropa Cup

2

-

-

2

2

Total

35

11

8

16

35

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Mitropa Cup

35

30

3

2

Massa

32

27

3

2

Chinaglia

31

28

1

2

Wilson

31

28

1

2

Ghio

29

25

2

2

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Mitropa Cup

Chinaglia

14

12

2

Massa

5

5

-

Ghio

5

5

-

Mazzola

3

3

-


Let’s talk about Michelangelo Sufaro


Michelangelo Sulfaro was born in Messina, on November 26, 1946.


He started playing in his hometown club's youth set up and was in the first team squad between 1962-1965 but never made his debut. He did go very close to the Scudetto with the Primavera team (U19's)


In 1965 he crossed the Straits and joined Crotone in Serie C. He stayed three seasons but only played 13 league games. The "Squali" (The Sharks) finished 9th, 17th and 13th. His managers were former Lazio player Salvatore Gualtieri (192 games), Giovanni Zanollo and Pasquale Morisco.


In 1968 he signed for Sambenedettese in Serie C. The manager was former Roma player Alberto Eliami and then Mauro Mari. The "Samba" finished 9th and Sulfaro played 33 league games. He was voted best Serie C goalkeeper that year.


In 1969 Sulfaro joined Lazio. The Biancocelesti were back in Serie A after two years in B. The manager was Roberto Lovati with Juan Carlos Lorenzo as Technical Director. It was the year Giorgio Chinaglia and Pino Wilson arrived, plus Franco Nanni in the autumn and Lazio had a good season finishing 8th. Sulfaro was alternated in goal with Rosario Di Vincenzo. In the end Sulfaro played 16 league games as did Di Vincenzo (who also played three in Coppa Italia). In September 1969 Sulfaro broke his jaw away at Bologna, he completed the game but was out for more than a month and lost 12 kilos. He played in the 1-1 draw in the derby.


The following year was a negative one for Lazio. The Eagles were relegated but as a consolation won the Alps Cup beating Basel 3-1. Sulfaro only played 8 league games (Di Vincenzo got 21), 3 in Coppa Italia and 2 in the Alps Cup.


In 1971 he joined Fiorentina on loan. The manager was Nils Liedholm and the Viola finished 5th. The first keeper was Franco Superchi and Sulfaro did not play any league games. His only appearances were 3 in Coppa Italia. His teammates in Florence included future Lazio, Pietro Ghedin and Sergio Clerici.


In 1972 Sulfaro came back to the capital but signed for Roma. The manager was Helenio "Il Mago" Herrera and then, after 24 matches, Antonio Trebiciani. The first-choice keeper however was Alberto Ginulfi and Sulfaro never wore the Roma jersey in an official match. The Giallorossi finished 11th and lost both derbies.


In 1973 he moved to Vicenza in Serie A. He stayed 4 years in Veneto and the "Lane" finished 12th, 14th (relegated), 16th (in B), 1st (promoted), In his first year he played 10 league games under Hector Puccinelli but then over the years played less under Manlio Scopigno, Chinesinho and Giovan Battista Fabbri. He made a total of 19 league appearances. The highlight was saving a Gianni Rivera penalty at the "Meazza" in 1974, helping the Biancorossi to a famous 2-1 win.


In 1978 he joined Savona in Serie C2. The Biancoblu from Liguria finished 13th under Michele Viano and Sulfaro played 13 league games.


In 1980-81 he had one last season at Spezia in Serie C1. He played 11 league games but the "Aquilotti" were relegated.


He then retired at 34 and left the football world, going to work in his family business.


He also represented Italy for their military team. He took part in the 1972 World Cup but Italy were beaten in the final by Iraq.


A career without a high number of games but a few satisfactions: playing in Serie A with Lazio and Vicenza and saving a Rivera penalty in Milan.


At Lazio he played 29 games and was part of the squad who would soon go on to conquer the Scudetto under Tommaso Maestrelli.


Lazio Career

Season

Games

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Fairs Cup

Mitropa Cup

Anglo Italian Cup

Cup of the Alps

1969-70

21

16

-

-

2

3

-

1970-71

15

8

3

2

-

-

2

Total

36

24

3

2

2

3

2

Sources


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