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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

October 12, 1958: Lazio Udinese 1-1

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Dismal draw


Biancocelesti played awfully but managed to get a point


The season so far


During the summer of 1958, Lazio sold their star player Arne Selmosson. The Biancocelesti were in great financial difficulty and were forced to sell their best player. Unfortunately, the highest bidder was Roma, and despite various attempts to boycott the transfer, plus the fact that the Swede was not really that happy to play for the other team of Rome, Selmosson was sold to Roma.


The Swede was not the only one to go. Among many, Luigi Fuin and Ermes Muccinelli were sold to Juventus, Pasquale Vivolo to Genoa and Giovanni Di Veroli retired. But many players arrived: goalkeeper Idilio Cei (Foligno), defenders Giacomo Del Gratta (Zenit Modena) and Franco Janich (Atalanta), midfielders Bruno Franzini (Genoa), Egidio Fumagalli (Novese), Carlo Tagnin (Alessandria) and Paolo Carosi (Tivoli), forwards Claudio Bizzarri and Maurilio Prini (both from Fiorentina).


Strangely enough it looked as if Lazio were not going to suffer the loss of their best player.


The Coppa Italia was played in the solar year and for the first time since the end of World War II. The Serie A, as normal when there was a World Cup, had been anticipated by three weeks to allow the Nazionale to train before the competition. However, without Italy’s participation in the World Cup, there was a need to “invent” something for the Italians to think about, so, instead of launching the Coppa Italia in the 1958-59 season as initially planned, they decided to fill the June gap with the new cup.


The first group phase, which took place in June, saw Lazio win four times and draw twice, therefore winning their group. The second phase took place in September. The team with the biggest stadium had the home advantage. Lazio beat Serie B side Marzotto in the quarterfinals, Juventus in the semi-finals and Fiorentina in the final. It was the first national trophy for the club after 58 years.


In the first three Serie A games of the season Lazio had beaten Sampdoria, lost against Vicenza and drawn against Fiorentina.


The match: Sunday, October 12, 1958, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


The game was played at 10.30 due to an afternoon athletics meeting.


The match started with a Franco Carradori shot that was parried by Gianni Romano into corner. And then Udinese scored. In the 16th minute Odero Gon anticipated Humberto Tozzi, the ball arrived to Adriano Birtig who headed a pass that fell between Franco Janich and Giacomo Del Gratta. Luis Penetrelli went for it, beat the Lazio defenders for speed, waited for Bob Lovati to come out and scored.


Udinese seemed more organised defensively and the Biancocelesti had enormous difficulty in creating chances. The only thing to note was a Tozzi shot in the 31st minute that went wide. Twelve minutes later, though, Lazio equalised. Claudio Bizzarri crossed, Tozzi, challenged by Primo Sentimenti V could not control the ball but Ugo Pozzan was in the right place at the right time and whacked it into the goal.


In the second half Edgidio Fumagalli’s pass to Bizzarri in the 59th minute was too long. A pity because it was a great scoring chance. In the 75th minute Sentimenti tripped Bizzarri in the box as a retaliatory foul due to an unorthodox, but regular, attempt to steal the ball from the Udinese goalkeeper. It should have been a penalty for Lazio and a red card for the former Biancoceleste player, but not according to the referee.


In the 79th minute Renzo Sassi managed to head a dangerous Pozzan volley into corner and a minute later Massimo Giacomini missed a chance from a favourable position. In the last minute of the game Bizzari’s header off a Carlo Tagnin cross went too wide.


The match ended 1-1.


Where was the team that had just won the Coppa Italia playing beautifully? A timid Lazio with players that seemed out of form and a complete lack of ideas. Manager Fulvio Bernardini had a lot of work to do.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Bernardini


Who played for Udinese


Romano, Baccari, Valenti, Sassi, Gon, Piquè, Pentrelli, Sentimenti V, Birtig, Giacomini, Fontanesi

Manager: Miconi.


Referee: Famulari


Goals: 16’ Pentrelli, 43’ Pozzan


What happened next


After the first half of the season Lazio were 12th. They had won five but lost the derby with a Selmosson goal and suffered humiliating defeats (5-0 against Milan and 6-1 vs Juventus). The situation did not improve in the second half either, even if they did manage to beat Juventus at home. They lost the return derby with Selmosson scoring yet again and finished 11th. Never in real danger of relegation, but way too inconsistent to do anything better. At least they won the Coppa Italia.


Humberto Tozzi was the player with most appearances (33) and Lazio’s top goal scorer (14).


Lazio 1958-59

Competition

Games

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

34

10

10

14

37

Coppa Italia 1958 (final phase)

3

3

0

0

5

Coppa Italia 1958-59

2

1

0

1

3

Total

39

14

10

15

45

Top Five Appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia 1958 (final phase)

Coppa Italia 1958-59

Tozzi

37

33

3

1

Carradori

36

32

3

1

Janich

36

32

3

1

Lo Buono

34

30

3

1

Tagnin

33

29

3

1

Top Five Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia 1958 (final phase)

Coppa Italia 1958-59

Tozzi

18

14

2

2

Prini

4

3

1

-

Fumagalli

4

2

2

-

Bizzarri

3

3

-

-

Carradori

3

3

-

-


Let’s talk about Giacomo Del Gratta

Giacomo Del Gratta is fourth from left sitting. Source Wikipedia

Giacomo Del Gratta was born in Navacchio near Pisa on November 21, 1935. A full back, after playing for the youth teams of Pisa, he debuted in the first team in 1954. In 1955 he signed for Fiorentina but played very little before moving to Zenit Modena in 1957. Even there he did not play very much but in 1958 he moved to Rome to play for the right side of the Tiber.


He stayed at Lazio until 1961. He was not a first choice player since there were many strong defenders ahead of him in the pecking order but one could always count on a good performance from him when he did play. Athletic, tall (1.81), he excelled in headers. He made 38 appearances for the Biancocelesti (29 in Serie A, 8 in Coppa Italia and one in the Cup of the Alps) and was part of the team that won the 1958 Coppa Italia.


In 1961-62 he trained with Napoli but never played. His last year of active football was with Arezzo in 1962-63.


He died on November 16, 2019 at Casciavola, near Pisa.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Cup of the Alps

1957-58

2

-

2

-

1958-59

14

13

1

-

1959-60

14

11

3

-

1960-61

8

5

2

1

Total

38

29

8

1

Sources


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