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  • Writer's pictureLazio Stories

What happened in Serie A 1958-59

Nils Liedholm (left) and John Charles. Source Wikipedia


The previous season Juventus had comfortably won the scudetto ahead of Fiorentina and the surprise Padova. A terrible year for the Milanese clubs who arrived 9th  just four points clear of the relegation zone.


As a consequence, the Bianconeri were the favourites for the 1958-59 season. Milan and Inter had something to prove following the disastrous previous year, Fiorentina were still a team to be reckoned with and there was curiosity over what Padova could do.




Before the beginning of the campionato, there was the need to play the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia.


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 usual 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, 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.


All Serie A teams were invited with the exception of Atalanta, involved in a case of possible corruption, and Verona, who had a playoff with Bari, plus the best 8 from Serie B and C. The 32 teams were divided into 8 groups of four. The winners would play the quarterfinals in September and automatically qualify for the first knockout round in the next Coppa Italia. The qualified teams were Juventus, Sampdoria, Milan, Padova, Marzotto Valdagno (only Serie B team to top their group), Bologna, Fiorentina and Lazio.


In the quarterfinals, played in a single match at the team with the biggest stadium, Bologna, Lazio, Fiorentina and Juventus (after extra time) eliminated Milan, Marzotto, Padova and Sampdoria respectively. In the semis, Fiorentina beat Bologna 4-2 and Lazio surprisingly won against Juventus 2-0. The Biancocelesti beat the Viola in the final for the first silverware in their long history.


Meanwhile the other teams played the first rounds 1958-59 Coppa Italia. The eight quarter finalists of the previous edition all qualified for the round of 16 plus another eight teams who passed the preliminary September-October rounds. These were Alessandria, Atalanta, Varese, Monza, Genoa, Inter, Venezia and Torino. This round would be played in January, April and May.


First two games of Serie A, 32 left. Milan, Inter and Fiorentina topped the table but it was very early stages.


In the first leg of the first round of the European Cup, Juventus beat Wiener Sport-Club 3-1.


Milan 4, Inter 4, Fiorentina 4, Juventus 3, Spal 3, Bologna 3, Roma 3, Sampdoria 2, Torino 2, Lazio 2, Vicenza 2, Genoa 1, Napoli 1, Padova 1, Bari 1, Alessandria 0, Udinese 0, Triestina 0




After the four October games, Fiorentina became the solitary leader ahead of Milan and Juventus. Over the month, Fiorentina thrashed Inter 4-0 and Roma crushed Juve 3-0.  The two losing sides just mentioned then recovered, Fiorentina beating Roma and Juventus defeating Torino, in the first Italian derby of the season.


In the second leg of the first round of the European Cup, Juventus collapsed 7-0 against Wiener Sport-Club and were eliminated.


Fiorentina 10, Milan 9, Juventus 9, Inter 8, Bologna 8, Genoa 8, Lazio 7, Roma 7, Napoli 6, Sampdoria 5, Torino 5, Bari 5, Vicenza 5, Padova 5, Udinese 4, Spal 4, Alessandria 2, Triestina 1




Petit change at the top with Milan now leading the pack in front of Inter and Fiorentina. The latter drew 3-3 against Juventus and the Milan derby was also a draw. Roma won the Rome derby, also thanks to Lazio’s former hero Selmosson. The change at the top took place in the last match of the month when Milan beat Fiorentina 2-0 at home.


Milan 15, Inter 14, Fiorentina 14, Napoli 13, Roma 12, Juventus 11, Sampdoria 11, Genoa 11, Lazio 10, Padova 10, Bologna 10, Vicenza 9, Torino 7, Bari 7, Udinese 7, Spal 7, Triestina 6, Alessandria 6




Milan still in the lead with Fiorentina one point behind. Inter lost at home to Juventus and were now three points behind the leader. The Viola closed the year beating Genoa 7-1, a rarity in Italian football. Many teams were involved in the fight for survival. Four matches had to be repeated due to the weather (fog and rain).


Milan 20, Fiorentina 19, Inter 17, Roma 16*, Napoli 16, Juventus 16, Sampdoria 15, Lazio 14, Padova 12*, Bologna 12, Genoa 12*, Vicenza 11*, Udinese 9, Spal 9, Triestina 8, Bari 8, Torino 8, Alessandria 8

* One game in hand




After ending the year with a 7-1, Fiorentina opened 1959 by beating Udinese 7-0 and Torino 6-0 but this was still not enough to take the overall lead which was still in Milan's hands. Behind, Torino and Triestina needed to start getting important points if they wanted to avoid relegation. 


Lazio went through to the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia by beating Varese 3-0.


Milan 27, Fiorentina 26, Inter 24, Juventus 23, Sampdoria 21, Roma 20, Padova 18, Vicenza 18, Napoli 18, Bologna 15, Genoa 15, Lazio 14, Spal 14, Bari 13, Alessandria 11, Udinese 11, Triestina 9, Torino 9




The top four teams were still in the same positions after the four February matches. The Viola had caught up with Milan for a few games (and another 7-1 vs Alessandria) but then a draw in Rome against Lazio allowed the Rossoneri to go ahead again.


Milan 34, Fiorentina 33, Inter 30, Juventus 29, Sampdoria 24, Vicenza 24, Padova 22, Roma 21, Napoli 21, Bologna 20, Genoa 18, Bari 17, Spal 17, Lazio 17, Alessandria 15, Udinese 13, Triestina 12, Torino 11




Fiorentina took the solitary lead despite losing to Juventus (but beating Inter in Milan), taking advantage of the Rossoneri loss in the derby and the home draw with Juventus, who were now third. At the bottom there were five teams in two points (two would go down to Serie B). Also to note was Roma's 8-0 crushing of Napoli.


Fiorentina 39, Milan 38, Juventus 34, Inter 33, Vicenza 29, Sampdoria 28, Bologna 25, Napoli 25, Roma 24, Padova 24, Lazio 22, Genoa 22, Bari 20, Triestina 18, Spal 18, Torino 17, Alessandria 17, Udinese 17




Milan back in front again thanks to an away win in the big match against Fiorentina and then taking advantage of a surprise Viola home loss to Spal. Roma won the second derby of 1958-59, Juventus beat Inter at home. Torino were in deep trouble. Five more games to the end of the season.


In Coppa Italia Torino, Juventus (in extra time) and Venezia qualified for the quarter finals.


Milan 44, Fiorentina 43, Inter 39, Juventus 37, Vicenza 32, Sampdoria 30, Padova 30, Roma 29, Bologna 28, Napoli 28, Genoa 26, Lazio 25, Bari 24, Spal 23, Alessandria 23, Udinese 22, Triestina 20, Torino 19




Milan leapt ahead and were now one only point away from the scudetto. Fiorentina did not take advantage of the Rossoneri’s goalless draw against Lazio and then lost at Udine. Triestina and Torino were practically in Serie B.


The last games of the Coppa Italia, Round of 16, were played. Bologna, Fiorentina, Genoa and Inter qualified for the quarterfinals.


Milan 49, Fiorentina 46, Inter 43, Juventus 40, Sampdoria 34, Vicenza 33, Padova 33, Napoli 33, Roma 32, Bologna 30, Lazio 28, Genoa 28, Bari 27, Alessandria 27, Spal 26, Udinese 25, Triestina 21, Torino 21




Milan crushed Udinese 7-0 to clinch their 7th title. Coming into the last game of the season, Torino still had a sliver of hope to stay in the top tier if they won against Roma and Udinese lost against Vicenza, but defeat in Rome meant that the glorious Granata would be playing in Serie B for the first time in their history. They were accompanied by Triestina.


In Coppa Italia, Genoa, Juventus, Inter and Venezia beat Bologna, Fiorentina, Lazio and Torino, qualifying for the semis that would be played in September (eventually won by Juventus in the final against Inter).


Top scorer in Serie A was Antonio Angelillo (Inter) with 33 goals (a record that still stands today in the 18-team Serie A format) followed by José Altafini (Milan) with 28 and Kurt Hamrin (Fiorentina) with 26.


In Serie B, Atalanta and Palermo were promoted to Serie A.


Final Table: Milan 52, Fiorentina 49, Inter 46, Juventus 42, Sampdoria 38, Roma 35, Vicenza 34, Padova 34, Napoli 34, Bologna 31, Bari 30, Genoa 30, Lazio 30, Alessandria 28, Udinese 27, Spal 26, Triestina 23, Torino 23


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