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  • Writer's pictureLazio Stories

What happened in Serie A 1997-98

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

A long battle between Juventus, Inter and, for a part of the season, Lazio, resulted in the Bianconeri winning their 25th title.


Source Wikipedia


Juventus had won the scudetto the previous year ahead of Parma and Inter. Coming up from Serie B were Brescia, Empoli, Lecce and Bari.


In the 1997-98 season there had been lots of manager changes in the big teams: Gigi Simoni to Inter, Sven-Goran Eriksson to Lazio, Zdenek Zeman to Roma, Alberto Malesani to Fiorentina and Fabio Capello had gone back to Milan.


The major transfers had been Roberto Mancini and Alen Boksic to Lazio, Pippo Inzaghi and Daniel Fonseca to Juventus, Ronaldo and Diego Simeone to Inter, Leonardo and Patrick Kluivert to Milan, Cafu and Vincent Candela to Roma.


Juventus and Inter were clear favourites but there was curiosity to see what the Rome teams could do under their new managers. Big question marks around Milan whereas Parma and Fiorentina were considered outsiders.


August-September


Four games to start off with between the end of August and September. Inter began very well and were top followed by all the others, except Milan who had a rather dismal start. Lazio beat Napoli in the first match and drew with Milan in the second, Roma and Juventus drew and Inter beat Fiorentina.


In the Champions League qualifying round in August, Parma crushed Widzew Lodz 7-1 on aggregate and proceeded to the group stage. In the first round Parma drew 0-0 against Sparta Prague and Juventus hammered Feyenoord 5-1. In the first round of the Cup Winners Cup, Vicenza beat Legia Warsaw 2-0. In the UEFA Cup first round Udinese, Lazio and Inter went through but Sampdoria were eliminated by Athletic Bilbao.


The big teams also started their Coppa Italia campaign. In the round of 32 no real surprises with perhaps the exception of Serie B team Pescara eliminating last year’s champions Vicenza.


In the Super Coppa in August Juventus predictably dominated Vicenza 3-0.


Inter 12, Parma 10, Juventus 8, Roma 8, Sampdoria 8, Lazio 7, Atalanta 7, Vicenza 7, Fiorentina 6, Empoli 6, Udinese 6, Napoli 4, Brescia 4, Milan 2, Bologna 2, Piacenza 1, Bari 1, Lecce 0


October


Just a couple of games in October, due to the Nazionale break, so not a lot of changes in the table. However, some interesting scores. Inter and Lazio drew, Roma crushed Napoli who also lost at home to Inter. Juventus beat Fiorentina who were now a bit behind, as were Lazio and Milan.


Parma won their two group games in the Champions League and were well placed. Juventus were second in their group after losing to Manchester United. Vicenza went through to the second round of the Cup Winners Cup and won the first leg of the third. In the 1st leg of the UEFA Cup second round, Inter and Udinese lost, Lazio drew 0-0 against Rotor Volograd. Not easy for the Italian teams now.


The first leg of the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia was played with no major surprises even though Fiorentina, Parma and Milan only had slender advantages, after their home games, going into the second leg.


Inter 16, Juventus 14, Parma 14, Roma 12, Sampdoria 11, Brescia 10, Atalanta 10, Udinese 10, Lazio 8, Vicenza 8, Fiorentina 7, Empoli 7, Milan 5, Napoli 4, Bari 4, Bologna 3, Lecce 3, Piacenza 2


November


Four games in November. Inter beat Parma and drew the derby, Lazio won the Roman derby, Milan and Juventus drew. Still Inter ahead, Roma had crept up to third place. Lazio, Fiorentina and Milan had also moved up and Napoli were last.


In the two CL games Parma only earned one point and were virtually out since the teams that continued to the quarterfinals were the six winners of the groups plus the two best runners-up. Parma would not not top their group and only a series of very lucky scores would allow them to be one of the best second place teams. Juventus on the other hand had to beat Manchester United to hope to qualify.


Vicenza qualified for the quarterfinals of the Cup Winners Cup where they would play Roda in March. Inter and Lazio managed to go through to the third round of the UEFA Cup but Udinese were eliminated by Ajax. In the first leg of the third round Inter lost 2-0 to Strasbourg and were almost out, Lazio won in Vienna against Rapid and were almost through.


The second leg of the Coppa Italia round of 16 produced no surprises with the exception of the elimination of Roberto Baggio’s Bologna by Atalanta. Interesting quarterfinals: Fiorentina-Juventus, Lazio-Roma, Milan-Inter and Parma-Atalanta.


Inter 26, Juventus 22, Roma 19, Udinese 19, Parma 18, Lazio 15, Sampdoria 15, Vicenza 15, Fiorentina 13, Milan 13, Atalanta 11, Empoli 10, Brescia 10, Bari 10, Lecce 10, Bologna 8, Piacenza 7, Napoli 5


December


The year closed with three games. Juventus beat Lazio and, due to Inter losing at Udine just before Christmas, were now only one point behind. The Neroazzurri did however demolish Roma. Behind the big two there was Udinese, doing very well as usual. Napoli already had a foot in Serie B.


Parma were eliminated in the Champions League but Juventus managed to qualify as one of the two best second place finishers. They would play Dynamo Kiev in the quarterfinals in March. Inter and Lazio were through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup. They would play Schalke 04 and Auxerre in March.


Inter 30, Juventus 29, Udinese 26, Parma 25, Roma 23, Lazio 21, Fiorentina 20, Milan 20, Sampdoria 19, Vicenza 18, Brescia 14, Empoli 13, Bologna 12, Piacenza 12, Bari 12, Atalanta 11, Lecce 10, Napoli 5


January


1998 started with the big match Inter-Juventus won by the Milanese, but Juventus went top after the Nerazzurri lost at home to Bari and drew with Empoli. Udinese, third, won in Rome and Lazio, fourth, won in Florence.


In the Coppa Italia quarterfinals, Milan thrashed Inter, Lazio destroyed Roma. In the semifinals they would play Parma and Juventus respectively.


Juventus 38, Inter 37, Udinese 34, Lazio 31, Parma 29, Fiorentina 27, Sampdoria 27, Roma 26, Milan 24, Bari 22, Vicenza 21, Brescia 20, Piacenza 17, Bologna 16, Empoli 16, Atalanta 14, Lecce 11, Napoli 6


February


The lack of European fixtures allowed 5 games to be played. Lazio beat both Milan and Inter and had now joined the latter in second place behind Juventus who beat Roma. Udinese were keeping up. Behind, Napoli and Lecce needed a miracle to avoid relegation.


Lazio won 2-1 in Turin against Juventus in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final. In the other match Milan and Parma drew 0-0.


Juventus 48, Lazio 44, Inter 44, Udinese 42, Fiorentina 38, Parma 38, Roma 38, Milan 34, Sampdoria 34, Bologna 26, Brescia 23, Bari 23, Vicenza 23, Empoli 20, Piacenza 20, Atalanta 20, Lecce 12, Napoli 10


March


5 games. Lazio and Inter won the derbies and closed the gap with Juventus who drew with Napoli and Udinese. The Biancocelesti missed a chance to go top drawing at home against Piacenza. Juventus battered Milan and Parma beat Inter.


In the CL quarter finals, Juventus drew at home but then won away against Dynamo Kiev and would play Monaco in the semis. Vicenza destroyed Roda 9-1 on aggregate in the Cup Winners Cup and would now meet Chelsea in the semi-finals in April. Inter, after extra time, and Lazio went through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. In the first leg they both won, Inter 4-2 against Spartak Moscow at home and Lazio 1-0 against Christian Vieri’s Atletico Madrid away.


Lazio would face Milan in the final of the Coppa Italia. The Biancocelesti drew at the Olimpico while Milan managed to go through with a goal in the third minute of injury time.


Juventus 57, Inter 56, Lazio 55, Udinese 49, Roma 46, Parma 46, Fiorentina 44, Milan 39, Sampdoria 37, Bologna 34, Vicenza 30, Brescia 28, Empoli 27, Bari 27, Piacenza 26, Atalanta 25, Lecce 18, Napoli 12


April


Four games in April. Juventus won in Rome against Lazio who had run out of steam and were collapsing. Inter beat Roma and Udinese but lost the crucial match against Juventus. April 26, 1998, Juventus-Inter, winner took all. Alessandro Del Piero scored for the Bianconeri in the first half but in the second a blatant penalty on Ronaldo was ignored by the referee who immediately after gave one to Juventus. All hell let loose on the pitch, outside the stadium and even ended up in parliament. In the end Juve-Inter 1-0 and the scudetto was virtually staying in Turin. In the relegation battle, Napoli were in Serie B, Lecce almost, and it did not look good for Brescia and Atalanta either.


Juventus were through to the final of the Champions League after beating Monaco 6-4 on aggregate. They would face Real Madrid. Vicenza lost the semifinal of the Cup Winners Cup. After winning 1-0 at home against Chelsea they lost 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. Excellent run though. Inter and Lazio would play the final of the UEFA Cup in Paris in April after winning their semifinals.


Lazio won the Coppa Italia for the first time since 1958. They lost the first leg in Milan 1-0 and were down 1-0 in the second but three goals in ten minutes earned them their first silverware since the 1973-74 scudetto.


Juventus 69, Inter 65, Lazio 56, Parma 55, Udinese 55, Roma 52, Fiorentina 48, Sampdoria 46, Bologna 44, Milan 43, Vicenza 35, Bari 34, Empoli 33, Piacenza 32, Brescia 29, Atalanta 28, Lecce 22, Napoli 13


May


The final three games consolidated Juventus’s lead and the Bianconeri won the scudetto. Inter gave up after losing in Turin, Lazio continued to free fall. The top two would play the Champions League next year, Lazio the last ever Cup Winners Cup, Udinese, Roma, Fiorentina and Parma the UEFA Cup. Brescia and Atalanta joined Lecce and Napoli in Serie B.


Salernitana, Venezia, Cagliari and Perugia were promoted to Serie A.

Top scorer was Olivier Bierhoff with 27 goals ahead of Ronaldo (25) and Roberto Baggio (22).


Juventus lost the Champions League final 0-1 to Real Madrid despite being the favourites. In the final of the UEFA Cup Inter beat a very tired Lazio 3-0 for their third win in the competition.


Final table: Juventus 74, Inter 69, Udinese 64, Roma 59, Fiorentina 57, Parma 57, Lazio 56, Bologna 48, Sampdoria 48, Milan 44, Bari 38, Empoli 37, Piacenza 37, Vicenza 36, Brescia 35, Atalanta 32, Lecce 26, Napoli 14



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