Number of posts : 149
Age : 39
Country and city : MALTA
Laziale since : 1986
Registration date : 2008-08-12
|Subject: Seasons of Glory (10) Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:07 pm|| |
::Seasons of Glory ::
The return in Serie A was surely a big boost and, the atmosphere around the Lazio clan was of great optimism and enthusiasm. However, some faulty performances in the pre-season friendlies nearly costed the bench to Maestrelli, whose tactics concentrated on attacking football, were seen as too risky and avant-guard for the Italian defensive football mentality. Infact, Meastrelli wanted that the two external defenders do not limitate themselves to defend but they should advance on the flanks and sustain the attacking manoeuvres. These schemes weren't so easy to be adopted and he needed players devoted to sacrfice themselves and to be tactically very disciplined.
The players in the squad were modest, not so disciplined and lacked experience thus Maestrelli's mission was harder. Massa was sold to Inter while the club acquired the services of Pulici, Garlaschelli, Frustalupi, Re Cecconi and Petrelli. Pulici and Moriggi had never played in Serie A, the stopper Polentes was quite a modest player, the two externals Facco and Petrelli were still tactically undisciplined while the midfielders Martini, Re Cecconi, Manservisi, Nanni and Frustaluppi still lacked coordination. Moreover, upfront there was the dilemma of who between Garlaschelli and Silva should play alongside Chinaglia, who was the only real guarantee and an essential element in Maestrelli's plans. Following the injuries of Polentes and Petrelli, Martini was posted as defender while Nanni as central midfielder. Probably through these two tactical changes Lazio found the ideal balance and started its road to glory. However, Lazio was immediately eliminated from the Coppa Italia, obtaining one point out of four matches during the preliminary stage following defeats against Napoli, Brindisi and Taranto and a draw with Palermo. On the other hand, the Serie A campaign soon started on positive terms and the new promoted squad impressed everyone going on top. The squad managed a positive run of 13 matches of which 8 consecutive wins ( a record for the Serie A with 16 teams), winning both derbies and arriving at the last game of the season with the chance to win the league on equal terms with Milan and Juventus.
Surely a great achievement from a newly promoted side! In the last match of the season league leaders Milan played away against Verona while Lazio and Juventus ,who were one point behind, had away matches against Napoli and Roma respectively.
In the half-time Milan and Juventus were losing while Lazio was on equal terms with Napoli. This meant that there was a virtual decider between Lazio and Milan. In the second half Milan succumbed at Verona and with three minutes from the end of the season the three title contenders had the same points since Juventus and Lazio were drawing their matches. However, late goals from Juventus' Cucurreddu and Damiani of Napoli gave Juventus the title with Milan ending second and Lazio third. The verdict was unexpected. Many in the capital city argued that Roma appositely left the Turin giants, win in order to prevent Lazio winning a historical title. Lazio thus ended third with the best defence just 16 goals against. In that session Lazio also played in the Anglo-Italian Cup and was eliminated in the preliminary round losing against Hull City, and Crystal while drawing against Manchester United and winning against Luton Town. A new season was nearing its start and in the Lazio clan there was never tranquillity.
The club decided to go on for a summer tournee' in the USA. The contingent included also the players' wives and fiancées and this was seen as low professionalism by the press and fans. The president Lenzini was also very close to sell Chinaglia to Juventus and all his shares to a group of businessman, while Sbardella, the club's general secretary, left and joined arch rivals Roma. Fortunately, the season kicked off with an emphatic win in Coppa Italia against Novara, which was succumbed by six goals. Two victories in the opening league matches permitted Lazio to present itself as league-leader at Turin against reigning champions Juventus. Lazio lost 3-1. Three consecutive draws followed and this distanced the Eagles from the top spot. However, 9 wins out of the following 11 matches re-established Lazio as a prime candidate for the title. However, a sad episode was registered in the return leg of the second round of the Uefa Cup against Ipswich Town . Lazio who had lost the first leg 4-0, , was determined , to overturn the deficit in the return leg.
Infact it managed a great match in Rome but a number of controversial decisions by the referee costed Lazio the qualification foe the third round since the final score 4-2 was not sufficient. The players and fans felt deprived of the qualification and incidents occurred both on the pitch and on the terraces, which led to the club's disqualification from the European scene on misconduct basis for the following year. This event however did not stop Lazio's road to its first ever "scudetto". Lazio had a fantastic second round victory against Juventus in Rome in which it outplayed the reigning champions with a collective performance. Surely the benefits of Maestrelli's work could be seen in the team's mechanisms that reached its peak during those months. A remarkable episode occurred in the home match against Verona were in the first half Lazio was losing 2-1. Chinaglia infuriated with the teams poor performance impeded his teammates to go into the dressing rooms during the half-time. The team instead remained on the pitch waiting the opponents to restart the second half, during which there was no story with Lazio scoring three times and winning an important match, showing an incredible character and a great thirst for success. In that season Lazio also won both Roman derbies showing a clear supremacy over the city rivals. The 12th May 1974 was D-DAY for the Lazio fans. Lazio was three points ahead of Juventus with two games to go. A win against Foggia would secure the first ever Serie A title in 74 years of history. Thousands of fans arrived at the stadium early in the morning, balconies flocked with the light-blue flags while fireworks were exploded in the streets of Rome. The Olimpic Stadium was already packed a couple of hours before the kick off. The fans were ready to explode and drive Lazio to triumph. The players performance, probably due to the tension, was not brilliant, thus the first half ended goalless. Meanwhile, Juventus was winning in Turin against Fiorentina. In the second half Lazio played better and started to create chances. With a quarter of an hour to go, it obtained a penalty following a hands-ball committed by a Foggia defender. Chinaglia placed the ball on the penalty spot while the fans stayed in an unrealistic silence. Tension was high, Chinaglia was ready for the most important penalty of his career. As per ritual he kissed the ball, breathed deeply, took a short run, nearly slipped and hit the ball badly with the interior of his right foot. Foggia's keeper did not manage to save and the ball rolled into net. The stadium exploded with joy and so the players. Lazio was minutes away from the "scudetto". The game ended one nil. The fans left the terraces and invaded the pitch.The players were stripped off and carried on shoulders as heroes. The stadium's gaint screen showed the script LAZIO CAMPIONE. Everyone was crying with joy. A dream had become true. Only two years before Lazio was in serie B and now it was the Italian Champion. Maestrelli the mentor of this success had reached his apex. The enthusiasm soon passed from the stadium, to the streets of Rome were the fans flocked to celebrate. Hundred of thousands celebrated all night long with car cades and fireworks. The followers of the Eagles were in heaven while those of A.S.Roma experienced a nightmare. They locked themselves in their homes to avoid watching the celebrations. The only sad picture was that the exclusion from the European cups meant that Lazio could not have the honour to play in the following season Champions Cup. The legendary squad: Pulici 30, Petrelli 22(1), Martini 28, Wilson 30 (1), Oddi 30, Nanni 30(2), Garlaschelli 29(10), Re Cecconi 23(2), Chinaglia 30 (24), Frustalupi 30, D'Amico 27 (2).
Reserves : Borgo 1, Facco 6, Inselvini 11, Franzoni 10 (1), Polentes 9, Manservisi 4, Tripodi 1.
LFever Team Member
Number of posts : 2192
Age : 46
Country and city : Belgio
Laziale since : 1989
Registration date : 2008-05-23
|Subject: Re: Seasons of Glory (10) Tue May 12, 2009 5:18 pm|| |
Today it's 35 years ago Lazio brought home it's first Scudetto ... GRAZIE !!!
Number of posts : 152
Age : 34
Country and city : sweden
Registration date : 2008-11-18
|Subject: Re: Seasons of Glory (10) Sat May 16, 2009 10:18 pm|| |
|Subject: Re: Seasons of Glory (10) Today at 11:02 am|| |