Guest post by Federico Facromeni
Napoli and Lazio faced off in a classic match this Sunday evening with Champions League football at stake.
In Lazio’s history there are at least two key moments taking place in Naples. In 1973, they lost the League on the last weekend of the season. Whilst in 1987, they won a relegation playoff against Taranto and Campobasso with more than 30,000 fans making the short trip from Rome (with Napoli fans burning some of their vans and coaches on the way). That season gave Lazio’s current retro shirt a shroud of immortality as they stayed up against all odds having started on the first weekend with a 9 point deduction (that would correspond to a -13 in the three points per victory era). This year, where Lazio have resurrected their famous strip, Lazio coincidentally played another decisive game in Naples.
On Sunday evening, Lazio didn’t have any fan on their side as the Italian FA banned away fans from Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo. On the other side, Napoli supporters were fast to lay their hands on 25,000 tickets in the space of just 24 hours – they had sold only 870 before Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa netted the winner in the Rome derby on Monday evening.
Napoli v Lazio was a classic with Champions League football at stake. With Lazio three points clear, they could gain a play off spot with just a draw, whilst only a win could grant the same prize to Napoli. The match ended 2-4 for Lazio, and supporters in the Eternal City immediately exploded into a flurry of celebrations.
The city was alight with chanting Lazio fans, while thousands gathered at Lazio’s training centre in Formello to welcome their heroes back. At around 2 in the morning the players walked out to nearly 2,000 fans singing and chanting. Earlier this year, Lazio supporters welcomed their team in similar fashion after defeating Napoli to qualify for the Coppa Italia Final. This match will go down as another classic in the great history of Fixtures between Napoli and Lazio.