29 November 2023
Each community has an activity for which it is famed for, and in Monza, for decades, the first true popular religion has been the motoring one: the Formula 1 Grand Prix which has always been held at the beginning of September, with which Brianza and more generally motoring and sports enthusiasts say goodbye to summer. It is the most awaited event of the year, so much so that in 1978 we were forced to change the venue for the Italian Cup match between Monza and Juventus - the match we chose to cover in view of our next Serie A match-up, scheduled for Friday 1 December at 20.45 CET.
THE “JUVE BLOCK” AT THE 1978 WORLD CUP
If to reach Monza the Bianconeri will have to travel about 150 km, in September 1978 they did 15km less and stopped in Milan, at San Siro to be precise, where they faced one of the four challenges of the group that opened at the time the Italian Cup. Juventus coached by Giovanni Trapattoni had found the so-called "Juve Block" in training only a few days ago, used by coach Enzo Bearzot at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Zoff, Benetti, Cuccureddu, Scirea, Cabrini, Gentile, Tardelli, Causio and Bettega - protagonists in the previous season of the Bianconero double that brought both the Scudetto and the UEFA Cup to Turin - were also among the main actors in the national team's summer run that managed to beat the future world champions and hosts Argentina, before taking fourth place in the tournament. However, it was inevitable that the effort would be felt in the preparation for the following season: for this reason the Italian Cup matches at the beginning of the year became a fundamental test.
MONZA WAITS FOR JUVENTUS... IN MILAN
The calendar, however, had not taken into account the overlap of events: Monza-Juventus had initially been scheduled for Sunday 10 September, coinciding with the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Forced to change on the fly, it was decided to bring the match forward to Thursday 7 September, at that point also changing the venue, thus exploiting the capacity of San Siro: we went from the 12,000 seats of the "Gino Sada" in Monza to the over 25,000 paying spectators who populated the stands of the Meazza in Milan, curious to see the reigning Italian champions in action.
VIRDIS STARS IN THE FIRST VICTORY AGAINST MONZA
That was only the second official match in the history of the two teams: two years earlier, still in the initial stages of the Italian Cup, the match ended 1-1 in what is remembered as Giovanni Trapattoni's debut as coach for Juventus. In September 1978, however, Juventus' first victory against Monza was earned: a 1-0 win, with the goal scored in the second half by Pietro Paolo Virdis - the star in that match, already decisive in the first half when he managed to feed Giuseppe Furino who was only denied by the post. An impromptu play arrived in the 71st minute, with the ball recovered after a botched clearance by the Monza defense and Virdis was on hand to strike from the edge of the box with a low shot which kisses the post and ends up in the back of the net. Also thanks to that victory, the Bianconeri topped the group and at the end of the season managed to win their sixth Italian Cup (13 years after the previous time) - with a goal by Franco Causio in the 117th minute of a historic final won in extra time against Palermo.