Ago puts the Scudetto almost within our grasp


May 1, 1983, Rome – Stadio Olimpico
Roma 2-0 Avellino
Serie A, Week 28

On this day in 1983, a match between Roma and Avellino sparked what is surely the most beautiful celebration by a Giallorossi player ever seen on the field of play.

With the scores at 1-0, Agostino Di Bartolomei thrashed a right-footed shot into the net from outside of the area to put the Giallorossi two up. As Avellino goalkeeper Stefano Tacconi watched the ball sail past him, Di Bartolomei sprinted off in impassioned, guttural celebration.

The Roma captain dropped to his knees, skidding along the grass, raising his arms and throwing his head back towards the heavens. With the emotion pouring out of Di Bartolomei and the rain lashing down – as if the Eternal City itself was shedding tears of joy with its captain – Carlo Ancelotti joined him on the turf in joyful embrace. Indelible. Unforgettable. Roman.

What a celebration. What a match. And what a season it was. Roma didn’t quite clinch the title that day, but perhaps the city was waiting for a day of splendid Italian sun to mark the Giallorossi’s eventual triumph.

Paulo Roberto Falcao had put the Giallorossi ahead in the 38th minute, helping the fans to forget about the rain and begin dreaming of the title. Indeed, as Di Bartolomei was down on his knees rejoicing, the Curva unveiled a gigantic Scudetto (shield), as if to declare the league won.

At the exact moment, Juve were losing 1-3 to Inter at the Stadio Comunale and Roma were on course to be crowned champions come the final whistle (there would have been a five-point gap with two games to go, at a time when two points were awarded for a win).

Interviewed on the pitch seconds before kick-off, Di Bartolomei had talked about finishing off the title race, and by half-time Falcao was already soaking up the unbridled adulation of the fans. Juve, of course, fought back to draw against Inter, though the match would later be awarded to Inter after Giampiero Marini had been hit by a brick before kick-off.

As for Roma, they claimed the title next time out against Genoa, though Juve’s forfeit of the match against Inter meant they were already champions when Di Bartolomei scored his unforgettable goal. When even the sky above Rome was moved by its eternal captain.