Sunday November 29, 1992 was the day that Paul Gascoigne, the jester of world football, became the king of Lazio as his late header earned the Aquile a 1-1 draw against bitter rivals Roma in the Derby della Capitale.
Gazza arrived in Italy from Tottenham having suffered two serious knee injuries that had threatened to end his career and despite being a magician on the field his acquisition was a big risk for the then Lazio president Gianmarco Calleri.
When the Englishman took to the field that Sunday afternoon at the Stadio Olimpico the Biancocelesti were languishing in a period of mediocrity and hadn’t won a trophy since 1974, as well as spending several seasons in Serie B, whilst their cross-city counterparts had won the Coppa Italia as recently as 1991.
As the electric atmosphere around the stadium drove both sets of players on in the opening 45 minutes there were several challenges, which would have seen a straight red card brandished today, that led to both teams pushing and shoving in heated confrontations as emotions threatened to spill over.
Despite the Aquile showing plenty of endeavour it was the Giallorossi who had the better of the first half as they controlled the ball and kept their composure in the heat of battle.
However, clear cut chances were hard to come by and Thomas Habler’s long range freekick, which was beaten away by Valerio Fiori in the Lazio goal, was the only real opportunity before the break.
The Giallorossi would take a deserved lead only two minutes after the restart when Andrea Carnevale found himself clear through on goal and although he couldn’t finish the opportunity himself Giuseppe Giannini was on hand to slot home the rebound.
Despite Roma still having the better of the contest Thomas Doll, Giuseppe Favalli and Roberto Cravero would all have chances to bring Lazio level, but Giuseppe Zinetti refused to be beaten in the Giallorossi goal.
As the contest headed towards its conclusion it looked as if Roma’s staunch defence wouldn’t be broken, but the world’s greatest players only need half a chance to turn a game on its head.
In the 86th minute Giuseppe Signori floated a ball into the Roma box and the moment that made Gazza a king to the people of Lazio had arrived.
He rose above the Roma back line, seemingly hanging in mid air for an eternity, before powering his header past Zinetti to level the contest in its dying moments.
The Curva Nord erupted as their hero ran towards them with his arms outstretched in a moment that has been immortalised as one of Serie A’s most iconic images.