Friday, May 12, 2017

12 May 1985 - Verona Victorious

On 12 May 1985, Hellas Verona won their first and only Serie A title with a 1-1 draw against Atalanta.

Founded in 1903, Verona joined the newly-formed Serie B in 1929 and took almost thirty years to reach the top flight for the first time, joining Serie A in 1957. Even then, it was for only one season, and they returned back to the second division in 1958. From 1968 on, they spent the majority of their time in the top flight, but rarely challenged for honors. 

But they began to show signs improvement in the early 1980s, finishing as Coppa Italia runners-up in 1983 and 1984 (added to their previous final appearance in 1976) and a fourth-place league finish in 1984, which was at the time the club's best position in the final table.

That changed in the 1984-85 season. Led by their forward pairing of Preben Elkjær Larsen and Giuseppe Galderisi, Verona rose to the top of the table. By 12 May, they were ahead of Torino by four points with two games left for both teams. Because wins were worth only two points at the time, Verona needed only a draw at mid-table Atalanta to secure the Scudetto.

Atalanta, however, refused to roll over and took the lead after only 16 minutes when defender Eugenio Perico scored a header from a cross. Unshaken, Verona drove forward in search of an equalizer and finally got it in the 51st minute when Elkjær scored with a dramatic volley. That proved to be enough, as the game ended 1-1, making Verona the Serie A champions.

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