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Watch: Ħamrun Spartans, Floriana crunch match adds to Zauri, Camoranesi’s meeting history

Luciano Zauri (right), playing for Lazio, shields the ball from Mauro Camoranesi, then at Juventus, in the 2004/2005 season. Photo: Getty Images

As Maltese football will brace for this weekend’s potential title-deciding showdown between Ħamrun Spartans and Floriana, Luciano Zauri and Mauro Camoranesi will be crossing paths for the second time as coaches after numerous head-to-heads as players.

Both Zauri and Camoranesi are in their first season in Maltese football as their arrival was highly-welcomed by both sets of clubs given their résumé, especially as players.

After parting ways with Branko Nisevic, who led the Spartans to last year’s title, Ħamrun decided to appoint former Serie A player Zauri in his first experience outside Italian football.

The 46-year-old, who played as a defender during his career, had been in charge of Pescara’s senior team, albeit for just 29 games in two different spells between 2019 and 2022.

Zauri has also coached in the Primavera championship, at Pescara and Bologna.

In his debut season as Ħamrun coach, Zauri guided the Spartans to 22 victories in 33 outings in all competitions, including 18 in the Premier League as they returned on top with just two matches left.

He has already lifted his first piece of silverware in Maltese football after guiding the Spartans to a spectacular victory over Birkirkara in the Super Cup.

As a player, Zauri made 509 appearances including 319 in the Serie A and 13 in the Champions League as he played for Atalanta, Chievo Verona, Lazio, Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Pescara.

Camoranesi, on his part, was hired to take over as Floriana coach having replaced another ex-Serie A coach in Gianluca Atzori.

Watch: Prsa’s late strike breaks Floriana’s hearts as Spartans blow title race wide open

The former Juventus winger, whose highlight success a player was the 2006 World Cup title with Italy, has never coached in Italian football.

He started his coaching career in Mexico at Coras de Nayarit before moving to Argentina’s Tigres and eventually back to Mexican football at Cafetaleros de Chiapas.

Camoranesi also had two stints in European football as coach of Slovenia’s NK Tabor Sezana and Maribor, one of Slovenia’s football giants.

At Maribor, Camoranesi won 11 of his 21 games in all competitions before his time came to a premature end in early 2021.

In his decorated career as a winger, Camoranesi made 242 appearances in Serie A as he also played 509 games.

At Juventus, he played 288 games, scoring 32 goals and producing 74 assists.

Camoranesi and Zauri have met just once as coaches, in Ħamrun’s victory over Floriana in the first round tie.

The Times of Malta’s SportsDesk takes a closer look at their past meetings which involved Zauri and Camoranesi while both were on the pitch at the same time, during their times as Serie A players, and as coaches too.


2000/2001 – Atalanta vs Hellas Verona 3-0 (Serie A).

Zauri and Camoranesi’s first meeting as players was in the 2000/2001 Serie A season when the current Ħamrun coach was part of the Atalanta side that defeated Camoranesi’s Verona.

2000/2001 – Hellas Verona vs Atalanta 2-1 (Serie A).

In the return game of the same campaign, Camoranesi’s Verona made amends for their first round defeat as they clinched the three points with a 2-1 victory.

2001/2002 – Atalanta vs Hellas Verona 1-0 (Serie A).

Zauri was part of Atalanta’s victory as Camoranesi was still part of the Hellas Verona squad.

2002/2003 – Juventus vs Atalanta 3-0 (Serie A).

Camoranesi’s first head-to-head against Zauri as a Juventus player was in 2002 when the Bianconeri eased to a 3-0 win over Atalanta.

2002/2003 – Atalanta vs Juventus 1-1 (Serie A).

In the second round encounter, Zauri’s Atalanta had managed to hold Camoranesi and his Juventus side to a two-goal draw on home soil.

2004/2005 – Lazio vs Juventus 0-1 (Serie A).

Zauri’s first ever match as a Lazio player against Camoranesi as the latter emerged victorious with his Juventus side at the Stadio Olimpico.

2005/2006 – Lazio vs Juventus 1-1 (Serie A).

Zauri and his Lazio put on a commanding performance as they held Serie A champions Juventus to a draw in their home tie.

2008/2009 – Fiorentina vs Juventus 1-1 (Serie A).

Zauri faced Camoranesi as a Fiorentina player for the first time as the Viola held the Bianconeri to a 1-1 draw at the Artemio Franchi.

2009/2010 – Juventus vs Sampdoria 5-1 (Serie A).

Camoranesi scored one of Juventus’s goals as the Bianconeri hit Zauri’s Sampdoria for five in the Italian championship.

2009/2010 – Sampdoria vs Juventus 1-0 (Serie A).

The final meeting between Zauri and Camoranesi went in favour of the Ħamrun coach as Sampdoria beat Juventus narrowly at the Luigi Ferraris.

Meanwhile, in the 2003/2004 season, Zauri was part of the Lazio squad which defeated Juventus over two-legs to lift the Coppa Italia.

For the current Ħamrun coach, this was his single silverware won as a player.

In the first leg, won 2-0 by the Biancocelesti, Zauri took to the field on the 89th minute, five minutes after Camoranesi had left the field for Juventus.

In the return leg, which finished in a thrilling four-goal draw, both players did not play a single minute at the old Stadio Delle Alpi.


2023/2024 – Ħamrun Spartans vs Floriana 1-0 (Premier League).

A last-gasp winner scored by midfielder Roko Prsa was enough to hand Zauri a narrow victory over Camoranesi in the first Ħamrun, Floriana showdown this season.

Featuring between the sticks for the Spartans was Henry Bonello, who is currently sidelined with an injury and will be replaced by former Lazio custodian Federico Marchetti for next Saturday’s match.

Marchetti, 41, played nine matches together with Zauri during his time at Lazio including in three Europa League matches.

On the other hand, Marchetti faced Zauri on three occasions while donning the colours of Cagliari and Lazio.

Meanwhile, the Italian goalkeeper shared the field with Floriana’s coach Camoranesi on four occasions while representing his country including in a couple of 2010 World Cup matches against Paraguay and New Zealand.

He faced Camoranesi as an opponent in three games including in a Serie B encounter between Juventus and Albinoleffe which finished 1-1 in the 2006/2007 season.

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