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THE LAST TIME: The Cosmos hosted an international friendly game in 1985

Giorgio Chinaglia owned the cosmos and the Latium. (Courtesy photo of Kosmos)

On Thursday evening, the New York Cosmos will play their first international match in more than three decades when they welcome FC St. Pauli (Germany) to kick-off at 7.30 p.m. at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium in New York City.

The last time Cosmos hosted an international team was against Lazio on June 16, 1985, when the Italian Serie A team won a hard-fought 2-1 win during a rain shower at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ posted

At that time, the Cosmos played drama because the North American Soccer League had given up after the 1984 season. Cosmos legend Giorgio Chinaglia, who also owned Lazio, arranged a friendly between his two clubs, although the word “friendly” would certainly not be the right way to describe what happened in front of 8,677 spectators that Sunday night.

Unfortunately, the game got out of hand early on.

Referee John Zangrilli whistled a controversial 16-minute penalty against Cosmos midfielder Amy Aly for fouling Lionello Manfredonia when a newspaper asked if the Italian player should have won an Oscar for his acting skills.

After Bruno Giordano converted the penalty kick, the game quickly deteriorated with vicious flying tackles and elbows. Cosmos defender Andranik Eskandarian received his marching orders for fouling Oliviero Garlini in the 22nd minute. Lazios Garbiele Podazini was also sent off. Zangrilli, co-founder of the Garden State Soccer League and a member of the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame, also dealt six yellow cards. He whistled 46 fouls, 26 at the Cosmos.

Manfredonia put down a 30-yard shot by Dutch international Michael Laudrup, which ricocheted off goalkeeper Hubert Birkenmeier in the 43rd minute.

The Cosmos hit the scoreboard in the 85th minute when Vincenzo D’Amico scored a penalty after Joao Batista stumbled in the penalty area. Nobody suspected it at the time, but it would be the last goal of a professional team called New York Cosmos until Peri Marosevic scored a 2-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the 44th minute on August 3, 2013.

The 1985 game ended in a brawl. Cosmos defender Vojislav Vukcevic jumped on the back of a Lazio player, North Jersey News reported. Teammate Dragan Vujovic ran across the field, kicking and hitting several Lazio players.

The Cosmos held their first international match almost 50 years ago when they greeted Hearts of Scotland at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 1971. Dynamo, scored a hat trick and led the Scots to a 4-2 victory in front of 2,189 rain-soaked spectators. George Flemming had the guests’ other goal. Ceyhan Yazar scored both goals for the Cosmos, supported by Charlie McCully and Siggy Stritzl.

Whether it was the Trans-Atlantic Cup, an annual tournament with international games in the Giants Stadium or several top-class retirement games for Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, the Cosmos has always had a tradition of organizing unforgettable internationals and moments.

On Thursday evening, the Cosmos continues this tradition against FC St. Pauli.

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