The hosts eventually capitalised on their man advantage by scoring a stoppage-time winner in a pulsating Derby della Capitale on Sunday night
Hernanes and Miroslav Klose were the heroes as they netted second-half strikes, with the German's winner coming in the 93rd minute, to cancel out an early Pablo Osvaldo opener and catapult their team ahead of their opponents and up to fourth in the Serie A table.
The game hinged on the sending off of Roma defender Simon Kjaer, who was dismissed for the foul which resulted in the referee pointing to the spot for Lazio's equaliser.
The drama was not only confined to the on-field action, however, as there was actually a threat that the match would be cancelled following clashes between police and troublemakers as around 70 people were injured during a day of violence in the Italian capital on Saturday.However, the fixture was given the green light, and the visitors seemed intent on taking the game by the scruff off the neck right from the first whistle.
Their high intensity start was rewarded with a goal as early as the fifth minute when Miralem Pjanic clipped the ball over the top of the Lazio defence for Osvaldo, who took a superb touch with his chest before slipping a neat side-foot finish past the advancing Federico Marchetti.
Lazio didn’t seem to know what had hit them and struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 10 minutes; Simone Perrotta went close to doubling the lead when he fizzed a low drive just past the post.
However, the hosts for the evening eventually found their feet and forced a few efforts of their own. First, top scorer Klose placed wide of goal and then Hernanes scuffed an excellent opportunity past Maarten Stekelenburg’s left-hand post.
The Biancocelesti were in the ascendancy now, and the Brazilian midfielder continued to ley fly from long range in order to try and restore parity. And while Stekelenburg spilled one such effort, they never really looked like breaching his net.
For their part, Roma still managed to create the better openings but Bojan and Osvaldo failed to convert a Jose Angel centre, while the former Barcelona player also saw a low strike saved by Marchetti.
The second half started at a similar pace to the first, but this time the momentum was clearly in Lazio’s favour.
And just like in the first 45, the team in control took full advantage by scoring while they were on top when Hernanes thrashed a spot-kick home in the 51st minute after Cristian Brocchi had been fouled by Kjaer, who was given a red card for his troubles.
Lazio continued to pile on the pressure in an attempt to press home their man advantage. Klose headed against the crossbar and blazed an excellent opportunity high and wide, while Djibril Cisse fired a stunning volley against the post.
And just when it looked like they wouldn't find the breakthrough desired, Klose popped up inside the box in the 93rd minute to collect Matuzalem's pass and roll a calm finish into the net to secure a stunning late victory.
Lazio now face a Europa League tie at FC Zurich before returning to league action with an away match against Bologna next Sunday. Roma, on the other hand, have a week’s wait until they host Palermo in Serie A.