The hosts eventually made their man advantage count 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, cancelling out an early Pablo Osvaldo opener and catapulting their team up to fourth in the Serie A table.
The game hinged on the dismissal of Roma defender Simon Kjaer, who was sent off for a foul on Cristian Brocchi which resulted in the referee pointing to the spot for Lazio's equalizer.
The drama was not only confined to the on-field action, however. There was 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 Luis Enrique's side seemed intent on taking the game by the scruff off the neck right from the first whistle.
The 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 defense 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 it and struggled to get out of its 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 home side for the evening eventually found its feet and forced a few efforts of its 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 let fly from long range in order to try and restore parity. And while Stekelenburg spilled one such effort, the club never really looked like breaching his net.
For its part, Roma still managed to create the better openings but Bojan and Osvaldo failed to convert a Jose Angel center, 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 favor.
And just like in the first period, the team in control took full advantage by scoring while it was on top when Hernanes thrashed a spot-kick home in the 51st minute after Brocchi was pulled back by Kjaer, who was given a red card as a result.
Lazio continued to pile on the pressure in an attempt to press the 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 the club wouldn't find the desired breakthrough, Klose popped up inside the box to collect Matuzalem's pass and roll a calm finish into the net to secure a stunning late victory.
Lazio's players took to the running track to celebrate with the supporters, and 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, has a week’s wait until it hosts Palermo in Serie A, and will be desperate to eradicate the memory of a painful loss.