The Biancocelesti stunned the Giallorossi in the 132nd Derby della Capitale, as they ran away with an incredible 4-2 victory at the Stadio Olimpico.
Lazio 4-2 Roma
The 132nd Derby della Capitale was one in which both sides were absolutely desperate to win, in order to keep their respective dreams alive this season. Lazio, a team that were ninth prior to the match, were eight points adrift of their rivals, the club that occupied the sixth and final European qualifying position. Thankfully for their sake, there were no significant injuries to deal with, meaning that Delio Rossi had a full strength squad at his disposal for this clash.
As for Roma, anything but a victory would all but end their hopes of attaining qualification for next season’s Champions League, as the fourth placed Genoa already had a comfortable five point buffer over them prior to the latest round of matches. The Romans were dealt a blow in the lead up to the clash, as Mirko Vucinic and Alberto Aquilani were ruled out due to injury, however in better news for the Giallorossi, their talismanic captain Francesco Totti declared that he would do whatever it took to be apart of the derby, and that is exactly what he did.
Roma got the play underway at the Stadio Olimpico, and incredibly it took less than 10 seconds for a tough challenge to come in, as Totti went to the ground clutching his leg, following a tackle by Zarate. Sensationally, Pandev opened the scoring for the Biancocelesti after just two minutes, when a lovely ball in to the area by Brocchi was met by the Macedonian at the back post, and his first time volley gave Doni no chance in goal.
Unbelievably, an absolute wonder strike by Zarate doubled Lazio’s advantage just two minutes later, when his effort from all of 30 yards was once again too good for Doni. The “home” fans could not believe what they were seeing, as their side led by two goals within the first four minutes of play. To Roma’s credit though, they worked extremely hard to keep themselves in it following their shocking start to the derby, and they didn’t take long to create some promising opportunities of their own.
On nine minutes, Panucci went extremely close to pulling one back, however a world class save by Muslera was enough to deny him that opportunity. In the play that followed though, Mexes found the ball at his feet in the area, and smashed it past the keeper from close range, to make it 2-1 after 10 minutes.
From this point on, the red half of Rome began to take full control, as they moved forward with real promise, placing their opponents under severe pressure in the process. Baptista, who was playing in a wider role on the left, was a dominant figure in the opening half hour, and it was he and the likes of Totti, De Rossi and Pizarro that continually made life difficult for the Lazio goal keeper. Despite their dominance since scoring their first goal though, Muslera and his team mates did enough to ensure that they held onto their early advantage.
The derby dropped in intensity over the next ten or so minutes, as the players were understandably exhausted following a frantic opening to the match. The highlight of this period came on 37 minutes, when a Pizarro ball into the area was met by the head of Baptista. The header beat Muslera, but was denied by the woodwork, and thankfully for the sake of the Biancocelesti, De Rossi’s follow up effort was flagged for offside.
Roma continued to surge forward in numbers, and after having an incredible amount of opportunities in a short period of time, Brighi lined up a shot from the edge of the area, only to see it cleared off the line by Matuzalem. The Giallorossi were in full control; however nothing seemed to be going their way in attack, as they just could not beat Muslera in goal.
After two minutes of stoppage time, one of the most entertaining halves of the season was brought to an end, as Lazio somehow managed to hold on to their 2-1 advantage at the break.
Lazio resumed the play in the second half, and somewhat surprisingly, the second period started in a more balanced manner than the first ended. This may have been partly due to the fact that Spalletti, as well as Igli Tare, the sporting director of Lazio, were sent off for a scuffle in the tunnel during the interval.
Both sides started brightly, however as the respective defences were both confident and switched on from the onset, opportunities were hard to come by early. After launching an impressive counter attack on 56 minutes, Matuzalem eventually played it in towards Pandev, who saw his brilliant effort expertly saved by Doni.
The Biancocelesti were starting to get on top of their rivals, and just two minutes later, Lichtsteiner made it 3-1 with a perfect header from close range. Foggia’s ability to beat two opponents on the right, and then glorious ball into the area set up the right back, who managed to score only his second goal for the club. Roma had it all to do now, as their dreams of qualifying for Europe’s premier competition were slipping away.
The Giallorossi’s task was made all the more difficult on 62 minutes, when Panucci was shown a second yellow, and therefore his marching orders, following a tough challenge on Pandev. Both sides decided to make a couple of substitutions following the incident, as Roma replaced Brighi with Tonetto, whilst Lazio brought on their captain Rocchi in the place of the goal scorer Zarate.
Nothing seemed to be going right for I Lupi, as they were beginning to lament not taking advantage of their dominant 40 minute period in the opening half, as they found themselves one man and two goals down with 20 minutes remaining. The cards were starting to mount, as were the clumsy challenges, as the realization of perhaps missing out on the Champions League next season began to set in.
The derby began to get out of hand on 75 minutes, as both Mexes (Roma) and Matuzalem (Lazio) were shown a red card, as the two clashed after the ball had run out of play. It was a very harsh call by the referee to send the duo off; however it simply had to be done, to ensure order was restored to the derby.
Despite playing with just nine men, Roma pulled one back to make it 3-2 on 80 minutes through De Rossi. It was once again thanks to a perfect free kick from Pizarro, which allowed De Rossi to rise above his opponents and head home his side’s second with 10 minutes remaining. The Giallorossi were back in it, as they went in search of an equaliser.
Lazio’s Kolarov killed off any hope Roma had on 85 minutes, when he ran the length of the pitch to beat Doni for the fourth time of the match. He was given the space and time to easily make his way into the attacking third, before easily making his way past Motta and Riise to make the score 4-2, and ensure that Lazio would attain all three points.
That’s how it would eventually end, as the Biancocelesti ran away with an incredible 4-2 victory, in what was undoubtedly the match of the season. The result leaves Roma in sixth place, six points adrift of the fourth placed Fiorentina, whilst Lazio remain in ninth, only five points behind their cross town rivals.
Lazio (4-4-2): Muslera; Lichtsteiner (De Silvestri 75’), Siviglia, Rozenhal, Kolarov; Brocchi, Ledesma, Matuzalem, Foggia (Mauri, 80’); Zarate (Rocchi, 65’), Pandev
Roma (4-3-2-1): Doni; Motta, Mexes, Panucci, Riise; De Rossi, Pizarro (Taddei, 90’), Brighi (Tonetto, 65’); Perrotta (Menez, 55’), Baptista; Totti
2’ Pandev (Lazio)
4’ Zarate (Lazio)
10’ Mexes (Roma)
58’ Lichtsteiner (Lazio)
80’ De Rossi (Roma)
85’ Kolarov (Lazio)
62’ Panucci (Roma)
75’ Mexes (Roma)
75’ Matuzalem (Lazio)
Adrian Del Monte, Goal.com