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The Dane's red card provided the turning point at the Olimpico, yet the Giallorossi boss shouldn't be surprised that it was the centre-back who let his side down

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By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

For every hero, there’s a villain. After an utterly ineffective performance for the most part, Miroslav Klose finally pounced in the 93rd minute to give Lazio a dramatic, but deserved, derby win over Roma last night. But as he did so, Simon Kjaer’s head will have been in his hands. For it was his senseless red card at the beginning of the second half that had turned the game on its head.

Having gone ahead through Pablo Daniel Osvaldo’s fifth-minute effort from Miralem Pjanic’s clever through ball, Roma were constantly looking dangerous if not in control during a first half which could well have seen them add to their lead as Simone Perrotta and Bojan Krkic both went close. At the other end, Djibril Cisse and Klose were wasting any chances that came their way, and, but for one momentary spill by the returning Maarten Stekelenburg, there seemed little for Luis Enrique to panic about.

MATCH FACTS | Lazio 2-1 Roma

Shots
On Target
Possession
Corners
Bookings
Sendings-off
Lazio
17
4
52%
8
2
0
Roma
5
2
48%
2
4
1

But in the 50th minute the game changed completely. As Cristian Brocchi made a typical burst from midfield into the penalty area, Kjaer decided to pull back the former AC Milan man. Though Brocchi’s exaggeration of the contact hardly painted him in the greatest light, the Dane’s latest moment of stupidity cost his side dear. A red card, a penalty and a 45-minute Lazio onslaught were what inevitably followed.

Even before Hernanes stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick, many will already have been casting their minds back to the trip to Parma in week five. After two distinctly average showings against Inter and Siena, in which he’d given the ball away on a total of nine occasions with unnecessarily ambitious passes for a centre-back and also displayed a number of other shortcomings, Kjaer was lucky to see out the first half.

Booked for a stupid challenge right through the back of Francesco Modesto, the Dane produced a similar ‘tackle’ moments later. Referee Daniele Orsato somehow made the decision to allow Kjaer to stay on the field, but by the interval, Luis Enrique had seen enough, replacing him with Nicolas Burdisso.

The switch coincided with an upturn in the Giallorossi’s fortunes, with Burdisso being a crucial part of a much more sturdy back four in the second half as Roma went on to record their first win of the season, and a week later the decision to leave out Kjaer was justified by the 3-1 win over Atalanta. So the option taken by the Spaniard to bring back the No.44 for the derby was a risky one in the least given his previous form this term, coupled with the magnitude of the fixture. And it was one which backfired massively.

Miroslav Klose | The late, late, late hero

That it took Klose until injury time to snatch the winner was more down to Roma’s luck than anything. Lazio had long since deserved their winner, and the German had squandered more than enough good opportunities to have put his side out of sight before controlling Francelino Matuzalem’s neat chipped pass and firing past Stekelenburg.

While Biancocelesti coach Edy Reja ran behind the goal to join in the celebrations with his players, Luis Enrique looked crestfallen, but he has to take some of the blame for his side having thrown away a winning position against their great rivals.

With his first Derby della Capitale has come his first great lesson … Pick players on form, not on their price tag.

ELSEWHERE ...

  • Juventus turned in another unconvincing performance in front of a capacity crowd at the Bentegodi in Verona as Chievo threatened to stop the league leaders in their tracks. It even took a great piece of defensive anticipation by Alessandro Del Piero (yes, you read that right) to preserve Gianluigi Buffon's clean sheet, which proved enough to keep them at the summit for another week.

  • Over in Bergamo, Atalanta and Udinese played out a second successive lifeless 0-0 draw thanks in part to some bizarre refereeing from Andrea Gervasoni. Now, it wasn't that the man in the middle got the odd big decision wrong - though the sending-off of Giampiero Pinzi for running alongside Giacomo Bonaventura was harsh in the extreme - more that he made countless errors, even over the most simple of calls. Officials are under the spotlight again.

  • The multitude of scoreless draws on show were somewhat out of the ordinary for Serie A. There were five of them yesterday, backing up the myth that the Italian league is short on attacking quality. If people could be bothered to check out the stats, they'd see that the last three full seasons have seen 81 scoreless games in Serie A against 95 in the much-heralded English Premier League. Haters will hate ...

 

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