Lazio 3-2 Roma: Biancolesti Win the Derby della Capitale, Roma Distanced 7 Points From Inter Milan

Lazio vs. Roma (Serie A)

Serie AAhh… Lazio-Roma. Traditionally called “Stracittadina” (or conventionally “Derby della Capitale“), these derbies are always full of excitement: Laziali and Romanisti go crazy for them, because on top of providing plenty of entertainment (to neutral watchers as well), Stadio Olimpico bragging rights for the entire season are at stake. Last night’s derby however, was particularly important to the Giallorossi because it was meant to maintain Roma’s 5-match unbeaten streak (since the Juventus loss) and keep them close to Inter for the Scudetto race, something which (unlike what Totti may think) is still important to Roma supporters.

Before the match, there was a 24-point difference in the Serie A standings between Lazio and Roma: the teams who stepped onto the Stadio Olimpico of Rome tonight can be said to have very different season objectives at the moment. For the Giallorossi, with Champions League qualification almost guaranteed, the Scudetto race is still very much alive despite the 6-point differential between them and league leaders Inter. For Lazio however, the possibility of remaining out of Europe next season very much a reality, the Biancocelesti are currently left struggling even for a tiny UEFA Cup spot. In derbies however, everyone knows that league standings don’t mean squat and indeed, the victor tonight was not the strongest team on paper.

Serie A Matchday 29 - Lazio 3-2 Roma

Tactically, Lazio manager Delio Rossi decided to field a 3-man attacking formation tonight, with Rolando Bianchi in the center supported by Tommaso Rocchi and Goran Pandev on the sides. As for Roma, Spalletti opted once again for the speed of Cicinho and Marco Cassetti in the backline, while replacing Amantino Mançini with Mirko Vucinic as one of the playmakers.

Lazio began the match at full swing, immediately occupying the space on the wings and creating more of it with constant overlaps from the backline. The first chance of the match was to the favor of the Biancocelesti: minute 7, an Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick almost surprised Doni, forcing the Brazilian keeper to tip a sneaky ball onto the crossbar. The ball rebounded to Pandev who sent it back across for Bianchi, but the ex-City striker missed it by a hairbreadth. Spalletti had his first shiver of the night.

Goran Pandev in action during Lazio-RomaShivers however turned into jumps of jubilation, when at the half-hour mark Roma went ahead. With Vucinic trying to pierce through the Lazio defense, the ball was deflected shortly inside the box and it seemed as if Valon Behrami would have no trouble whatsoever in neutralizing the danger. The Swiss midfielder however rushed his clearance, not seeing Rodrigo Taddei in front of him: the ball hit the Roma winger on the shoulder, rebounding out of Ballotta’s reach straight into the bottom-left corner of the goal. 1-0 Roma in rather comical fashion, but the Giallorossi would take it.

The ‘visitors’ (for administrative purposes) lead would last less than 15 minutes however, because Lazio really turned on the style just before the break, and provided an equalizer in true Calcio-champagne fahion: all in one-touch combinations, Rocchi got through on the left wing, sent in a low cross for Kolarov inside the box. Doni got a hand to it, but could not deflect it further away than Goran Pandev onto the second post, and the Macedonian international simply had to apply the finish with an open net. 1-1 at the break.

In the second half, news of the Inter Milan draw vs. Genoa had gotten to the Stadio Olimpico (given the Lazio-Roma match had started 45 minutes later, for reasons still obscure to me), something which revitalized the motivations of Francesco Totti & friends. Not even a minute had passed when a good set-up by the Roma captain put Simone Perrotta in shooting position, but the midfielder’s effort was wide of the mark. Lazio replied with Pandev (short-range shot wide) before Totti eventually found the way of the goal in minute 51, but saw his tally (rightfully) called off for offside.

Tommaso Rocchi (right) celebrates his 2-1 penalty kick with Valon BehramiIn minute 55, Kolarov found Doni’s woodwork once again as his 26m-set piece effort beat the Roma wall but not the post. Just a minute later however, Lazio would take the lead: on a Kolarov (him again!) cross from the left wing, Bianchi and Juan went to challenge the ball, resulting in both players tumbling to the ground. Replays were rather unclear on the episode, but it seemed as if the Roma center-back had pulled the Lazio striker down, and for referee Emidio Morganti that was enough to indicate the 12-yard spot. Tommaso Rocchi stepped up to take the spot-shot, and with what virtually was one of the worst penalty kicks I’ve seen in my entire life (no really, it was almost as if he intentionally tried to miss it), put his team ahead. 2-1 Lazio.

There was really no time to catch your breath in this match hover, because 4 minutes later Roma were level once again. A high ball forward was masterfully controlled by Vucinic, setting up Totti, then Simone Perrotta for on-run finish from 16 yards: ball into the bottom-right corner, out of Ballotta’s reach. 2-2, and true spectacle at the Olimpico.

10 minutes from the end, Totti had the opportunity to clinch the match running off towards the Lazio box on a counter, but instead of serving it to Vucinic the Roma captain decided to go for the dribble, prompting Ledesma to intercept and a good Roma chance to vanish. A few minutes later, Behrami’s diagonal shot was wide and it seemed as if this match would end on a tied scoreline, satisfying neither team really and keeping Inter’s lead on Roma unchanged.

Valon Behrami’s strike has just given Lazio the 3-2 victory over RomaUntil the 93rd minute, when this happened: controlling the ball on the right wing, Pandev managed to invent a splendid assist for Stefano Mauri on the left, who then immediately counter-crossed it to the opposite end. Both Doni and Juan simply stood to watch as the ball crossed the Roma box, eventually landing to Valon Behrami about 3 meters from the goal line, ready to poke the ball into the net. An enormous goal for the Swiss international, which sent the entire Biancocelesti supporters section into rapture. 3-2 Lazio and game over.

On top of the disappointment for losing the derby, Roma now see Inter Milan’s lead increase to 7 points. Such a shame, the week had started off so well with the win over AC Milan… A nice note of the evening hover: before the match started, the entire Olimpico stadium (Biancocelesti and Giallorossi alike) paid tribute to Gabriele Sandri, remembering the Lazio supporter who tragically died while travelling to an away game in November 2007.

After this loss, Roma’s distance to first-ranked Inter Milan is now 7 points. With 9 matches left in the league, have Roma’s hopes for a fourth Serie A title vanished? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

Francesco Totti during the pre-match homage to Gabriele Sandri


S.S. Lazio
[Match Highlights]
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 30′ Taddei (R), 44′ Pandev (L), 58’ pen. Rocchi (L), 61’ Perrotta (R), 92’ Behrami (L)
LAZIO (4-3-3): Ballotta – De Silvestri (66’ Mutarelli), Siviglia, Cribari, Kolarov – Dabo (73’ Mudingayi), Ledesma, Behrami – Pandev, Bianchi, (72’ Mauri), Rocchi (bench: Muslera, Rozehnal, Meghni, Tare). Coach: D.Rossi
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Cicinho, Mexès, Juan, Cassetti (88’ Panucci) – De Rossi, Aquilani – Taddei (66’ Giuly), Perrotta, Vucinic (83’ Mancini) – Totti (bench: Curci, Ferrari, Brighi, Pizarro, Mancini). Coach: Spalletti


Posted in Lazio, Roma, Serie A |

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  • 8 Responses to “Lazio 3-2 Roma: Biancolesti Win the Derby della Capitale, Roma Distanced 7 Points From Inter Milan”

    1. Ahmed Bilal says:

      excellent report as usual Marco.

      7 points is not insurmountable but comfortable enough, and Inter are not Newcastle in disguise (at least not yet). Roma blew an excellent opportunity to close the game, but the chance is more or less gone now.

      I saw this game at the 90th minute, saw the scoreline and figured that 6 points weren’t too much – but the demoralizing nature of losing so late in the game will have an effect as well.

      What are the remaining fixtures of the top 3-4 sides in the Serie A? That would make for an interesting prediction analysis.

    2. JohnnyG says:

      Game, set, and match for Roma, chalk up another one for the Mancini boys. I never believed Roma had the roster depth to overtake Inter, despite the Milan team has been playing horrible lately. Looks like some new brass is coming over on the Inter bench (mourinho perhaps?)

    3. JumpinJackFlash says:

      Well it seems its over now, even when Inter dont win, somehow Roma manage to f**k up their chance to capitalise.

    4. Kekko795 says:

      Inter’s road to another scudetto is now wide open. Roma were too distracted by their incumbent champions league match against Manchester, and didn’t play to their full potential.

      Plus, with all that Francesco Totti talk on how ‘the champions league is more important than the serie a’ and all that. It must have affected the team somehow, I don’t think spalletti will be very happy about it.

    5. Ahmed:

      Matchday 35 (27/04/08):
      Fiorentina – Sampdoria
      Inter – Cagliari
      Juventus – Lazio
      Livorno – Milan
      Roma – Torino

      Matchday 36 (04/05/08):
      Cagliari – Fiorentina
      Sampdoria – Roma
      Siena – Juventus

      Matchday 37 (11/05/08):
      Fiorentina – Parma
      Inter – Siena
      Juventus – Catania
      Napoli – Milan
      Roma – Atalanta

      Matchday 38 (18/05/08):
      Catania – Roma
      Milan – Udinese
      Parma – Inter
      Sampdoria – Juventus
      Torino – Fiorentina

      The game that could still potentially give Roma a little boost is MilanInter on matchday 36. By the however, Inter‘s lead will have to have significantly decreased for it to make any kind of difference. I don’t see that happening.

    6. P.S. I should point out however, that this week on Saturday Inter will be hosting Juventus at the San Siro. Perhaps we might see a big surprise come from there…

    7. caluinet_1 says:

      A team will show whether it has character or not in decisive moments like these. Lazio have demonstrated it 10-fold on Wendesday, by winning a derby during which lady luck always turned her back on them.

      I mean damnit: one post, one crossbar, one of the crappiest goals of the season conceded (thank god behrami made amends later, with the match-winning goal). Despite all that they won the match, and it’s make the victory all the more sweeter (even more than the 3-0 scoreline of last season).

      As for Roma, they seriously need to wake up because if they play like this against Man Utd, they risk a repeat of last year’s brilliant display.

    8. Ryan80 says:

      On a sidenote, there’s an interesting thread on the BIG SOCCER forum outlining the historical comebacks in Serie A:

      In 1965, Inter overturned a 5 point advantage on Milan and won the Scudetto.

      In 1967, Inter were comfortable at the top and then only got 4 points in 6 games. In the next game they incredibly lost to Mantova and Juve past them to win.

      In 1971, Inter again surprised Milan, this time overturning a 6 point advantage and winning their 11th Scudetto.

      In 1988 one of the biggest comebacks happened. Napoli, comfortable at the top with 18 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss, make a clamorous fall. 4 losses in a row, 1 point in 5 games, and Milan recover and steal the Scudetto away.

      In 1999 Milan completed a miracle comeback. An average squad turned alight in the spring, with 7 games left and 7 points behind a strong Lazio side, Milan strung together 7 wins in a row, and on the second to last day complete the comeback, as they defeated Empoli 4-0 and Lazio could only draw with Fiorentina. The Rossoneri then beat Perugia on the last day to win the Scudetto.

      In 2000 Lazio wouldn’t cry for long as Juventus had a 9 point lead and looked set to win the Scudetto. However Juventus threw the lead away, and lost to Perugia in the Olympic swimming pool, allowing Lazio to triumph.

      Then we all know the 5 Maggio 2002 story. Inter, with 5 games left, have a 6 point lead over Juventus. Inter only manage to string together 7 points in the last games, while Juventus don’t miss a beat. The final day sees the top 3 like this: Inter 69, Juve 68, Roma 67. Lazio beat Inter and Juve beat Udinese to steal the Scudetto from a crying Ronaldo.

      Can this season be another historic comeback?