Derbies are always fun. No matter what the teams’ ranking, no one wants to lose them and there’s a big entertainment factor involved. For Roma however, winning this week-end’s edition of the Derby della Capitale was oh so… capital. Effectively, Julio Baptista 50th minute header brought an end to a 5-game winless streak for the Giallorossi, and offers hope to end a results crisis that Totti & friends have been dealing with for quite some time now.
As for Lazio, Delio Rossi’s squad put an end to a three-match winning streak, but did so by losing with dignity. Despite playing with one man down (after Ledesma’s red card in the 66th), the Biancocelesti held tight all the way till the end.
(From Gazzetta): This derby was one of remembrance, from Gabriele Sandri (the Lazio fan accidentally shot by a policeman last year) to Simone, a 13 year-old run over by a tree last week and a big Roma fan, remembered today with a banner at center-half.
Tactics-wise, Giallorossi coach Luciano Spalletti kept Taddei on the bench and opted for a diamond-shaped line-up, placing Julio Baptista right behind the Totti-Vucinic pair. Not the usual 4-2-3-2 formation, since both Pizarro and Aquilani were unavailable. De Rossi, with protective gear on his injured arm, joined Doni on the pitch, who replaced his headgear with a flashy bandage. On the other end, Lazio manager Delio Rossi did not have choice limitations and opted for a powerful trio, Pandev-Rocchi-Zarate, with Mauri to provide support in midfield.
Roma started the match with more initiative, with Baptista looking for inspiration aided by Totti and Vucinic, the latter often drifting towards the left wing and looking for playable passes. Roma were very balanced in defence, with Juan and Panucci always keeping an eye on Rocchi & Zarate respectively, even though “Old Man River” never missed a chance to execute one of his trademark runs down the right side of the field.
Precisely on one of these runs, the 35-year-old defender managed to create the first scoring chance in the 19th minute: Mirko Vucinic met his cross with an accurate header, but Carrizo sprung off his line to deflect it wide. On the ensuing corner kick, Perrotta tried to shoot from the distance, and the ball eventually arrived to Philippe Mexes: the French center-back was in good position to finish, but a well-placed Sebastiano Siviglia was there to neutralize the danger.
Lazio’s response was almost immediate: Stephan Lichtsteiner(this season’s right-back surprise, so much so it relegated a certain Lorenzo De Silvestri to the bench) crossed to Mauro Zarate on the second post, but the Argentine’s header was off by a couple of steps. But speaking of Zarate, the Biancocelesti’s capocannoniere was his team’s most active player thus far, especially since Pandev was not exactly inspired today and Rocchi was contained by the Giallorossi’s midfield pair. 0-0 at the break.
At the restart however, Roma took matters into their own hands almost right away: in the 50th minute, a Totti cross from the left wing found the noggin of Julio Baptista, and “The Beast” put both accuracy and power into display. A unstoppable ball trajectory for Juan Pablo Carrizo, who could only pick the ball up from his own net. 1-0 Roma
Lazio could have tied the game shortly after however, when and Doni-Mexes mix-up resulted in a good chance for Zarate, but the Roma keeper made up for his mistake with a great save. Down the other end, the goal had given Julio Baptista some wings because the strong Brazilian became the point of reference for all of Roma’s subsequent moves. So much so in fact, that in the 66th minute Ledesma could only stop him with a foul, earning his second booking of the night and leaving Lazio with ten men on the pitch.
Still confident with his “tridente” formation Delio Rossi pushed his boys to the equalizer, which they almost obtained through Pandev (hard mid-range shot) and Rocchi (curling right-footed effort). Both shots were off by a matter of centimetres. Lazio poured themselves onto attack and continued to get chances to score, but Roma held on tight, timidly trying to counterattack through Jeremy Menez in particular (on for Totti). It was however Lazio, lead by Zarate, that multiplied their dangerous incursions, eventually leading to Simone Perrotta earning his second yellow of the night with 5 minutes to go.
The Giallorossi’s fortress did not succumb however, and Roma could finally celebrate a victory after a draught of five matches. Luciano Spalletti can breathe again: his team’s problems are far from over, but a derby victory can do wonders to appease the temper of angry presidents (and fans!).
|GOALSCORERS: 50’ J.Baptista (R).
| ROMA (4-3-1-2): Doni – Panucci (78’ Cassetti), Mexès, Juan, Tonetto – Perrotta, De Rossi, Brighi – J.Baptista – Totti (76’ Menez), Vucinic (89’ Taddei). (bench: Arthur, Cicinho, Riise, Montella). Coach: Spalletti/
| LAZIO (4-3-3): Carrizo – Lichsteiner, Siviglia, Rozehnal, Radu – Brocchi (81’ Dabo), Ledesma, Mauri (60’ Meghni) – Pandev, Rocchi (84’ S.Inzaghi), Zarate. (bench: Muslera, Cribari, Kolarov, Foggia). Coach: D.Rossi.