Lazio hit back to defeat bitter rivals Roma in an incident-packed Serie A Rome derby at the Stadio Olimpico, played in torrential rain.
Roma dominated the early exchanges, with Erik Lamela heading them into a deserved lead, but as the rain began to fall more heavily and conditions became treacherous, Lazio took control and went in at half-time with a 2-1 lead.
Antonio Candreva and Miroslav Klose put Lazio in the ascendancy and Roma’s hopes were virtually dashed as Daniele De Rossi was sent-off on the stroke of half-time for hitting out at Stefano Mauri.
Mauri further increased Lazio’s lead before being sent-off himself late on after picking up a second yellow card for hand ball. There was still time for Miralem Pjanic to lob a stunning free-kick over Federico Marchetti to set up a tense finish, but Roma held on.
Ederson and Giuseppe Sculli were the only absentees for Lazio. Klose led the attack, with support from Hernanes, Mauri and Candreva.
Roma made one change with De Rossi coming into midfield in place of Panagiotis Tachtsidis. In a typically attacking Zdenek Zeman line-up, Francesco Totti, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Lamella featured in a three-pronged attack.
Roma came out of the blocks fast and took the lead after a four-minute delay which saw some of the stadium’s floodlights go out.
The Argentine youngster rose to head in a corner from Totti, although there appeared to be a push by the former River Plate player on Senad Lulic.
A rampant Roma side almost took a two-goal lead with Totti’s fierce drive across the area beaten away by Marchetti in the Lazio goal.
The rain continued to teem down, with conditions becoming treacherous and the ball holding up on the turf.
Lazio began to gain a foothold in the game, with Hernanes, quiet in the opening 20 minutes, coming to the fore. It was from the Brazilian’s left wing cross that Abdoulay Konko headed just over the bar.
A swift Lazio break resulted in Klose firing just over, but the Biancocelesti did not have to wait long for their equaliser.
Hernanes was fouled some distance from goal and Candreva lashed home a fierce free-kick that will go down as a Mauro Goicoechea mistake, the Uruguayan flapping badly at the set-piece.
Lazio continued to take the game to their bitter rivals and took the lead just before half-time.
A brilliant run from the increasingly influential Hernanes took the Brazilian to the edge of the area where he crossed for Klose who clinically dispatched from close-range for his first goal in the derby.
Roma were looking increasingly vulnerable and a moment of madness from De Rossi all but killed off their hopes before half-time. The influential midfielder, who has seen himself dropped by Zeman on a number of occasions this season, was given a straight red card for hitting Mauri in the area.
Lazio extended their lead moments after the break when Mauri latched onto a terrible header across the area from Ivan Piris before giving Goicoechea no chance with his finish.
Goicoechea had to adjust his positioning to make a smart save from Hernanes as Lazio threatened to run riot.
Roma showed few signs of life at two goals and a man down, although Osvaldo may reflect that he should have done better than head a Totti corner over with a clear sight of goal.
Complacency crept in to some of the Lazio players although even after Mauri’s harsh second yellow card for blocking a Michael Bradley pass with the top of his arm, a comeback never looked on.
That was until substitute Miralem Pjanic set up a tense finish after catching Marchetti off guard with a beautiful driven free-kick from long range.
Substitute Marquinho fired a terrific chance wide at the back post as he made contact with a glorious long ball from Bradley in injury time but Lazio held on to win the 139th Derby della Capitale.
- Sports & Recreation
- Stefano Mauri