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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

April 11, 2009: Lazio Roma 4-2

Updated: Apr 11

Lightning start shocks Roma and helps Lazio to record derby win

Two goals in the first five minutes stun Roma who attempt a comeback but Lazio resist and then change gear to clinch a tense derby

Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins

The season so far

Lazio had finished 12th the previous season under manager Delio Rossi and participated in the Champions League after a four-year absence. Both derbies ended 3-2 with a victory apiece.

Delio Rossi was kept on this year but there had been some important changes to the squad. The Argentinian goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo had finally arrived (River Plate). In defence Swiss full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner had been added (Lille) while in midfield Cristian Brocchi (Milan) and Francelino Matuzalem (Real Zaragoza-loan) had arrived. In attack Lazio welcomed Libor Kozak (Opava) and Mauro Zarate (Al -Sadd). Several players were also back from loan spells: Simone Inzaghi, Pasquale Foggia and Stephan Makinwa (then offloaded to Chievo in the winter).

Leaving were well serving scudetto hero Marco Ballotta (retired) and defender Luciano Zauri (Fiorentina) plus midfielders Roberto Baronio (Brescia-loan), derby hero Valon Behrami (West-Ham United) and popular Gaby Mudingayi (Bologna). Forward Rolando Bianchi returned to Manchester City after his loan, Massimo Mutarelli left as a free agent while Igli Tare retired (but he would be back in another role).

The season was not a vintage one so far. Despite winning the first two games Lazio lay 9th in the table. The Biancocelesti had won 12, drawn 5 and lost 13 (including the first derby 1-0). They were also coming into today's derby following three consecutive defeats (Chievo, Catania, Siena).

Things had gone better in the Coppa Italia. Lazio had eliminated Benevento 5-1, Atalanta 2-0, Milan away 2-1 and Torino 3-1. They were now in the semi-final and had beaten Juventus in the first leg at home 2-1. The second leg in Turin was scheduled for April 22.

Roma were a competitive side in this period. The previous season they had finished 2nd under Luciano Spalletti. They had won the Coppa Italia in May (Inter 2-1) but lost the Supercoppa in August (Inter on penalties).

This year Spalletti was still on the bench and there had not been many changes to the squad. Roma had signed Norwegian defender John Arne Riise (Liverpool) and striker Julio Baptista (Real Madrid) while forward Vincenzo Montella was back from a loan period (Sampdoria). In the winter session the Giallorossi had added defender Marco Motta (Udinese-loan).

Leaving were defender Matteo Ferrari (free agent) and two midfielders, Ludovic Giuly (P.S.G) and Brazilian Mancini (Inter).

After a poor start in the league, with six defeats in the first eleven matches, Roma had picked up after winning the derby 1-0 in November. They had started winning matches and climbed up the table. They had recently slowed down slightly and were now in 6th place just off the Champions League slots. A week earlier they had beaten Bologna 2-1. So far, they had won 14, drawn 7 and lost 9.

In the current Champions League, they had got through the first round; Cluj (2-1,3-1), Bordeaux (3-1,2-0) and Chelsea (0-1,3-1) but then been knocked out by Arsenal on penalties, 7-6 after two 1-0's. The final Roma penalty by Max Tonetto, is still a candidate for the worst in history.

The match: Saturday, April 11, 2009, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

It was a hot in Rome on derby day, despite only being mid-April. It was also heated around the ground with clashes between the opposing Ultras groups with several arrests.

Inside the stadium passions and adrenaline ran high with a 60,000 crowd but fortunately things remained under control. Lazio had two special fans present today; Scudetto captain Pino Wilson was in the Curva Nord while the unforgettable Marcelo "Matador" Salas was in the grandstand. A minute's silence was observed just before kick-off in tribute to the victims of the recent Abruzzo earthquake.

Lazio came from three consecutive defeats and a regrouping/ punishment training camp in Norcia midweek. Roma were just off the Champions League places. Roma were favourites but Lazio were desperate for a win to turn their season around.

There were no major surprises in the starting line-ups, Lazio went for Goran Pandev-Zarate up front and Pasquale Foggia in midfield rather than Stefano Mauri. Roma had Francesco Totti-Baptista up front and chose David Pizarro and Simone Perrotta in midfield over Jeremy Menez and Rodrigo Taddei.

Lazio came out stronger and immediately forced a corner (contested by Roma who claimed the last touch was off a "Laziale"). Anyway, Cristian Brocchi took it quickly and put in a cross to the far post where Pandev volleyed a left-footed shot into the opposite corner. A dream start for Lazio, who had not scored a goal for almost 300 minutes, Lazio 1 Roma 0.

The Giallorossi were stunned but barely had time to regroup before Lazio scored again. A throw in reached Zarate about 7-8 metres from the area, the Argentine slalomed his way towards the box and from just outside the left vertex sent a brilliant shot into the opposite corner. Lazio 2 Roma 0 with only four minutes gone. Both sets of fans looked shocked albeit for different reasons. No-one could remember a first derby five minutes like this. Too good /bad to be true.

Roma gradually got over the double sucker punch and started to take control of the midfield, also helped by Lazio seemingly, and understandably, resting on their laurels for the moment.

In the 10th minute a Baptista header from a corner was slapped away by Fernando Muslera but Philippe Mexes was there to slot in the rebound. Roma straight back in it, Lazio 2 Roma 1. Game on.

Roma, suddenly awakened from their nightmare, continued to attack. Baptista hit a post and Daniele De Rossi was just out of position for the tap in. Then Matteo Brighi tried his luck from the long range but his effort was cleared off the line into corner by Matuzalem. Lazio tried to relieve the pressure on the break but Pandev and Zarate were too isolated up front. Lazio's main chance came just before halftime with a Cristian Ledesma free kick which went just wide. At the break Lazio 2 Roma 1.

Both sides had reasons to be satisfied; Lazio were winning and Roma were back in it after a hellish start.

The second half started without manager Spalletti on the Roma bench. The mystery was later resolved on hearing he and Lazio's Sporting Director Igli Tare had a heavy divergence of opinion in the tunnel and were both sent off, or rather not sent back on, derby stuff.

The second half got under way and one expected Roma to continue pushing and show a certain superiority, but this was not the case. Lazio obviously realised that merely defending the result was highly impractical and a tactical suicide, so they changed plan.

Lazio were suddenly more aggressive and present in Roma's half. In the 55th minute the Giallorossi replaced Perrotta with more offensive Menez and this gave Lazio more space in midfield. In the 56th minute a perfectly orchestrated counter foot put Pandev clean through but his shot was saved by Doni. In the 58th minute dribble maniac Foggia sent Roma mad with his tricks before putting a precise cross in from the by-line, it reached Lichsteiner who soared up to head in Lazio's third. Lazio 3 Roma 1. Lichtsteiner then continued his run to the Curva Nord, both crazy with joy.

A few minutes later Panucci and the Swiss were both booked for arguing but the Roma defender was already on a yellow so he was given his marching orders. Meanwhile, in the 65th minute, Lazio replaced Zarate with Tommaso Rocchi and Roma Brighi with Tonetto. The game got increasingly dirty and in the 75th minute there were two more red cards for Lazio's Matuzalem and Roma's Mexes after almost a mass brawl.

The game regained some technical significance in the 80th minute when Roma pulled a goal back. A free kick by Pizarro was headed in by De Rossi. Lazio 3 Roma 2. A tense last ten minutes for Lazio and hope for Roma despite their numerical inferiority.

The suspense however only lasted five minutes. In the 85th minute Lazio closed out the contest. Alexsandar Kolarov got the ball straight from Muslera in his own half and burst forward, passing first one tired opponent, then two, three, four before reaching the edge of the box and sending a not particularly powerful but extremely accurate low shot into the corner of the net. Lazio 4 Roma 2. No coming back now, not even for the "Magica".

It had been both intense and tense with several players and staff going overboard but that's what the "Derby of the Capital" does to those taking part, on and off the field. After the match there were more violent clashes between the organised fan groups but luckily without serious consequences.

A record four goals in a league derby for Lazio and a record 12th derby defeat for Totti (there would be more ... and to be fair also some wins for the "Pupone"). Pandev's goal was the second quickest in derby history after Lazio’s Sentimenti III in 1951.

Records apart a great derby victory for Lazio after a disappointing season so far, while Roma's Champions League hopes suffered a severe setback.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Carrizo, Diakité, Dabo, Meghni

Manager: D. Rossi

Who played for Roma

Doni, Motta, Mexes, Panucci, Riise, Brighi, (65' Tonetto), De Rossi, Pizarro (89' Taddei), Perrotta (55' Menez), Julio Baptista, Totti

Substitutes: Artur, Loria, Diamoutene, Cassetti

Manager: Spalletti

Referee: Morganti

Goals: 2' Pandev, 4' Zarate, 10' Mexes, 58' Lichtsteiner, 80' De Rossi, 85' Kolarov

What happened next

The derby euphoria carried Lazio to victory in their next match, 1-0 away at Genoa, but then they returned to poor form with four consecutive defeats. They ended up 10th in Serie A after 15 wins, 5 draws and 18 defeats. Top scorer was Zárate with 16 (13 in the league).

In the Coppa Italia things definitely went better. In the return semi-final, in Turin against Juventus, Lazio again won 2-1 with goals by Zárate and Kolarov (Alessandro Del Piero for the "Old Lady").

The final was in Rome, on May 13, versus Sampdoria. The 90 minutes and extra time ended 1-1 (Zárate, Pazzini). The penalty shoot-out seemed endless but eventually Lazio triumphed 7-6 with Ousmane Dabo firing home the winner after Muslera had saved two by the Blucerchiati (Antonio Cassano and Hugo Campagnaro).

So, after a disappointing campaign in the league, 2009 ended in grand style with the Biancocelesti lifting their fifth Coppa Italia. With this win they also qualified for the Europa League and would play Inter in the Supercoppa Final in August.

Roma mustered up some energy to beat Lecce 3-2 the following week but then fell to a heavy 4-1 defeat in Florence. They then drew the next two but managed to win the last three, so finally ended up 6th. They qualified for the Europa League after 18 wins, 9 draws and 11 defeats. Top scorer was Mirko Vuçinić with 17 in total, while top league scorer was Totti with 13.

Lazio 2008-09






Goals scored

Serie A






Coppa Italia












Top five appearances



Serie A

Coppa Italia





















Top goal scorers



Serie A

Coppa Italia













Let's talk about Mauro Zárate

Mauro Zárate was born in Buenos Aires, on March 13, 1987. He is known as Zárate Kid.

He was destined to become a footballer as it ran in the family. His Chilean grandfather had played and Mauro's father Sergio had played for Independiente. Zarate also has four brothers and three played football (one, Sergio, had a brief spell with Ancona).

He started his career in the Vélez Sarsfield youth sector and then went on to play for the first team. Between 2003 and 2007 he played 75 league games with 22 goals. The "El Fortín" won the Clausura tournament in 2005.

In June 2007 he made a surprise move to Al-Sadd. The Qatari club paid 20 million dollars for him. However, he did not settle in Doha and only played 6 games with 4 goals.

In January 2008 he moved to Birmingham City, on loan, in the Premier League. He made 14 appearances with 4 goals but his positive performances were not enough to avoid the Blues relegation.

In July 2008 he joined Lazio in Serie A, initially on loan but with an option to buy agreement at 17 million Euros. He made a dream debut for Lazio, scoring a brace against Cagliari. He had a good first season under Delio Rossi, playing 41 games and scoring 16 goals (13 in the league). He scored in a 4-2 derby triumph and his goals helped Lazio lift the Coppa Italia. He scored against Juventus in the semi-final and again in the final (plus in the penalty shoot-out).

In his second year he played regularly, getting 42 games but scored less. In Serie A he netted only 3 times (Parma home and away, Palermo) and another 4 in Europa League (Elfsborg, Levski Sofia, Vilareal home and away). It was a difficult season for Lazio. After a dream start winning the Italian Supercoppa, 2-1 against Mourinho's Inter, things started going badly. After 25 games manager Davide Ballardini was replaced by Edy Reja with Lazio in the relegation battle but then they finally managed to avoid the drop.

The following year Edy Reja stayed on and Zarate started scoring more. He played 35 league games with 9 goals (Chievo, Napoli, Inter, Juve, Cesena, Catania, Inter, Lecce x 2) plus 1 game in Coppa Italia. Lazio finished a positive 5th qualifying for the Europa League.

After three seasons with Lazio, Zárate went to Inter on loan with an option to buy the following year. In his contract he also had a clause of 15,000 Euros per assist. His time in Milan however was not a success, he played a total of 32 games but only scored 3 goals (2 in Serie A and 1 in Champions League). Inter decided not to sign him at the end of the season and he returned to Lazio.

At Lazio he found a new manager, Vladimir Petkovic. Zarate had only played 7 games (1 in Serie A) with 1 goal (Mura in Europa League) when his relationship with the club soured. In December Zárate refused the call up for the game against Inter and was permanently excluded from the squad. There followed a court case and he never played for Lazio again.

In the summer of 2013, he returned to Argentina and re-joined Vélez Sarsfield. He stayed a year and rediscovered his goal scoring abilities with 19 goals in 36 games (in all competitions). He won the Argentine Super Cup beating Arsenal de Sarandi and was top scorer in the league with 13 goals.

In 2014 he was back in Europe. He joined West-Ham United in the Premier League. He signed a three-year contract with the Hammers but after only 8 appearances and 2 goals, in January 2015, he went across London to Queens Park Rangers. The team from Shepherds Bush however, were relegated and, after only 4 goalless games, Zarate returned to Upton Park, but he would not stay long. In January 2015, after another 21 games with 5 goals for the Claret and Blues, he returned to Serie A.

He played two half seasons for Fiorentina playing a total of 26 games with 7 goals.

In January 2017 he was back in England and signed for Watford in the Premier League. His period with the Hornets was unlucky and in only his third game he suffered a serious knee injury which ended his season.

In 2017 he joined Al-Nassr (Cristiano Ronaldo' current club in Saudi Arabia) on loan. They were coached by Italian Cesare Prandelli. Zarate played 8 games with 3 goals.

In January 2018 he returned to Argentina for good. First at old club Vélez Sarsfield (13 games-8 goals) and then at Boca Juniors for three seasons (87 games-20 goals). With Boca he won the league in 2019-20 the Supercopa Argentina in 2018.

In 2021 he had a brief spell in Brazil with América-MG (16 games -1 goal) and the Juventude before returning to Argentina in May 2022 and joining Platense.

On January 31, 2023 he signed for Cosenza in Serie B but after just three games he got seriously injured and was be out for the rest of the season. He now plays for Danubio Fútbol Club in Uruguay.

At international level he won an U20's World Cup in Canada in 2007.

Mauro Zárate is an extremely skilful player. He is versatile and can play in various forward roles and even behind the strikers. He possesses exceptional dribbling abilities (which he sometimes abuses) and can shoot with both feet. With his talent he could have done more with his career and his peak was probably at Lazio.

At Lazio, at one point he looked outstanding. In his first year especially, it seemed he was or could become one of the best players in Europe. Some of his goals were superb, in particular his curling shots after dazzling dribbling movements. At Lazio he was immensely popular and known as Maurito, before things went wrong. However, his curler against Roma, his goals in the Coppa Italia and his penalty in the final shoot-out can never be cancelled. He has admitted since that he should never have left Lazio but he did and has left regrets here too but also great moments.

Lazio career


Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa


41 (16)

36 (13)

5 (3)




42 (8)

32 (3)

2 (1)

7 (4)



36 (9)

35 (9)





7 (1)



6 (1)



126 (34)

104 (25)

8 (4)

13 (5)




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