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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Di Canio ends 10 year wait for derby triumph

Updated: Feb 7

Game 13, Serie A

Sunday, January 15, 1989

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Roma 1-0

Young Lazio player and boyhood fan gives underdogs Lazio fantastic derby glory and a whole generation a new ecstatic experience, a victory over hated city rivals.

Source Wikipedia

A mild, sunny January day in Rome welcomed the two teams out for the "derby capitolino". The stadium was under renovation for Italia '90 so not a massive crowd but the Curva Nord was absolutely packed.

Lazio were without Stefano Martina, Claudio Sclosa, Angelo Gregucci while Antonio Rizzolo was on the bench. Roma were missing Lionello Manfredonia (the former Lazio star who had controversially joined Roma via Juventus).

Roma may have been clear favourites before the game but right from the start the pitch told of a clear dominance by Lazio. The Biancocelesti were quicker, solid in defence, sharp on the break and used highly effective pressing. Lazio took control of the midfield especially with Gabriele Pin, assisted by Andrea Icardi and Paolo Beruatto, while Ruben Sosa was rampant on the left wing. Lazio were tactically perfect.

Lazio's superiority was rewarded after 25 minutes. Antonio Acerbis pushed the ball to Sosa who went down the left flank and pulled an inviting medium height pass across the area. It went behind the off-guard Roma defence and was met by Paolo Di Canio who, without thinking twice, drilled a powerful low shot into the right-hand corner. The Roma keeper Franco Tancredi had no chance and the intensity of the roar from the Lazio end has rarely been heard since. Ten years of frustration and disappointment spilled out from the Lazio faithful.

Paolo Di Canio, a local lad and Lazio fan, enjoyed it too. He continued his run towards the curva sud (the most passionate sector of Roma fans) and with his arm in the air pointed his index finger at the romanisti, almost as his boyhood idol "Long John" Chinaglia had done many years before.

Lazio almost made it 2-0 three minutes later when a Beruatto shot shaved the top hand corner. Roma were sluggish and confused, their only attempt was a header by Renato well over the bar. So, half time came and Lazio were unexpectedly but thoroughly deservedly 1-0 up.

The second half started with Roma having made a change, on came Bruno Conti (world champion in '82) and off went a comatose Renato.

Roma immediately proved livelier with Conti who almost scored straight from a corner, his venomous left footed cross put Valerio Fiori in serious trouble. The diminutive Italian winger then teed up Rudi Voeller in the 57th minute but his effort was weak and easily saved by the Lazio keeper.

Lazio meanwhile were not mere bystanders. Every counterattack was a danger for Roma. Lazio had several chances on the break to finish the Giallorossi off but wrong choices or mistimed last touches kept Roma in it. On one counterattack in the 77th minute, Lazio came particularly close when something between a shot and a cross by Di Canio reached Gustavo Dezotti in front of goal but the Argentine, slightly late for the ball, hit the outside of the post.

One minute later it was Roma's turn to hit the woodwork. On a Stefano Desideri corner German striker Vöeller hit the crossbar with a well-timed header.

Lazio had another opportunity in the 84th minute when Dezotti freed Massimo Piscedda but his strike was blocked by Tancredi.

That was the last bit of excitement of the match and the final whistle gave way to wild celebrations by Lazio players and fans alike. Final score Lazio 1- Roma 0 and after ten long years the derby belonged to the light blue and white side of the Tiber.

It was a well deserved win for Lazio. They had more belief, more energy and more goal scoring chances plus the not so minor detail of actually having scored one.

Paolo Di Canio was the hero of the day. A local 20-year-old Lazio fan from a family of Roma fans...he and all Lazio supporters were in heaven.

Celebrations went on until the early hours, including mine. I was 21 and had not won a derby since I was 11, let's just say the beers were flowing and I did not see much of the following day, apart from Di Canio's goal on the evening news.

Who played for Lazio

Fiori, Monti, Beruatto, Pin, Marino, Piscedda, Dezotti (90' Greco), Icardi, Di Canio, Acerbis, Sosa (87' Muro)

Substitutes: Bastianelli, Di Loreto, Rizzolo

Manager: Materazzi 

Who played for Roma

Tancredi, Tempestilli, Nela, Massaro, E.Oddi (82' Gerolin), Collovati, Renato (46' Conti), Desideri, Vöeller, Giannini, Policano

Substitutes: Peruzzi, Andrade, Rizzitelli

Manager: Liedholm

Referee: D'Elia

Goal: 25' Di Canio



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