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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Lightning start shocks Roma and helps Lazio to record derby win

Updated: Apr 4

Game 31, Serie A

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Roma 4-2

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

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-Mauro 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 Francelino 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 Stephan Lichtsteiner 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



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