Roma were reduced to 10 men after just seven minutes, but made a real scrap of the derby that Lazio won 2-1 amid controversy.
This is always among the most fiery derbies in all of world football, but even more so in a season where it was a head-to-head for European qualification. Luis Enrique had lost his first edition deep into stoppages, so was out for revenge, but was smarting from a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Atalanta. That game also ruled out Daniel Pablo Osvaldo, Fernando Gago and Marco Cassetti through suspension, but Francesco Totti returned from his ban and Daniele De Rossi was allowed back in after punishment for turning up late to a team meeting.
Lazio’s confidence was rock bottom only 10 days ago with Edy Reja handing in his resignation, but the club overcame those difficulties. They still had a huge injury crisis to contend with, missing Senad Lulic, Tommaso Rocchi, Stefan Radu, Abdoullay Konko, Luciano Zauri, Cristian Brocchi, Marius Stankevicius and Lorik Cana. Their last win in a Roma-hosted derby was back in 1997-98.
Francelino Matuzalem had the first shot smothered by Maarten Stekelenburg, but there was already huge controversy after six and a half minutes. Miroslav Klose sprung the offside trap past Juan and burst into the box, where Stekelenburg tried to close him down and caught his ankle. The referee took a moment to consider, but pointed to the spot and showed the red card. It was Roma’s eighth dismissal of the season – more than any other club.
Erik Lamela was replaced on his 20th birthday to allow substitute goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont on to the field. Hernanes coolly sent Lobont the wrong way to give Lazio the lead and celebrated with acrobatic backflips.
Roma equalised in chaotic fashion on 15 minutes. Juan’s rising cross-shot hit the woodwork and went back across to Fabio Borini’s tap-in, and the referee saw correctly that it had already crossed the line before a desperate Giuseppe Biava clearance.
Totti drilled wide from a Jose Angel counter-attack, while a Matuzalem cross-shot whistled across the six-yard box with Stefano Mauri and Klose just unable to get the final touch.
A Totti free kick to the back post failed to find a tap-in from De Rossi at full stretch. Stefano Mauri was booked for simulation, although his shirt was being tugged by Rodrigo Taddei.
Juan reacted to racist jeers from the Lazio fans and his gesture further raised the temperature, as they intensified their insults. A message of warning for those ultras was read over the tannoy system.
Miralem Pjanic limped off to make way for Marquinho, as it was difficult to tell Roma were down to 10 men. Totti threatened to take the lead with a blockbuster from distance that swerved across Marchetti to fly past the far post.
Lazio restored their advantage when a long Cristian Ledesma free kick found Mauri at the back post, as at full stretch he kept the volley down to go across Lobont into the far bottom corner. Mauri was wearing the captain’s armband and making only his fifth Serie A appearance of the season, as he was out for many months following surgery on a torn thigh muscle.
It was so nearly 3-1 for Lazio moments later. A horrible Fabio Simplicio error allowed Hernanes to go one-on-one with Lobont, but Juan got back for an absolutely decisive sliding tackle from behind that took the ball off the Brazilian’s foot.
Lobont punched away an Alejandro Gonzalez snapshot. Juan limped off, so Daniele De Rossi moved to centre-back.
Roma were still in the running and Totti’s diving header whistled just wide of the upright. Lazio also went down to 10 men, as Lionel Scaloni received a second yellow card for hacking down substitute Bojan Krkic.
The Giallorossi were livid when Bojan was booked for simulation, as replays show Biava tripped him just outside the box. Biava was already on a yellow card, so would’ve been off.
Sent off: Stekelenburg 7 (R), Scaloni 86 (L)