Monday January 27 2020
Capital gains

The Derby della Capitale ended in a draw, so Giancarlo Rinaldi believes both Roma and Lazio can take positives from the performance as well as a point each.

The highways and byways of Italian football are littered with the form books which pundits reckon we are best to throw out of the window ahead of every derby. However, we students of Calcio history know exactly which one the big four cross-city clashes in Serie A produces the highest percentage of draws. In Rome - more than Turin, Genoa or Milan - we have learned down the years that our post-match analysis will often be in assessing who the moral victors were when the honours on the field of play have ended up even.

In this, if nothing else, the weekend’s Derby della Capitale was gloriously predictable. The result was in doubt until the final whistle, as both teams did their best to secure three points which would have served their purposes much more. But, as the clash concluded, we were left to weigh up who had the most cause for regret at not having grabbed the win which would have allowed bragging rights in the bars of the city on Monday morning.

The answer to that question - to these eyes anyway - was probably Roma. The Giallorossi were on the front foot for more of the match and, having come into the clash as underdogs, appeared to do more to earn a victory. You could argue, of course, that as their “home” game it was only right that this should be the case.

Yet they went into the match playing down their chances and sitting seven points behind their most bitter rivals, having played a game more. The mood music was almost that of acceptance that Lazio were much further down the road towards becoming the finished article. Thankfully for their fans, there was no such supine statement from the team that went out onto the pitch.

Paulo Fonseca shuffled his pack a little, with the choice of Leonardo Spinazzola over Aleksandar Kolarov the most hotly discussed move. Controversial as it might have been, however, it proved to work well as Roma took the initiative and were able to push Manuel Lazzari into the much more uncomfortable role of defending rather than teasing his opposite number.

With Cengiz Under also on one of his more positive days, it felt like the Giallorossi deserved their lead when it eventually came - courtesy of Edin Dzeko, of course. It was hard not to have a few doubts over Thomas Strakosha’s attempted intervention too.

That stunned Simone Inzaghi’s side and they seemed to struggle to shake off the shock until an even more questionable piece of goalkeeping threw them a lifeline. Pau Lopez, who has had a fine season, blotted his copybook in one of his biggest matches with a mis-judgement that allowed Francesco Acerbi to equalise. As half-time rolled around, there was definitely a feeling that Lazio had more reasons to be happy with the scoreline.

The second half was a more combative affair with a penalty given to Roma but then ruled out - correctly it seemed - via VAR. From a spectacle point of view, it might have been better if it had been allowed to stand, but the decision looked the right one. Neither side could break the deadlock in the end and allow themselves to pursue their respective league targets with greater gusto.

As we mulled over the game with our post-match digestivo, it felt like we had witnessed a decent clash between two good sides, neither of which is entirely sure exactly how good it might be. For Lazio, this was a step backwards in performance from some of the scintillating stuff they have produced this term. The window to become Juve’s biggest rivals for the Scudetto had been left open, but they decided to walk past it - for now at least.

As for Roma, they had belied the pre-match chat of being so far behind their city rivals with a largely convincing display. This was another move towards finding a definite identity to their play, but there was a sensation that they did not quite have the self-belief to go and grab an emphatic win. That, too, can still come with time.

Indeed, while city cousins will fight over who had most right to celebrate at full-time, the rest of us could nod in appreciation at two of Serie A’s finer outfits. Lazio have clearly got a bigger and more impressive recent body of work behind them, but their most bitter rivals also appear to be heading in the right direction.

The result may have been a very familiar one, but this Derby della Capitale was one which underlined that both occupants of the Stadio Olimpico have plenty going for them these days.

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Have your say...
roma was the better team for sure - no problem admitting that. Fonsecas tacticks worked well and Lazio didnt perform at all.

But good to see that even if roma had their performance of the season, and Lazio at their worst roma still only manage to score one goal (wich was an big Strakosha error).
on the 29th January, 2020 at 2:50pm
Roma is a good football club that has at times suffered from a lack of discipline that Fonseca is trying to apply. When they display mental toughness and patience they can be dynamic, their inconsistency is their weakness. In the Darby they played to their strenghts(w/oZaniolo) and should have won.
Lazio has been tentative of late, seemingly lacking the confidence they displayed in prior weeks. Lazio must embrace what catapulted up the table: Fearless attcking football led by Ciro Immobile.
on the 28th January, 2020 at 4:52pm
Dont forget to give credit to referee and VAR for (once again) prevent ROMA for clearly WINNING the game.

Bravo, serie-A!!!! bravo...
on the 28th January, 2020 at 5:30am
Roma were by far the better side as all Lazio did was sit back absorb pressure and try to counter (badly). At least the tempo of the game was good if not the lack of genuine quality. I have not seen Roma week in week out so I might be harsh but I do not see what Veretout brings to the table. Justin Kluivert is just pace and nothing else. Fonseca did well to match Lazio by placing pacy players ahead of experienced ones. I still trying to fathom what Pau Lopez was trying to do.
on the 27th January, 2020 at 3:34pm
Inter should try to sign Smalling from Man Utd, now that he has Seria A experience and relations are good with M Utd.
on the 27th January, 2020 at 11:36am
This is not written well. Yesterday there was just one team playing football and, sadly, not won.

One of the best AS ROMA performances. I am very sad, we did not win.
on the 27th January, 2020 at 8:56am

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