The Italian and Spaniard stole the show at the Stadio Olimpico, as the Biancocelesti pulled out an outstanding 3-0 win over their fierce rival Roma.
It was a Derby della Capitale unlike any other, as it was the first to ever be contested on a Friday and behind closed doors. This doesn’t mean there was no passion, on and off the pitch. Fans of both Lazio and Roma escorted the team busses to the stadium amid songs and smoke bombs.
Once on the pitch, however, one had the feeling only one team had shown up.
After just 14 minutes, the right winger Manuel Lazzari stole the ball off Roger Ibanez in the Giallorossi’s penalty area and placed it perfectly for Ciro Immobile who opened the scoring. In the highly charged and tactical battle of rivalry matches, the small details usually do make the difference.
Simone Inzaghi saw Ibanez as a weak link in the opposition for his team to exploit and less than ten minutes later the same plot leaded the designated "home team" to double their lead.
This time around, Lazio also took advantage of Roma’s high defensive line.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic collected the ball in the middle of the pitch, had one look up and spotted Lazzari making the advancing run down the right. Once the sprint between the former Spal winger and Ibanez had started, it was clear there could only be one winner.
The Brazilian possibly fouled the flying winger in the penalty area, nothing was called, but Lazzari got up quickly, spotted an unmarked Luis Alberto who found the net of the goal with a curling effort.
Roma protested as they believed the goal should not have stood due to either a Lazzarri handball or a Felipe Caicedo offside. Neither of which were deemed to be true by the VAR. It would not be a Rome Derby without some controversies, right?
Roma, who are currently third in the standings, had no answers to any of the questions that their arch-rivals were posing. Pau Lopez was being kept very busy in the Roma goal, while his fellow Spaniard Pepe Reina had an unexpectedly quiet night between the Lazio sticks.
It was only a matter of time till the Biancocelesti scored again and, inevitably, Lazzarri and Luis Alberto were once again involved.
The former Spal player made a marauding run through the midfield, passed the ball to Jean-Daniel Akpro who set up Luis Alberto. The former Liverpool burst inside, looked up and thought he'd have a go. It was the correct decision, as his right-footed shot went in off the far post.
There were still 25 minutes to go, but Roma were already despondent, dishevelled and defeated. Edin Dzeko had a point-blank shot saved by Reina who celebrated with the gusto of a striker scoring a 30-yard shot.
The Giallorossi have yet to win a game against a direct Serie A rivals so far this season, while Lazio have had a slow start, but this derby win could turn out being a turning point for them.
Surely, it must be as Simone Inzaghi’s side have no more time to lose if they want to reach a Champions League placement for the second season in a row. Ironically, they'll need to prove they can finish top four by winning against smaller sides in the second part of the Serie A campaign.