Serie A Week 21 - 26 Jan 2020 (17.00 UK)
Roma 1 - 1 Lazio
Dzeko 26 (R), Acerbi 34 (L)
Stadio Olimpico

Edin Dzeko made the most of a goalkeeping error, but Pau Lopez gifted the equaliser with a truly bizarre howler, as Roma end Lazio’s run of 11 straight Serie A wins.

The Aquile went into this showdown as favourites, having won 11 Serie A games in a row, as well as the Italian Super Cup in December and Coppa Italia back in May 2019. Simone Inzaghi also had a full squad to choose from, as Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa returned from injury. Roma, on the other hand, missed Nicolò Zaniolo, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Amadou Diawara, Davide Zappacosta and Mirco Antonucci, with Diego Perotti and Javier Pastore only fit for the bench. Surprisingly, Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov were dropped in favour of Davide Santon and Leonardo Spinazzola.

It was an aggressive Roma start with Cengiz Under efforts charged down, but Chris Smalling showed good pace to keep up with Ciro Immobile and tackle him cleanly one-on-one.

Francesco Acerbi needed an acrobatic interception to hook away Santon’s cross with Edin Dzeko ready to tap in, but Roma eventually broke through.

A hopeful Bryan Cristante ball over the top seemed simple, but Thomas Strakosha mistimed the punch, collided with his own players and Dzeko did brilliantly to sense where the open goal was, nodding it backwards.

Moments later, it was almost 2-0, as both Cengiz Under and Dzeko attempts were charged down by desperate defending.

Under was running riot down the Roma right, his roll across for Justin Kluivert crucially intercepted at the last second by Luiz Felipe.

However, Lazio were gifted an equaliser thanks to some astonishing goalkeeping, which made Strakosha’s error seem quaint. A corner was nodded on by Santon at the back post, but Pau Lopez punched it straight up into the air, then tried to flap it off the underside of the bar off Smalling’s head, until Acerbi finally tapped in the loose ball from a yard.

Lorenzo Pellegrini thought he’d restored their lead on the stroke of half-time with a sudden right-foot curler out of nowhere from 20 metres, but it swerved around Strakosha to thump the far post.

Luiz Felipe was booked, so Simone Inzaghi replaced him with Patric for the restart. Jordan Veretout drilled just wide from a Leonardo Spinazzola cross, then Cengiz Under got away from the right with a marvellous bit of footwork, rolling in for Justin Kluivert, who went down in a collision with Patric.

The referee awarded a penalty on 51 minutes, but then changed his mind after the on-field VAR review, because it was Kluivert who ran into Patric, the defender never even looking at his opponent.

Smalling was again excellent, getting his body and face in the way of a Joaquin Correa run and shot, then Strakosha almost gifted another goal with a poor punch, but made up for it by saving the Dzeko follow-up from close range.

Kluivert fired another good opportunity wide from the D, while Luis Alberto was furious at his substitution, shouting and throwing things on the bench.

Cengiz Under was by far Roma’s liveliest player, his run forcing a block, then Dzeko’s follow-up saved by Strakosha. Dzeko hit a header straight at Strakosha, then Sergej Milinkovic-Savic drilled wide on an Immobile knock-back.

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Roma: Pau Lopez; Santon (Kolarov 83), Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Cristante, Veretout; Under, Pellegrini, Kluivert (Perotti 81); Dzeko
Lazio: Strakosha; Luiz Felipe (Patric 46), Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Luis Alberto (Parolo 70), Lulic; Correa (Caicedo 76); Immobile
Ref: Calvarese