Federico Balzaretti was moved to tears after scoring the Rome Derby winner, allowing Roma to take revenge on 10-man Lazio.
The Derby della Capitale is always a tense affair, but rarely more than this just months after Lazio won the Coppa Italia Final. Much has changed since then, as Roma had a 100 per cent Serie A record under Rudi Garcia, starting Gervinho with homegrown Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi. Michael Bradley and Mattia Destro missed out with Adem Ljajic only fit for the bench. Lazio were without Lucas Biglia, Stefan Radu, Giuseppe Biava, Bruno Pereirinha and the suspended Stefano Mauri.
Incredibly, the two sets of fans had done battle all summer with planes flying insulting messages across the sky over the city. Lazio fans protested against a ban on their planned choreography by leaving the Curva Nord empty for the opening two minutes save for a banner: ‘Ah, I forgot, it’s the ‘memorial’ derby. I’ll finish my beer first...’
Daniele De Rossi drilled over the bar from distance, but Gervinho should’ve scored on the half-hour when he got on the end of a Francesco Totti free kick at the back post, his header into the ground bouncing back over.
Antonio Candreva cut in from the left to blast off target and Miralem Pjanic couldn’t quite get on the end of a scuffed Florenzi effort.
Lazio had the best chance of the game so far after the restart, as Michael Ciani’s deflected header from a Hernanes free kick cracked against the crossbar.
All of Roma’s goals this season have been scored in the second half and they did seem more lively, especially after introducing Adem Ljajic. Daniele De Rossi’s glancing header skimmed the upright, but moments later Miroslav Klose prodded wide from a couple of yards on Lulic’s cross.
Suddenly a dull and cagey first half made way for a spectacular end-to-end derby. Federico Balzaretti had a great chance when he surprised Pedro Cavanda at the back stick to arrive out of nowhere, but his shot hit the upright!
However, from the resulting corner Balzaretti was again unmarked on Totti’s chipped cross for a wonderful volley from eight yards. The full-back couldn’t believe his first goal for Roma arrived in the Derby della Capitale and was moved to tears.
Federico Marchetti did well to parry a De Rossi header from point-blank range on Totti’s free kick and Lazio threw on striker Sergio Floccari for defender Cavanda.
Gervinho went on the counter past two defenders only to then horribly hoof his finish off target.
Lazio went down to 10 men, as Totti got away from Lorik Cana and Andre Dias felled him with a shoulder-charge. The referee judged it to be a straight red card for a clear scoring opportunity and Dias’ game lasted all of three minutes.
Marchetti palmed a Ljajic free kick out from under the bar, but De Rossi had to scramble back in stoppages for a desperate tackle as Ederson was pulling the trigger inside the area.
Marco Borriello went close in stoppages, but then Cristian Ledesma pulled down Ljajic for a penalty. Ljajic got back up to convert, sending Marchetti the wrong way.
Klose thought he might've got a consolation goal at the death, but was clearly offside.
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Sent off: Andre Dias 81 (L)