Lazio won the Derby of the Posts in Rome, hitting the sticks four times against Roma’s two in a vibrant version of the Italian Capital cross-town battle. The count of goals, however, read 1-1, with Luis Alberto answering to Aleksandar Kolarov, and that is all that matters in the end.
A bizarre Serie A calendar offered the Derby della Capitale in the second round already. Never had a stracittadina of Rome taken place so early in the season, and it ended up with the most frequent result, a 1-1 tie for the 14th time in history.
It was an abnormal derby for many reasons: The first in a long time for the Giallorossi without either Francesco Totti or Daniele De Rossi (Capitan Futuro was actually playing another derby, the Argentinian Superclasico, thousands of kilometers away…). Luckily enough, there was another romano de’ Roma ready to inherit the captain band: Alessandro Florenzi, whom Roma’s new coach Paulo Fonseca deployed in defense to replace Davide Zappacosta after he got injured during warm up.
Fonseca’s Giallorossi once again showed some limits in defense, and the Portuguese’s idea of replacing Juan Jesus with newcomer Gianluca Mancini didn’t work as expected. Winger Justin Kluivert didn’t repay his coach’s trust either, and even Edin Dzeko put together a quite torpid performance. Among the Roma lines, the most dangerous and proactive was Niccolo’ Zaniolo.
Lazio played in a surreal atmosphere, with their hardcore fans from the North Stands remaining silent for the full first half to honor the memory of one of their ultra chiefs, recently killed in what looked like a drug-trafficking-related settlement. Lucas Leiva in midfield was coach Simone Inzaghi’s only change versus the lineup that crushed Sampdoria only a few days earlier.
The 32-year-old Brazilian playmaker, who had missed last week’s opener due to an injury, was the first one to shake the post with a right-foot shot, finalizing an action originating from a corner kick. Niccolo’ Zaniolo replied almost straight away for Roma, making keeper Thomas Strakosha’s left stick rattle just two minutes later.
In the 15th minute, Edin Dzeko’s only flash in the game forced Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to hit the ball with a hand in the box. So evident was the Serbian’s handball, that he didn’t even dare to protest as referee Marco Guida pointed at the penalty spot – a quite exceptional occurrence for an Italian game. His fellow countrymen Aleksandar Kolarov converted the penalty for Roma’s 0-1.
The unexpected disadvantage didn’t bring the Biancocelesti down however, and their top-scorer Ciro Immobile quickly tried to level things up with a twisting header that gave Roma’s new goalie Pau Lopez a chance to show his good reflexes. Lazio’s post-hitting tally raised to three in the space of a couple more minutes, first with a conclusion by Immobile from less than 10 meters, and then via another shot by Joaquin Correa. Niccolo’ Zaniolo reduced the gap for Roma in this very special competition as he hit Strakosha’s post for the second time in the 26th minute.
Lazio’s equalizer originated from a mistake by Aleksandar Kolarov, who suffered Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s pressure in midfield and lost a ball he should have get rid of much faster. Luis Alberto was served by Ciro Immobile to bring the score in balance, and mark his first one in a Derby della Capitale when the clock was striking minute 57.
Pau Lopez eventually saved from Joaquin Correa to prevent Lazio from completing a fast comeback, nullifying a counterattack that had taken Roma’s defense completely by surprise. Then it was time for both coaches to shuffle their cards and throw some different options in the mix: Paulo Fonseca replaced an abulic Cengiz Under with Javier Pastore, whereas Simone Inzaghi resorted to Marco Parolo in place of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Parolo collected Lazio’s fourth post of the day, darting past Andrea Mancini to catch a pass from the left side by Joaquin Correa in the 85th minute, then Manuel Lazzari made the North Stands burst into joy as he made the best out of another suggestion by the Biancocelesti Argentinian forward – only to see his goal disallowed by the referee, who rightly noticed how the ball was already past the end-line before Correa could cross it.
It was a fair conclusion. One goal and one point each for Lazio and Roma, who will be sharing dominance over the Eternal City at least until the second leg match – scheduled for January 26, 2020.
September 1, 2019 – Serie A 2019-2020 Round 2
SCORERS: 17′ Kolarov (R, pen.), 57′ Luis Alberto (L)
|LAZIO (3-5-2): Strakosha; Luiz Felipe (40′ Bastos), Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic (71′ Parolo), Luis Alberto, Lulic (78′ Jony); Immobile, Correa (Proto, Guerrieri, Cataldi, Caicedo, Adekanye, Vavro, Marusic, Berisha, Patric) Coach: Inzaghi|
|ROMA (4-2-3-1): Pau Lopez; Florenzi (88′ Diawara), Fazio, Mancini, Kolarov; Cristante, Pellegrini; Under (67′ Pastore), Zaniolo (79′ Santon), Kluivert; Dzeko (Mirante, Fuzato, Cetin, Smalling, Juan Jesus, Veretout, Antonucci, Schick) Coach: Fonseca|
REFEREE: Mr. Guida from Torre Annunziata
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Luiz Felipe, Immobile, Radu, Acerbi (L), Zaniolo, Florenzi, Santon (R); Extra Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 4′