Round 32 of Serie A was highly anticipated for delivering two big clashes between 4 top clubs. Although it brought a lot of interesting duels, it failed to bring goals. Nothing has changed in the standings considering the race for Champions League football. After Milan drew 0-0 at the San Siro against Napoli, the visitors’ hope of obtaining the Scudetto has diminished, especially after Juventus won against Sampdoria. For Milan, their own hopes of reaching the Champions League spot has also vanished with only 5 games to go and Lazio, Roma, and Inter all still sitting in front of them. The next game that partook Sunday evening was Lazio vs Roma, following suit at the Stadio Olimpico. The great Rome derby known as the Derby della Capitale resulted in a goalless draw as well. 61 points for Lazio and Roma, and 60 for Inter – the Champions League spot is still open for the taking.
I Biancocelesti started the Derby della Capitale brightly well, with a clear intention for a good result that would put the nightmarish night in Salzburg behind them. Roma players were in a completely different mood after their Champions League sensational victory over Barcelona, moving on after defeating them 3-0 (moving away on away goals). However, both sides struggled to impose themselves to the opponent and there were a lot of misguided passes – a clear consequence of the intense midweek European battles.
Simone Inzaghi opted for Felipe Anderson instead of Luis Alberto as the offensive force behind Ciro Immobile. Although the pacey Brazilian played direct and brought the game on La Lupa whenever in possession, the visitors’ back-three defence was too solid for the Laziali. The best opportunity for the hosts came when Sergej Milinković-Savić put through Marco Parolo after one of his clever runs into the box, but the Italian’s first-time shot was poor and proved once again that he’s much more comfortable and dangerous in little spaces.
The best chance of the first half belonged to Roma, however, coming against the run of play. Stefan Radu and Senad Lulić left a bit more space in the left side of Lazio defence and in a blink of an eye, Bruno Peres found himself with just the keeper to beat after a nice through ball. Luckily for Thomas Strakosha and home fans, the Brazilian’s effort ended on the right-hand post of Lazio goal.
Le Aquile applied pressure from the start of the second half, but Roma were resilient. The introduction of Luis Alberto didn’t really improve home team’s fluidity as Inzaghi certainly intended, but Jordan Lukaku, who came on instead of captain Lulić, started causing problems to i Giallorossi down the left side of their defence. He didn’t have much support though, except for Milinković-Savić who grew big as the game went on.
The Serbian’s wonderful lofted ball for Immobile raised the fans on their toes, but league’s leading goalscorer failed to convert, though it wasn’t a clear-cut chance. Immobile didn’t have many chances today, and he tried to make the most of it in the 75th minute when he needlessly dived in the box – to no gain from referee Mazzoleni. It wasn’t Ciro’s day.
In the 80th minute, Stefan Radu tracked back and carelessly brought down Cengiz Under to receive his second yellow. Lazio were now forced to think more of their own goal, but just two minutes later after a good long ball from Lukaku for Milinković-Savić, the Serbian found Lucas Leiva in the box who dropped it for the onrushing Adam Marušić. Unfortunately, the Montenegrian’s shot was deflected just wide by El Shaarawy‘s tackle.
Edin Džeko was kept quiet for almost the entire game, but in the first minute of the added time the tall Bosnian sent two powerful headers towards Lazio’s goal in the space of 30 seconds. The first was magnificently saved by Strakosha, and the other smashed against the crossbar.
In the end, it wasn’t a much desired win for the Laziali, but a solid and full-hearted performance should regain confidence to Inzaghi’s side ahead of the final six games of the season with just one goal in mind. The Champions League spot.
Here are the match ratings: