The Derby della Capitale did not disappoint as Lazio won 3-2 versus Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in a thrilling Serie A encounter.
Last season, fans were not in attendance for the Rome derby due to the pandemic yet that was not the case this time around. It was loud and boisterous at the Stadio Olimpico as Felipe Anderson’s goal in the 63rd minute led to the game-winner. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Pedro scored the other two goals for Lazio while Roger Ibanez and Jordan Veretout found the back of the net for Roma.
So, what were the five takeaways from Lazio vs Roma?
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Is a Warrior
Milinkovic-Savic has really settled in under Sarri and he had a clinical performance for Lazio against Roma.
The Serbian set the tempo in this match as he scored at the ten-minute mark and gave his side the momentum that they really needed. Off of a cross from Felipe Anderson, he headed the ball past Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio in the goal area and, in doing so, was taken out by him as he attempted to make the save. Fortunately, the Serbian was okay and able to continue in the match.
At both ends of the pitch, Milinkovic-Savic was effective as he won aerial challenges, made key passes and controlled the tempo in the midfield. He has become a focal point to this team and once again played a key part in Lazio’s win.
He finished the match with one goal, four key passes, three aerial duels won and two successful dribbles.
Pedro Is a Laziale
This past summer transfer window, Lazio made one of the most surprising moves by signing Pedro from Roma. It was a rare decision by the Biancocelesti as business between the two sides has not occurred often; the last time a player transferred to either side was back in 1981, 40 years ago.
Pedro did not receive a call up to preseason training for Roma as new Roma manager Jose Mourinho did not include him in their plans. However, with Maurizio Sarri arriving at Lazio to replace Simone Inzaghi, the tactician wanted Pedro to be part of his plans due to their time working together at Chelsea.
On Sunday evening, Pedro earned the respect and trust of Laziale fans and management. He put forth an outstanding performance where he won challenges, hustled back to assist the defense and scored a brilliant goal. His emotions on the pitch showed what this match meant to him.
Pedro is sure to play a significant role with Lazio this season and based on how this match went, it is safe to say that he is a true Laziale.
Ciro Immobile Was Dominant
It was a vintage performance from the Lazio captain as Ciro Immobile stepped up for his side. The Italian missed several chances to score, however, he was dominant in other areas of the pitch.
On Lazio’s second goal, he showed good patience, drew several players towards him and executed an accurate pass towards Pedro, who had ample space and followed up with a goal. It was a brilliant play executed by Immobile who showed he could do more than just score goals.
On Lazio’s third goal, Immobile played a key part in the build-up. He made a great run down the left side as Luis Alberto delivered an accurate long ball pass upfield. Immobile showed good pace to get by Gianluca Mancini and followed up with a simple pass towards Felipe Anderson, who scored.
Immobile was relentless throughout the match as he chased down players, won challenges, created chances and showed good intensity. He was unselfish in this match where he did everything possible to help Lazio win.
He finished the match with two assists, two key passes, three successful dribbles and two fouls won.
Pepe Reina Steps up to the Plate
With Lazio leading 3-2 with just over 20 minutes remaining, their goalkeeper played a pivotal role in their win.
On several occasions, Pepe Reina was called upon to make a big save and help preserve the lead. On one occasion, Nicolo Zaniolo was left alone at the right side of the goal area and delivered an accurate shot on target with plenty of power behind it. Reina stood to the task and made a brilliant diving save.
Reina was vocal throughout the match as he had his backline aware and focused when they were defending. Veretout had a great chance late where he delivered a powerful shot on target yet Reina was well-positioned to make the save.
At 39-years-old, the Spaniard is showing little signs of slowing down and continues to impress with Lazio. His positioning was very good in this match as he looked comfortable when he made a save.
Lazio Were Resilient
Lazio entered their match versus Roma in poor form as they were winless in the past four matches across all competitions. As a result, it was unexpected how they would enter the Rome Derby. However, Lazio were resilient as they showed great character and responded well when Roma scored.
When Lazio were leading 2-0, Roma scored right before half-time to cut the lead to one. They came out in the second half with the right mentality as they played hard, did not sit back and were focused. Right after the hour mark, Lazio extended their lead to two goals. Once again, Roma responded and with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Lazio’s goalkeeper made key saves and the defense made crucial blocked shots. Lazio were resilient to win this match and never stopped when Roma scored. The Rome derby may have been what Lazio needed to turn their season around.