Lazio surprise Jose Mourinho’s Roma with a 3-2 Derby della Capitale victory, decided by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Pedro and Felipe Anderson, but there was also VAR controversy.
This is always a passionate fixture at the best of times, let alone with fans back in the stadium – albeit at 50 per cent capacity – and with Maurizio Sarri and Jose Mourinho experiencing their first Derby della Capitale.
The Aquile missed Mattia Zaccagni, so started Pedro against his former club, and needed a result after two points from four games in all competition. Lorenzo Pellegrini was suspended, but Matias Vina returned from injury.
Roma wore black armbands, as youth team player Nicola Zalewski’s father died this week, but he insisted on being part of the squad.
Lazio took the lead after 10 minutes when Felipe Anderson whipped in a wonderful ball from the right for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s brave header, just before he was wiped out by Rui Patricio rushing off the line.
Just as Nicolò Zaniolo was complaining about a collision with Elseid Hysaj, Lazio scored an ideal counter-attacking goal. Ciro Immobile drew defenders away and intelligently rolled across for Pedro to pass calmly into the bottom corner for 2-0. It was a special goal, considering Pedro scored in this fixture last season for Roma.
Roma finally started to create chances, Pepe Reina flying to palm a Jordan Veretout scorcher over the bar, then on the resulting corner Zaniolo’s header hit the far post from point-blank range.
Immobile hit the side-netting after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was caught in possession, but the Giallorossi got one back with Roger Ibanez’s glancing header on a Veretout corner.
After the restart Immobile had a huge opportunity when Milinkovic-Savic flicked on the set play, but despite springing the offside trap, the striker scuffed his volley across the face of goal. Jose Mourinho was also furious, claiming Lucas Leiva deserved a second yellow for jumping with elbow on the back of a head.
Lazio restored their two-goal cushion with another great counter-attack. Luis Alberto’s through ball sent Immobile running from midfield, he drew the goalkeeper and defenders towards him, then rolled across for Felipe Anderson to finish relatively undisturbed.
It wasn’t over, because Roma received an extremely controversial penalty. Zaniolo seemed to hit a fresh-air shot and lost his balance, with if anything him kicking Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro’s knee rather than the other way round, but VAR opted not to advise the referee to check it back. Veretout converted and the game changed.
Suddenly, it was almost 3-3, Reina flying to beat away a Zaniolo strike from a tricky angle and Eldor Shomurodov’s effort, but at the other end Immobile hit the side-netting when sliding in from close range onto a Felipe Anderson assist.