Despite so much being on the line in the Derby della Capitale, both Roma and Lazio dropped two points in the race for a spot in the top-four following a score-less stalemate the Stadio Olimpico in match-week 12 of the Serie A.
In the opening minutes of the game, Lazio were on the front-foot as they circulated the ball with ease and confidence. However, the Biancocelesti struggled to cope with Roma’s high-press, causing Paulo Dybala to win the ball high up the pitch and find Leonardo Spinazzola out-wide.
The Italian wing-back centred a fine cross towards Romelu Lukaku, but the Belgian marksman’s header went above the bar. Spinazzola continued to cause havoc on the left-hand side as he whipped another cross and found Rick Karsdorp at the second post. The Dutchman’s venomous strike was brilliantly saved by shot-stopper Ivan Provedel. However, Bryan Cristante fired the rebound left by the Italian goalkeeper in the back of the net, but the holding midfielder’s goal was ruled offside.
Whilst the fixture was seemingly scrappy for wavelength of ten minutes, Lazio seized control as they dictated the game through their fluid possessive style-of-play. At the 25th minute mark, Felipe Anderson dispatched a well-weighted low-driven cross to find Luis Alberto at the edge of the box. The Spainiard’s one-time curler nearly beat Rui Patricio as the attacking midfielder hit the frame of the goal.
Shortly after, the 31-year-old took on the role of provider as he behind a free-kick following a wreck-less challenge. The Spanish maestro delivered an exquisite cross and found central defender Romagnoli. The former Milan defender’s staggering header was miraculously saved by the Portuguese shot-stopper.
Following a scoreless first half, Roma were stark-opposite at the start of the second forty-five. Despite the pair of scares defensively from Matteo Guendouzi’s shot from long-range and the Frenchman threading through-ball for skipper Ciro Immobile into space, Mourinho’s men imposed their dominance as they were intact defensively and sprayed line-splitting balls.
Although Dybala’s work-rate was relentless as he provided security and stability on the ball with his quick passing ability and his immaculate dribbling, Sarri’s back-line remained compact as Roma found great difficulty in testing Provedel.
With under twenty minutes left of play, the Giallorossi’s back-line was almost breached on the counter as substitute Gustav Isaksen played a fine ball for Manuel Lazzari out-wide. The full-back’s cross into the box was toe-poked, but Matias Vecino managed to make the deflection stick as he released the trigger from a long-way out, forcing Patricio to lunge down in order to prevent the opening goal.
Although both tacticians made a flurry of changes as an attempt to seize the winner, which would allow one of either side to have inched closer to a Champions League qualifying spot following the drop of points of top-four hopefuls Atalanta and Napoli earlier today, the Romanese clubs were forced to share spoils after the final whistle. Consequently, Roma remain in seventh with eighteen points, whilst Lazio are a point shy of there cross-city rivals heading into the international break.
Julian Faustini Ι GIFN