After finding a knocked-off form in their recent matches, neighbourhood rivals Roma and Lazio will aim to get back to winning ways when they lock horns against each other in yet another edition of the much anticipated Derby della Capitale today at the Stadio Olimpico.
Lazio are on a three-game winless run in which they have suffered two defeats. The Biancocelesti grabbed a resilient victory over formidable Napoli earlier this month and though they were expected to build their game on that, Maurizio Sarri’s side fell out of character as they followed the victory over the league leaders with a defeat to AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the UEFA Conference League Round of 16.
Sarri’s men couldn’t cement their top-four hopes in their last league match against Bologna as they were held to a goalless draw and in their most recent fixture, they suffered yet another defeat to Alkmaar, thus bowing out of the Conference League for this season.
The Biancocelesti boast of maintaining the best defensive record in the league after the Partenopei, conceding only 19 goals till now. With an impressive 15 clean sheets this term, Lazio will aim to see out the match against their near rivals by scoring an early goal and then shutting out, a move which they have manoeuvred in each of their last four Serie A matches.
Meanwhile, Roma will approach this match more positively than their rivals after securing safe passage to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Goals from Stephan El Sharaawy and Marash Kumbulla ensured the tie in the Giallorossi’s favour from the first leg. They just had to defend in mass and a goalless draw in the second leg will now make them face Feyenoord in the last eight of the Europa League.
In their last league outing, manager Jose Mourinho served his suspension and his team, under the guidance of assistant coach Salvatore Foti, fell short of completing a historic comeback against Sassuolo. Armand Lauriente’s brace within the first 20 minutes staged the possibility of emphatic gameplay from both teams. Nicola Zalewski halved the visitors’ lead but they soon restored their two-goal advantage through a penalty scored by Domenico Berardi in the added minutes of the first half. Paulo Dybala was on the scoresheet, thus instilling belief amongst his side but the Neroverdi fought back in the 75th minute as Andrea Pinamonti scored the final for Sassuolo. Georginio Wijnaldum found him on the scoresheet in the added time but the Giallorossi just couldn’t do enough to draw the match.
Results from their last five matches across all competitions
L D L W W
D L W W L
Lazio are set to miss star striker Ciro Immobile through a thigh injury which also kept him out of their Conference League clash against AZ Alkmaar.
Felipe Anderson is expected to replace the Italian upfront and will aim to continue his great run in the Roma derby.
Matias Vecino is out for this match with a suspension and Adam Marusic is anticipated to start in the right-back position.
Roma will hope to have their captain Lorenzo Pellegrini back on the starting eleven after he missed out with a head injury in his side’s last match.
Marash Kumbulla and Rick Karsdorp are out of the fixture with a suspension and injury respectively. Tammy Abraham is tilted to start upfront alongside Paulo Dybala as Andrea Belotti has been out of form in recent matches.
Manager Jose Mourinho will serve his suspension after being shown the red card versus Cremonese.
Lazio (4-3-3): Provedel; Marusic, Casale, Romagnoli, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Alberto; Pedro, Anderson, Zaccagni
Roma (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Zalewski, Cristante, Matic, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Dybala; Abraham
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN