Boy, talk about a deflating result. In the first Derby della Capitale of the season, the Giallorossi are held scoreless and fall to Lazio by a 1-0 scoreline. The result sees Roma drop to fifth in the table while their city-rival rise to the third spot—talk about a double gut punch. Following their respective Europa League performances last Thursday, Roma had all the momentum going into the match, and with Lazio missing both Sergej Milinković-Savić and Ciro Immobile, this match was set up for a dominant Giallorossi win. It wasn't meant to be, as ineptitude on offense and a massive error by Roger Ibañez doomed Roma on the evening.
Outside of an early yellow card to Gianluca Mancini, the first 25 minutes of the match were relatively uneventful, both teams seemingly content with gradually growing into such a high-pressure match. But disaster is never far away in a match of this importance, particularly when it comes to Roma, and sure enough, just a few minutes later, disaster struck the Giallorossi.
An attempt to play the ball out the back saw Ibañez take just a bit too long on the ball, giving former Roma man Pedro the opportunity to get close to Ibañez and get enough on the ball to poke it away, right into the path of Felipe Anderson, who made no mistake in slotting the ball in the back of the net.
As you’d expect, conceding the opening goal gave Roma the kick in the backside that they needed to get going, and their renewed attacking intent nearly paid dividends just four minutes later, as Nicolo Zaniolo saw his attempt on goal narrowly deflected, with the ball agonizingly hitting the crossbar as it dropped down towards goal.
Roma dominated the possession for the remainder of the half but was unable to break down a stout Lazio defense, going into the break still searching for the equalizer.
While the second half started with the Giallorossi demonstrating the same attacking intent as they did after conceding the opener, Roma soon received yet another bad break, as captain Lorenzo Pellegrini was forced off with an apparent injury, replaced by Christian Volpato.
Volpato, to his credit, certainly provided a much-needed spark for the Giallorossi, but the offense as a whole struggled to break down a Lazio defense that was content to cede possession and look to hit on the counter with their speedy forwards. A shot of Dan and Ryan Friedkin in the stands perfectly captured the frustration that all Romanisti were experiencing.
As the clock approached the full 90, it became evident that the comeback wasn’t meant to be for the Giallorossi. The match began with hopes of a win and a rise to third in the standings—a position you could dare to dream about a title challenge in the second half of the season—and morphed into a scenario where those dreams were definitively shattered, and you just hoped Roma would steal a draw to maintain their precarious hold on the fourth spot.
A late flurry for the Giallorossi began right at the beginning of stoppage when Belotti was able to win a corner. The ensuing corner saw Belotti take a punch to the face from the Lazio shot-stopper as the ball fell into the box, and the resulting pause ensured that Roma would have an additional precious few moments to steal an equalizer beyond the eight minutes that had been awarded.
However, try as they might, the Giallorossi just couldn’t string enough together to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. Tempers began to flare as extra time concluded, and as the final whistle blew, you no doubt felt just how big a missed opportunity this was for the Giallorossi.
Once again, the match came down to an individual error on defense and an inability to convert chances on the offensive end. Roger Ibañez’s mistake will be viewed as the moment that sunk Roma on the evening, but the players on the opposite end of the pitch are just as culpable for the loss—you got the sense that the match could've continued for an additional 90-minutes and the Giallorossi would’ve failed to score.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. If you want a deeper look, here is the extended highlight package.