Welp, that was a dud. The Giallorossi came into the derby with a chance to move into second with a win over hated rival Lazio, but a first-half Roger Ibañez red card was another example of Roma shooting themselves in the foot in a big match, this time with Ibañez’s card being the catalyst for what eventually would be a 1-0 defeat for Roma.
The opening 15 minutes of the match were quiet by derby standards, the play on the pitch nowhere near matching the intensity of the crowd. But right on cue, a Gini Wijnaldum shot from deep helped the game explode into life, turning the contest into a back-and-forth affair with every possession an opportunity to draw first blood.
The game flipped on its head at the half-hour mark, when Roger Ibañez was unable to pull out in time from a challenge on Sergej Milinković-Savić, fouling the Serbian and drawing a second yellow from the ref, meaning Roma would have an extremely steep hill to climb for the remainder of the match. At least you could say that Roma had experience in this scenario following Marash Kumbulla’s red card against Sassuolo in Roma’s previous league match.
Tensions began to boil over as we approached the end of the half, with both sides seeing a member of their coaching staff receive their marching orders from the ref. Three minutes of added time saw both sides continue to push for an opener, but ultimately the half ended with the score level.
The second half started much like the first, with both teams content to grow into the half to start, even with Lazio’s man-advantage. Jose Mourinho opted to take off Paulo Dybala in favor of an extra center-back in Diego Llorente, indicating that it would be an exercise in parking the bus in an attempt to steal a point.
Eventually, Lazio began to impose their will and attempt to capitalize on their man-advantage, and in the 65th minute, they finally found their breakthrough, with Mattia Zaccagni the man to get his name on the scoresheet after slotting the ball past Rui Patricio.
The Gillarossi thought they found the equalizer just minutes later following a Lazio own-goal, but it was ruled off by VAR due to offsides by Chris Smalling.
Roma continued to push for the equalizer for the remainder of the contest, but the Giallorossi were unable to breakdown Lazio, caught between not wanting to get caught on the counter and finding an equalizer. Lazio ultimately would hold on for the 1-0 win and city bragging rights for the season after having completed the league double on Roma.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. The official league highlights are available here.