STADIO OLIMPICO (Rome): Felipe Anderson pounced on a shocking Roger Ibanez error to score the decisive goal as Lazio beat AS Roma 1-0 in a fraught Rome Derby to leapfrog their rivals in the Serie A standings.
A game short on quality and big chances was decided when Ibanez lost possession in his own box after 29 minutes, allowing Anderson to guide a shot into the bottom corner.
Nicolo Zaniolo struck the bar soon after in Roma’s best chance, while Rui Patricio made an excellent save on an Anderson effort in the second half, but it wasn’t a Derby della Capitale that will live long in the memory for the football on display.
Not that Lazio will care; the win came at the perfect time for them after back-to-back defeats to Salernitana and Feyenoord, and was achieved without their two best players, injured captain Ciro Immobile and suspended midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Key result in Serie A table
The win sent the Biancocelesti above Roma and Atalanta into third in the standings, two points behind second-placed AC Milan.
While the quality wasn’t particularly high on the pitch, off it was another story, as both sets of fans unfurled spectacular choreographies before kick-off to eardrum-bursting levels of noise.
Roma started the faster, as Tammy Abraham snatched at a shot from a decent position, allowing Ivan Provedel a simple save, while the lively Nicolo Zaniolo dragged a shot wide of the far post.
Lazio soon settled and when they made the breakthrough after 29 minutes, it was thanks to a dreadful mistake from Roger Ibanez.
The defender, who has been guilty of errors in this fixture in the past, was charged down by Pedro and lost the ball to Anderson, who was left simply needing to beat Patricio from 12 yards.
A dipping Zaniolo strike cannoned off the bar as Roma almost immediately equalised, while Chris Smalling headed just wide at the back post early in the second half as they threatened from a corner.
However, the Giallorossi lost the architect of their set-piece prowess, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini, to injury as he was forced off in the 54th minute.
Frustration began to build among the Roma fans as two misplaced Bryan Cristante passes proved symbolic of their struggles to break down Lazio’s rediscovered resilience in defence.
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That growing impatience showed when Salvatore Foti, one of Jose Mourinho’s assistants, was sent off by Daniele Orsato.
Lazio almost made it two when substitute Matteo Cancellieri went tearing down the right wing before setting up Anderson, whose curling finish was tipped away by a flying Patricio.
Mourinho threw on several attacking players in search of an equaliser, but the Lazio defence held firm in batting away an aerial onslaught during eight nerve-wracking minutes of added time.
The full-time whistle was met by an explosion of celebration from the north side of the ground, where the Lazio supporters remained to enjoy the moment long after the other sections had emptied.