AS Roma 2-0 Lazio: Giallorossi blitz Biancocelesti in frenetic derby
Edin Džeko dispatches from 12 yards to open the scoring. (Image source: Il Messaggerro)

Goals either side of half-time from Edin Džeko and Gervinho consigned Lazio to their third successive Serie A defeat as Roma moved to within touching distance of league leaders Inter.

A frenetic opening

Conspicuous may have been the absence of both sets of ultras throughout the 90 minutes — in protest against measures taken to dilute the number of supports in the Curva — but it would not be a Derby della Capitale without a moment of controversy. 

Roma controlled possession during the opening exchanges, frequently finding Edin Džeko through the air. And it was the Bosnian, fresh off the back of an impressive goalscoring display in the Giallorossi’s 3-2 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen in midweek, who sparked the ire among the Lazio ranks.

Santiago Gentiletti was adjudged to have upended the forward inside the penalty area with the game only eight minutes old yet replays revealed that the defender made contact with Džeko’s foot outside the penalty area. The Bosnian, with the sangfroid of a man who boasts a pair of Premier League medals, compounded the Biancocelesti’s misery from 12 yards to send the home faction into raptures.

Lazio, though, were making inroads down the right via Antonio Candreva — coincidentally, the only Roman born player in both starting XI’s — as the Italian almost restored parity seconds later after being released in-behind.

Stefano Pioli's side fashioned their most threatening opportunity of the half on 25 minutes when Felipe Anderson rattled the frame of the goal from distance after cleverly nutmegging William Vainqueur in midfield.

Referee Paolo Tagliavento was cast back into the limelight when he dismissed Giallorossi protestations after Gentiletti, having been sanctioned for his earlier infringement on Džeko, felled Gervinho as the Ivorian raced towards goal.

Roma establish superiority

Promising had been Lazio’s moves down the left-hand side — namely via the ever-reliable Eden Lulic — and Pioli’s men almost constructed a leveller after a sumptuous piece of interplay down that channel. But Antonio Rudiger raced back to foil Filip Djordjevic as he shaped to stroke the ball into the net. 

Roma, though, had the chance to double their advantage before the interval when Džeko squandered a golden opportunity. Gervinho had been liberated by Vasilis Torosidis inside the Lazio danger area but, after picking out the Bosnian inside the six-yard box for an ostensible tap-in, the ball trickle wide.

Roma cranked up the pressure thereafter as Radja Nainggolan cannoned a long-range effort off the outside of the post. 

But Garcia’s jubilation was curtailed shortly after the restart when Mohamed Salah was carted off the field after being clattered by Lulic.

Gervinho then prompted the Roma fraternity to their feet when he blazed past Mauricio and teed up Džeko on the edge of the area, though the forward could not provide the fitting denouement. 

The crucial blow

It mattered little, though, as the hosts soon doubled their lead minutes later. Gervinho was released through the middle by an extravagant pass from Nainggolan and, after racing away from Dusan Basta, dispatched his effort beyond Marchetti at the near post.

Lazio went in search of a response as Felipe Anderson, in particular, tried to conjure at least a modicum of hope for his side.

The Brazilian was upended on the edge of the penalty area by Lucas Digne but, from the ensuing free-kick, Candreva slammed his effort into the wall.

Anderson almost engineered an effort seconds later when he tied Torosidis in knots before racing towards goal, only to be thwarted by the impermeable Kostas Manolas.

Seydou Keita, with the game entering its dying embers, then squandered a golden opportunity to seal all three points for his side when he cut across an effort on the perimeter of the penalty area.

His namesake, Balde, looked menacing upon introduction but the Spaniard's endeavour was in vain as the referee consigned his side to their third straight domestic defeat.