The derby of Rome ended in a goalless draw in which each team had only one shot on goal. Roma did hit the frame twice.
Simone Inzaghi made two changes compared to the painful loss to Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday. Luis Alberto, second only to Lorenzo Insigne in chances created in Seria A, was left on the bench. It was a risky move by the manager, as Alberto has had a great rapport with Immobile this season. The other change was starting Adam Marusic in place of Dusan Basta. Eusebio Di Francesco made only switch to the team that eliminated Barcelona by putting Bruno Peres in the starting eleven instead of Alessandro Florenzi, who was feeling a bit under the weather.
Roma was playing a high line that resulted in three offsides for Lazio within the first five minutes of the contest. Marco Parolo had a magnificent opportunity to open the scoring in the 8th minute, but couldn’t find the net, sending a powerful strike from inside the box over the cross bar. Lucas Leiva received the first yellow card of the fixture for a foul on Edin Dzeko. Lazio was more willing to attack, but Roma was the more technically sound team and appeared more dangerous with the ball in possession. Its high line was causing problems for The Sky Blues by closing their space to manoeuvre.
Radja Nainggolan found a way past Lazio with a beautifully executed pass behind the defensive line in the 37th minute. Bruno Peres had a free shot inside Strakosha’s penalty area. Unfortunately for Roma fans, he wasn’t accurate enough and hit the post. It was by far the best chance of the match up to that point. There was nothing between these teams on the table and there was nothing separating them on the pitch as they went into half-time tied at zero.
In the opening minutes of the second half, you could see that Roma’s manager decided to make a tactical switch by pushing Kolarov forward and playing with three central defenders. Cengiz Under came in for Patrick Schick in the 55th minute of the second half. Four minutes later, Luis Alberto and Jordan Lukaku replaced Felipe Anderson and Senad Lulic. There were few attempts of causing trouble here and there, but nothing particularly threatening. The Giallorossi had control over most of the gameplay.
Manolas was hurt and had to come off in the 74th minute. Florenzi came on, as Di Francesco was forced to go back to a 4-defender formation. Radu made the end of the game difficult for Lazio by pulling down one of Roma’s players and earning himself an early shower with a second yellow card. The result of that red card was Di Francesco making an offensive substitution by introducing El Shaarawy in place of Bruno Peres and Simone Inzaghi making a defensive one by bringing Bastos onto the pitch in place of Immobile. Just as we thought Roma would pile on the pressure, Lazio had its best opportunity of the match. Marusic’s shot was desperately close to finding the net.
90 minutes struck and Dzeko, who was silent for most of the game, had two headers in a matter of 30 seconds. The first one was saved by Strakosha and the second one hit the cross bar. Roma was millimeters away from taking the lead. The Bosnian then fired a long-range effort as well that went past the post. Neither side deserved to lose, as both showed plenty of effort and competition, but more quality was expected of such a derby. It was a poor encounter overall, confirmed by the final score.