Fans will be treated to another edition of the Derby della Capitale as Roma and Lazio lock horns at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday afternoon.
Like the Derby della Madonnina, the latest installment of the Roma-Lazio rivalry will be taking place at a much earlier time. That’s likely due to Asian markets and the league wanting to cater to their fans in the Far East, so for fans in the United States, they will have to wake up at 6:30 EST (or 3:30 if one’s based on the West Coast).
Time zones aside, this will be the fourth derby meeting between Roma and Lazio this season. The two sides met twice in the Coppa Italia semi-finals, which eventually went in Lazio’s favor after a 4-3 aggregate win. The Biancocelesti haven’t won a derby meeting in Serie A since November 2012; since then, Roma have won five and drawn three.
Currently under the tutelage of ex-striker Simone Inzaghi, Lazio have by far exceeded expectations this season. The Aquile are in contention to win the Coppa Italia, as they will face Juventus in the final. That, in itself gives them some bragging rights over Roma, who were dumped out of the Europa League by Lyon. Juve’s draw with Atalanta may give Roma some slight hope in the Scudetto race, as they are presently nine points behind with a game in hand. However, realistically, it’s not likely the Lupi will be able to catch and overtake the Bianconeri. If anyone’s a specialist in closing out the title race, it’s Juventus, who are seeking to make it an unprecedented sixth straight Scudetto next month.
With Napoli just four points back, Roma will be keen on making sure they can keep the Partenopei at bay. The Lupi surely don’t want to have to secure Champions League football by going through the play-offs; they learned that the hard way as they lost to Porto at the start of this season. Meanwhile, Lazio are aiming to make a return to Europe. Whilst the Champions League is out of reach, the Europa League certainly isn’t, and as things stand, it looks like the Biancocelesti will be joined by Atalanta in Europe’s second-tier club competition.
This derby will also likely be the last one for Roma icon Francesco Totti. Despite his advancing years, he will hope to feature, as should he score, he will then become the all-time top goalscorer in the Derby della Capitale. Meanwhile, Edin Dzeko, who was quite upset at being subbed during Roma’s win over Pescara, will definitely look to add more to his growing tally. The tall Bosnian attacker has had a brilliant season in the Eternal City, and with 25 goals, is two ahead of Torino’s Andrea Belotti in the race for the Capocannoniere.
As is the case in any derby, it’s more than just three points at stake. Can Lazio win this tie for the first time since 2012? Or will Roma get revenge for being dumped out of the Coppa Italia with a resounding win at the Stadio Olimpico?