Miroslav Klose scored in the 93rd minute to give Lazio a famous victory in a magnificent Rome derby
As a child of the 90s, my footballing education largely came from watching
The Hurricanes Italian football. You know what I mean. Saturday morning: highlights, assuming we weren't at shul. No Sky Plus back then, terrible for the self-loathing Jew. Sunday afternoon: whichever Serie A game Channel 4 decided to show. It was a different time. A better time. Especially for Italian football. Look at the teams they had back then: Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Parma, Inter, Sampdoria, Roma and Lazio. Yes, wiseguy, they still have them, but you know what I mean. The current versions just aren't a patch on them.
Seeing as Lazio were always there or thereabouts, eventually winning the title in 2000 under Svennis – and two years before they'd lost to Inter in the Uefa Cup final. I just took it for granted that they were a big club – they had Pavel Nedved and Christian Vieri for crying out loud – and thought nothing more of it. Lazio. Big club. Then a few years ago, I took to minute-by-minute research tool Wikipedia and noted with some astonishment that Lazio had won very little in their history. Two titles, a few cups here and there and the dearly departed European Cup Winners' Cup in 1999 was the sum of it.
Roma? They're not much better actually, having only won the title thrice times, the last back in 2001 under notorious nitwit Fabio Capello. So there we have it. Lazio v Roma, the Rome derby, sounds like a huge game, one of the signature match-ups in European football, and yet in the context of the Italian season, it will ultimately mean very little. Welcome to live coverage of Aston Villa v Birmingham then. How strange. Anyway here's something to get you in the mood.
Here's a worry though. There has been a whopping two goals in the previous six Serie A matches today. That'll get the tongues wagging on the Sunday Supplement table.
Tonight's teams for you. Roma look pretty strong, though they did have that nightmare start. Plus Francesco Totti is injured. And yes, that is Djibril Cisse in the Lazio front two.
Lazio (4-3-1-2): Marchetti; Konko, Biava, Dias, Radu; Gonzalez, Ledesma, Brocchi; Hernanes; Klose , Cissé.
Roma (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Rosi, Kjaer, Heinze, José Ángel; Gago, De Rossi, Perrotta; Osvaldo, Pjanic, Bojan.
Referee: P. Tagliavento.
Whoever wins this goes third. A point off the leaders, Juventus. The 90s are back then.
Paul Bergin sees through me. "Is that an attempt to get back on the pod?" he says. "Flouting yourself to AC Jimbo there." Don't tell Glendenning.
The Stadio Olimpico is a picture. Quite the racket is being made. This fixture was in danger of being cancelled due to Saturday's anti-capitalist riots. Imagine.
1 min: Lazio get us going, attacking from left to right. Roma have the ball fair swiftly, which leads to much whistling and scorn. They're on the attack immediately and from the right Rosi puts a dangerous ball into the box. Biava's attempt to deal with it is dreadful, a half-baked prod which hits Bojan but luckily runs through to Marchetti.
3 min: There's a virtually empty stand of seats. Who needs seats at a football ground anyway?
4 min: Was Luis Enrique the first ever D/M/F (RLC)?
WHAT A START!!! Lazio 0-1 Roma (Osvaldo, 5 min): A third Serie A goal of the day - they spoil us - as Lazio's comical offside line is pierced by the easiest of moves. This is awful defending; the last man was around five yards behind his defensive colleagues as Pjanic lobbed a cute pass through to Osvaldo, who cushioned the ball down his chest and then flicked a confident finish with his left foot beyond the advancing, star-jumping Marchetti.
7 min: Osvaldo was booked for half-taking off his shirt during his celebrations.
9 min: There appears to be an exotic fog of smoke drifting around the pitch. Djibril Cisse's beard is blonde, his haircut sensible, his body offside.
10 min: Lazio want to wake up. Pjanic nearly gets in behind the defence again, but the pass to him is blocked. The ball breaks back to
England's Perrotta, who lashes a fizzing drive goalwards with his right foot, the ball bending wide of the left post at the last. Marchetti was worried there.
11 min: A lightning counter from Lazio nearly brings them the equaliser. Cisse breaks down the left flank and faced by two Roma defenders, he intelligently (yes) rolls a pass inside to Hernanes, on the edge of the area. He has to check back due to his poor control, but just manages to shuffle it along to the right for Klose, whose careful right-footer rolls past the left post.
12 min: Cisse is causing problems on the left flank. This time he drops the shoulder and works the ball on to his right foot, but his shot is deflected behind. Nothing comes from it.
14 min: "Cracking atmosphere but why are there so many empty seats?" asks John. "I would have thought it would be a full house." I'm not entirely sure. I think it's due to ticket restrictions, but maybe someone else can confirm.
15 min: "Knowing no Italian I couldn't actually read what it said on
Osvaldo's vest, but it appeared to say something about anchovies and purgatory?" says Kevin Porter. Not that old chestnut...
17 min: Luis Enrique has no respect for the technical area. He's almost on the pitch. At one point, he looked like he was about to follow the play all the way down to the corner flag.
18 min: Perrotta breathes a sigh of relief. Facing his own goal, his outlook is far too casual, allowing Klose to steal in and overpower him. He then sets up Hernanes for a shot from the edge of the area, but he rushes a scuffed effort which dribbles well wide.
19 min: I missed Perrotta getting booked after seven minutes. But he has been booked. After seven minutes.
21 min: Hernanes sounds like he should be good. He has that sort of name. You never see a Hernanes at centre-back.
22 min: From the left, Cisse stabs a right-footed cross towards Klose, who was offside but not flagged - however Stekelenburg gets there before him. "He has custody of the ball," says ESPN Man, making him sound like he's separated from his wife.
24 min: It's hotting up. Gago clatters into Konko. Konko gives him a shove. Gago gives him a look. That'll show him.
25 min: Hernanes tries to bend one into the far corner with his right foot, but his shot doesn't have enough curl on it and just bounces past the right post. "I think Luis Enrique may have shared that honour with former Owl and Evertonian Niclas Alexandersson on CM 97/98," says Gareth Davis. "Not that I recall him playing anywhere other than on the right wing moaning (justifiably most of the time) at his teammates..."
26 min: This has been a free-flowing, entertaining match. Take that, Sunday Supplement! "I went in 2009 and the sides of the ground were mostly empty," says Stephen Henderson. "Both curvas were absolutely packed, likely sold out and then some as the hour before the match was mostly people climbing over the Plexiglass barriers to get into the end. The atmosphere was cracking but a bit scary with flashbangs going off and police wading in to break up some clashes on the east side and then a bit of crowd panic outside (never did figure out why we all burst out running). I think your average Roman just can't be bothered but there are enough hardcore types to fill up the ends."
27 min: How on earth did that stay out? Pjanic and Bojan cause havoc on the counter, flicking the ball here, there and everywhere. Eventually it's spread out to Angel on the overlap on the left and he instantly plays the ball into that infamous corridor of uncertainty. The sliding Bojan can't make contact though, but his presence does enough to put off Marchetti, allowing the ball to reach Osvaldo at the far post, partly because Biava had made a mess of his clearance. He looked certain to score his second but just as he was about to score, Biava recovered to deny him, at the expense of a corner.
28 min: From the corner, the ball is pulled back to Bojan - think Anderton to Sheringham - who sweeps a low shot towards goal. Marchetti gets down to save, but can't hold, tempting De Rossi to slide in and introduce his studs to the goalkeeper's chest/face/general vicinity. He's booked, though he pleads his innocence. It's Daniele De Rossi, so he probably wasn't.
32 min: "When I was young, trying to half-take somebody's shirt off usually got me sent off," says Rick from Amsterdam. Why?
33 min: Rosi should be sent off, but his sneakiness has got him off the hook. He went into a 50-50 with Radu, whose tackle was clean. Rosi however jumped in two-footed and stamps down on Radu's shin. That's a filthy challenge, but he made out he was injured as well. I can't tell why. He didn't get caught, unless he studded himself too. Either way, it's enough to make the officials think there was just a coming together.
35 min: "I'd love to get a 'look' from Fernando Gago," says Jack Pitt-Brooke. "What a sultry stylish man." He's just had a shot blocked from the edge of the area.
36 min: It doesn't look like Rosi will be able to continue. Well there's poetic justice for you.
37 min: The dastardly Rosi is replaced by Marco 'Walkman' Cassetti.
39 min: Cassetti's first contribution is an excellent cross in from the right, but no one had made up the ground. More of that please! Up the other end, Klose's attempted pass through to Cisse is pish.
41 min: Osvaldo's disguised pass plays in the lively Bojan, but he can't shoot with his left due to the close attentions of Konko. He has to wait, open up his body and try to curl it across goal with his right foot, but it's too awkward for him and he only ends up side-footing it past the near post. "Ah, an article that includes the opening credits to C4's Football Italia," says Gareth Marshall. "Marvellous stuff, cheers Jacob. Personal highlight was remembering Gazza talking Jimbo Richardson through how he came to shave his head - unable to get his sideburns level, he ended up just taking all his hair off. Remember him scoring a blinding FA Cup semi-esque for Lazio too, on a rare occasion when he wasn't injured. Happy days." Here he is with Elvis (Costello).
44 min: The difference between the two sides? Roma's forwards are far brighter.
45 min+1: In the first of three added minutes, Pjanic should play Bojan in behind Lazio's absurdly high line but his pass is too close to Biava. A wasted opportunity, that one.
45 min+2: Biava's busy. Now he has to hand Cassetti's wonderful cross towards Osvaldo behind for a corner.
48 min+3: Hernanes manages to wriggle away from Cassetti, who was all over him, tugging away at his shirt, before the Brazilian whacks a rising shot over the top.
Peep! Peep! And that's the end of that. Roma deservedly lead through Pablo Osvaldo's early goal and they could be further ahead - although they should also be down to 10 men.
Half time: Lazio 0-1 Roma.
46 min: Lazio have made a change at half time, Lulic on for Radu. Cisse sends in a cross from the left. Roma have the ball.
47 min: Gonzalez wins the ball off Angel on the right and then instantly looks for Cisse over the top. He burns Heinze for space - well, duh - but Kjaer is swiftly across to clear.
48 min: Maybe it's catching. Kjaer loses concentration for a second, allowing a long ball to drop over him, assuming it would go through to the goalkeeper. Alas not, Klose was behind him. The German held him off as if he was Matthew Upson, and Kjaer crumpled to the turf. However Cassetti was alive to the danger and booted the ball behind.
50 min: Controversy! Brocchi breaks on to a through ball from Hernanes and goes down after Kjaer has a tug of his shirt! Penalty to Lazio - and Kjaer, the last man, is sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity! What a meltdown he's had these last few minutes.
GOAL! Lazio 1-1 Roma (Hernanes pen, 50 min): The blue half of the Stadio Olimpico explodes as Hernanes puts the ball into the bottom left corner, sending Stekelenburg the wrong way from the spot.
52 min: Well, what now? It was a bit of a dive from Brocchi as there wasn't enough contact from Kjaer to send him flying as he did, but the defender was foolish to put his arm out and give the referee a decision to make.
53 min: Roma bring on Nicolas Burdisso for Perrotta. He'll go into central defence.
54 min: Cisse allows a high ball from right to left to go over his head and into the path of Klose, whose right-footed volley across goal is tipped aside by Stekelenburg. Amazingly a goal-kick is awarded. Why so modest, keeper?
56 min: Osvaldo nicks the ball around Biava, who appears to foul him, but no free-kick is given. Osvaldo is furious, especially as he would have been clean through.
59 min: Alvaro Gonzalez has a thigh injury and won't be able to continue.
60 min: Lulic goes on a mazy, swerving run inside from the left which ends with a wayward shot from the edge of the area. With that, Stefano Mauri comes on for Gonzalez.
62 min: It's going to be all Lazio for the rest of this one, but Roma are dangerous on the break. The despicable Brocchi is booked for a late reducer on Gago, who looks pained.
63 min: A couple of stepovers and a blistering turn of pace from Osvaldo dupes Lulic, who's left for dead by the striker on the right. The cross, fizzed right across the face of goal, isn't too bad either, but no Roma player is there for a simple tap-in, Bojan hanging back towards the penalty spot.
66 min: "Apropos nothing, I like Roma because I nearly bought one of their strips once, although I decided against it because the top was skinny-fit (and I'm not a well-oiled six pack Italian type)," says Ryan Dunne. "That said, Lazio's giant eagle is also cool. What's a neutral to do?" Hate both.
68 min: Hernanes casually strolls past Cassetti and whacks the ball into the six-yard box. Er, where are the Lazio strikers?
70 min: Lazio hit the bar! Ledesma sends a deep corner from the left to the far post and Klose beats De Rossi to loop a header back across goal. Time seems to stand still for a moment, but the ball clatters off the top of the bar and away to safety.
71 min: If only it was a World Cup game. Klose would have had a hatful by now. Just like the Roma goal, Hernanes scoops a nifty pass through to Klose, but he loses his composure completely and wallops a dreadful volley on to the running track. Roma are too open now. Luis Enrique has to change it.
72 min: Cisse is booked for playing on after the flag had gone up for offside. Robin van Persie will approve.
74 min: Luis Enrique does change it and David Pizarro comes on for Bojan.
75 min: "How is Kjaer's name pronounced I wonder?" asks Christopher Faherty. "Luckily I haven't had the opportunity to embarrass myself yet by having to say his name, but it's something that I've been thinking about since I became aware of him a few years ago. Is it "Ky-er", "Key-air"? No need to Pjanic if you don't get the chance to answer this etc." Just go down the Merse route - well, not all the way down the Merse route - and call him the big Danish lad at the back.
76 min: Brocchi, who won the penalty for Lazio, is replaced by Matuzalem, who has a preposterous Raul Meireles-esque haircut.
78 min: Hernanes is tormenting the hapless Cassetti. Now he nutmegs him, goes down and sees the Roma right-back booked. The free-kick is a flagrant disgrace.
80 min: Lazio haven't really done enough since the red card for Kjaer. Barring a few hairy moments here and there, Roma have been fairly comfortable. But then Lazio do have Djibril Cisse up front.
82 min: By which I mean Djibril Cisse is very obviously one of the best strikers in Europe. He has just nearly scored what would have been the goal of the season, no debate about it. A chipped ball finds him on the right of Roma's area, and he lets it drop over his shoulder, before banging a wondrous right-footed volley on to the left post. The ball comes rebounds back but too quickly for Klose to do anything with the rebound. What a goal that would have been, but for the second time Lazio have been denied by the woodwork.
83 min: Jose Angel bursts through Lazio's paper-thin defence on the left, but such was the surprise factor of his run, no Roma player had got up in support and his chipped cross into the six-yard box from the byline is utterly harmless. A lighter touch and he could have shot.
86 min: A marvellous tackle from Heinze stops Cisse winning it for Lazio. Cisse was played through again and this time seemed certain to belt the ball home with his left boot, only for Heinze to come out of nowhere and block it behind with a last-ditch sliding challenge.
87 min: Lazio are a shameful rabble at the back at times. Atrocious defending from Konko almost costs them the game. He tried to let a ball run out for a goal-kick, but the excellent Jose Angel wouldn't let him. He kept it in play, Osvaldo backheeled it back to him, and Angel tried to roll it across for Pjanic. Again it just wouldn't fall for him.
89 min: This has been a breathless match, end-to-end with so many chances for both sides. On the left, Lulic feints to cross, steps past Cassetti and then sees his right-footed curler towards the far corner tipped aside by Stekelenburg.
90 min+2: "Kjaer," says Matthew Charlesworth. "Pretty sure it's pronounced 'Cher'."
AND THIS HAS TO BE THE WINNER!!! Lazio 2-1 Roma (Klose, 90 min+3): With the final kick of the match, Klose wins it for Lazio! After all their hard work, it's awful defending from Roma. Matuzalem found space just outside the area, and just dinked an aimless pass into the area. But Klose took advantage of non-existent marking to turn it into something, taking the ball down and then as all of Rome held its breath, he just calmly stroked the ball into the bottom-right corner. What an astonishingly composed finish, as if he was back at the World Cup. Lazio go crazy. Luis Enrique can barely believe it. He can barely stand up. He looks devastated.
Peep! Peep! Peep! And there is the final whistle. Lazio have won the Rome derby for the first time for ages. Edy Reja leads the celebrations and well he might. Roma will complain about the sending off for Simon Kjaer. They may have a point. As for me, I just enjoyed a cracking, chaotic match. Who says Serie A is boring?