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Roma v Lazio Rivalry: Italy and Rome’s Serie A Rivals

derby-romaRoma and Lazio have one of the most emotional football rivalries in Serie A. The first derby of the Rome-based competition between the two teams occurred on 8 December 1929. Roma won 1-0 on a goal by Rodolfo Volk. Lazio’s first win, which happened on 23 October 1932, ended with a score of 2-1. The teams have met a total of 176 times.

Known by many names, including the Derby della Capitale and the Rome Derby, it is a sometime bitter intercity rivalry that has been marked by fans engaging in name-calling, racism, and other types of offensive behavior. The seeds of this enmity go back to when Roma was founded in 1927.

A three-team merger of Roman, Alba-Audace and Fortitudo created the Roma club. The deal to combine the teams, which was facilitated by Italo Foschi, was an attempt to create one unified football club in Rome that could compete with those in Northern Italy. Lazio, which was founded in 1900, was asked to become part of Roma but declined.

Both Roma and Lazio attract fans from specific areas of Rome. Each fan base is devoted to cheering for the team that they feel is the very best in the region. This focus on regional dominance fuels fan energies, as the fight between Roma and Lazio is seen as being a battle for both local bragging rights and the power to represent the region in the battle against the traditional Serie A powerhouse clubs. These clubs, which are all located in the North, are Juventus, A.C. Milan and Inter.

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Statistics and Records

In 176 matches, Roma leads the derby with 65 wins. Lazio has earned 43 victories and there have been 63 ties. The biggest margin of victory was a 5-0 win by Roma during the 1933-34 season, while Lazio enjoyed its largest winning margin, 3-0, in the 2006-2007 season.

Although Lazio has less wins in the derby, they do hold the record for most wins in one season. In 1997-1998, they won four derbies, including two league matches and two Copa Italia quarter-final matches. The wins were primarily commanding, as they took the regular season matches 3-1 and 2-0. The quarter-final results were a resounding 4-1 victory and a solid 2-1 win.

In the one Cup Final match in which the two teams have met, the title went to Lazio. The club won that closely fought derby 1-0. It was played on 26 May 2013.

Leading scorers in the Derby della Capitale are primarily from Roma. These include Francesco Totti and Dino da Costa, both with 11 goals, and Marco Delvecchio and Vincenzo Montella, with nine and eight goals respectively. The top scorer for Lazio is Silvio Piola, who has put in seven, while Roma’s Rodolfo Volk has also scored the same number.

Important Games, Players and Managers

A hallmark game between these two clubs occurred recently on 26 May 2013. It was in the finals of the Coppa Italia. The game started at a frenetic pace, which resulted in both Cristian Ledesma and Federico Balzaretti receiving bookings.

Both teams missed golden opportunities to take an early lead. Lazio’s Miroslav Klose shot the ball into the side of the net after Roma lost control. A bit later Roma’s Michael Bradley had a great chance after receiving a fine pass, but his shot trickled by the side of the goal.

In the first half, Giallorossi looked to be the club that would score first, but Lazio eventually did a fine job of only allowing low-percentage long shots. Klose had another opportunity, but lost the ball. By the half, as the teams headed off the pitch, five players had received cards.

In the second half, there was bound to be a goal scored at some point and the aggressive Roma club looked like it might do it. But they could not decipher nor navigate Le Aquile’s defense. Lazio took over and with 19 minutes left in normal time Senad Lulic scored on a far-post tap-in. That goal, despite a concerted effort by Roma to tie the game, would stand up as Lazio won their sixth Coppa Italia.

This deep-seated rivalry has induced some fans to act in an extreme manner. Such fans, who are known as ultras, will often engage in aggressive, violent behavior. One of the worst incidents occurred on 21 March 2004 during a derby. With the game tied 0-0, a riot started in the stands. There had been trouble in the streets outside the stadium and police had used teargas to control crowds. It was rumored that a boy had been killed by a police car during the melee. Although this was false, it agitated fans even more.

As fans in the stadium got more and more out of control, Roma’s captain Totti asked that the derby be called. Adriano Galliani, Italian Football League President, was reached quickly and ordered the game stopped four minutes into the second half. It was replayed one week later with no incident and ended in a 1-1 tie.

High Emotions and Confrontation

Lazio’s ultra fans have incorporated a variety of inappropriate behaviors, including using swastikas and fascist symbols on their banners and exhibiting racist behavior during matches. Roma also has its share of ultra fans. Neither club embraces or condones the types of inappropriate behaviors in which the Lazio ultras have participated. This is a rivalry that runs deep throughout Rome and its various neighborhoods, making the pitch an unpredictable and, sometimes, dangerous place to be.

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