AS Roma (@Erik_ASR)
There are fewer matches played with more emotion than a derby and fewer still as hotly contested as the Derby della Capitale. It was not so long ago that when you thought of Italy‚Äôs capital and football, joining the two would naturally bring you to conjur up images of crimson reds and golden yellows. But in recent years, SS Lazio have become a sporting powerhouse of their own rights, not only finishing above their neighbors in the table, but raising above mid-table obscurity to compete in prestigious European competitions.
This season has started off differently. At the moment, Napoli and Roma are the only two teams in Serie A to have claimed all three points in their opening three matches. Roma have now extended that lead by ending a three year wait to beat Lazio in the capital‚Äôs derby match at the Stadio Olimpico. They now sit atop of the Serie A table with all twelve points from the first four matches of their season.
The Giallorossi had recently lost the Coppa Italia final to their sworn enemies in May, having failed to win the derby in the previous four attempts as well, but under the leadership of new manager Rudi Garcia, bragging rights of the Eternal City belong to the wolves.
Victory came in the form of two second half golas from Federico Balzaretti and Adem Ljajic.
The fixture was of particular importance to defender Federico Balzaretti, who had a horrid run out during the Coppa Italia match and has been haunted by the memory of the match up ever since. The fullback found vindication as he scored Roma‚Äôs opening goal in the 63rd minute. Scoring proved too overwhelming for him as the Italy international celebrated finding the back of the net with tears of joy.
Balzaretti told Mediaset and Roma Channel, ‚ÄúI felt such incredible joy and emotion. This doesn‚Äôt happen every day. I tend to score once every four years, so to do it in the derby ‚Äď so much went through my head at that moment.‚ÄĚ
New signing Adem Ljajic sealed the victory for Roma when Andre Dias was shown a red card for a needless foul and the Serbian international duly tucked away his penalty. The three points makes it twelve from Roma‚Äôs four matches.
They will only be joined at the top of the table should Napoli (who have won three out of three) manage to beat title contenders AC Milan later this evening.