Few derbies come more impassioned than the rivalry between fans of AS Roma and Lazio in Italy. The game between the two this weekend was no different and set among a disturbing backdrop there was little doubt this game would become something of a war on the pitch.
As anyone who saw Real Madrid playing in a swamp or Jorge Lorenzo scuttling off the track in Valencia much of the continent has had to deal with heavy rain this weekend and mother nature was not about to give the Italian capital a break. The Stadio Olimpico was drenched with rainfall for the majority of the day which was always going to make an already highly competitive game an even more difficult proposition for the two sets of players.
Then there was the unfortunately predictable crowd trouble. Tributes before the match to Gabriele Sandri, a Lazio fan who was tragically killed by a stray police bullet five years ago, did very little to quell the fans desire to get at each other. Reports of a Roma fan being stabbed and Molotov cocktail’s being thrown highlights the sometimes poisonous vitriol shared between the capital clubs on derby day.
The game itself was also fuelled with incident. There was a floodlight failure in the first period. Roma keeper Mauro Goicoechea struggled in the slippery conditions and the opneing goal by Erik Lamela was controversially allowed despite a push on Senad Lulic.
In the end the game ended 10 v 10 and 3-2 to Lazio with the performance of the atmosphere-opposite ice cool Miroslav Klose the difference between the two teams.
The games main talking point however will be the sending off for Roma captain and Manchester City transfer target Daniele De Rossi. The lifelong Roma player and fan allowed the occasion to get to him when he lashed out with a left hook on his over-amorous marker Stefano Mauri, who himself was sent off late on.
The incident was met by widespread disapproval in Italy as what was already an intense game was heightened by the violent petulance on offer from one of the Italian games stalwart midfielders.
As a result he has been omitted from the most recent Azzuri squad and publically dressed down by head coach Zdenek Zeman.
Considering what has already been a tumultuous couple of months for the midfielder including losing his place in the team and upsetting fans with comments about the Giallorossi’s chances of Serie A success his most recent mishap may prove the final nail in his coffin and the opening of the door to The Etihad.
Here is the red-card in question…