REPORT: AS ROMA VS LAZIO - MKHITARYAN AND PEDRO END LAZIO'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HOPES
AS Roma edged out rivals Lazio 2-0 in the Rome derby thanks to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro. The result mathematically ended Lazio’s hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Juventus’ win over Inter Milan earlier in the day meant that Lazio needed all three points to be in with a shout but their performance was very underwhelming given the stakes. The first half was a cagey affair with little quality in the final third.
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) May 15, 2021
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had the best chance of the half for Lazio when played through deliciously by Luis Alberto. However, in his attempt to chip the Roma goalkeeper, he shinned the ball well off target. Alberto was the best player in blue on the night but he could not inspire his side to the win.
Mkhitaryan broke the deadlock just before the break following good work from Edin Dzeko down the left hand side. After the break, though it was all Roma. Lazio were not incisive enough in their passing to break down the Giallorossi defence and Paulo Fonseca’s side had plenty of opportunities on the counter attack.
Pedro took one of these to put the result beyond doubt when he struck a shot cutting in from the left easily past the Lazio goalkeeper. Acerbi was sent off late on for Lazio, curbing all threat of a comeback and the game was comfortably seen out. Here are our key takeaways from the match –
At times, Edin Dzeko looked like an isolated island in the first 45. The Roma backline dropped deep and he had no one to knock the ball down or flick it on to. An injury ravaged Roma side was finding it hard to find any sort of rhythm.
However, Dzeko is not counted among the past decade’s best strikers without reason. Just before half time he ran onto Stephen El-Sharaawy’s through ball to the byline and turned in a cross for Mkhitaryan to tap into an open net. The Lazio defence were statuesque, waiting for the ball to go out of play but Dzeko’s endeavour brought the opener.
Simone Inzaghi’s men were once again lethargic in their defending for the second goal. The Lazio defence backed off Pedro allowing him plenty of space and time to measure up his finish.
The former Barcelona man made no mistake, placing his shot well out of reach of Pepe Reina in the Lazio goal. This sort of lazy defending was a theme throughout the second half as Roma time and again broke free but lacked the cutting edge and were unlucky to not score more.
THIRD CHOICE KEEPER SHINES
Despite Roma being the better team comfortably, Lazio did manage to create some chances of their own. Ciro Immobile had two great half chances that he created for himself but he was denied by the man in the Roma goal – Daniel Fuzato.
⏱️ HT | Roma 1⃣-0⃣ Lazio
📊 Top rated players
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 15, 2021
It has been a remarkable turnaround for Fuzato who is actually the third choice for the Giallorossi. Injuries to Pau Lopez and Antonio Mirante have thrust him into the spotlight and he certainly proved his mettle on Saturday. A sharp save from a Immobile flick from a cross was backed up by a great 1-v-1 block from the Italian striker.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 15, 2021
Lazio will be disappointed to miss out on Champions League football once again but they need to pull themselves up and finish the season strongly to maintain a positive atmosphere through the summer. For Roma, it was a happy ending in Fonseca’s last home game before Jose Mourinho takes over this summer.