Poor goalkeeping contributes to 1-1 draw in Rome derby

January 26, 2020

ROME (AP) — Questionable goalkeeping contributed to a 1-1 draw in the derby between Roma and Lazio on Sunday - a result that dented Lazio’s Italian league title hopes and left Roma hanging precariously on to the final Champions League spot.

First, Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha charged forward to grab a high ball but misjudged his timing, allowing Roma striker Edin Džeko to connect first with a header from near the penalty spot that went over the keeper's head and bounced off the post into the empty net.

Then Roma counterpart Pau Lopez punched a corner away above his goal but the ball bounced back down onto the crossbar and off the head of Roma defender Chris Smalling, allowing Lazio center back Francesco Acerbi to knock it in.

“It’s something that can happen. It was just an unfortunate situation,” Roma coach Paulo Fonseca said.

Lazio remained third after seeing its 11-match winning streak end but missed out on a chance to pull level with second-place Inter Milan, which was held 1-1 by Cagliari earlier.

Roma remained fourth, moving just one point ahead of high-scoring Atalanta.

Roma controlled for much of the match and created many more chances, while Lazio seemed content to rely on sporadic counterattacks.

“I’m happy because with the way the guys performed it fills me with pride,” Fonseca said. “We played a great match.”

Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini hit the post with a long-range effort before halftime.

Roma had a penalty waved off by VAR at the start of the second half after contact between Giallorossi forward Justin Kluivert and Patric. The video reviewers ruled that Kluivert ran into Patric.

“Tonight Roma did better than us,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “We were fortunate to come away with this point. We made a lot of technical mistakes.”

In a typically lively encounter, fans of both clubs revealed colorful pre-match choreography.

Roma supporters unveiled a huge banner featuring the club’s logo with the city’s founders Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf. Below, a banner read “I have this emblem in my veins. This emblem belongs to me.”

Lazio fans responded with an array of lights and a reproduction of Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling featuring the near-touching hands of God and Adam, with a banner that read, “Lazio doesn’t come from... Lazio is!”

The first Rome derby this season in September also ended 1-1.