The two most anticipated matches of the last Serie A round, Milan-Napoli and Lazio-Roma, failed to deliver in the terms of scoring, but they were still vibrant and certainly did not lack action. The Derby of the Italian Capital was a little more hard-fought.
The two sides arrived at the game in a completely different mood after the European efforts: Roma trampled Barcelona in an historical upset and gained access to the Champions League semi-finals, while Lazio wasted away a good lead with a five-minutes black-out against Red Bulls Salzburg, squandering a qualification that was within reach. They were tied in third place in the standings, one point above Inter.
Simone Inzaghi this time picked Felipe Anderson over Luis Alberto as Ciro Immobile’s partner and then deployed his best XI. On the other hand, Eusebio Di Francesco stuck with a new-looking 3-4-1-2 that had success against the Blaugrana and suits Patrik Schick better. However, the doomed season of the Czech’s striker continued.
The Biancocelesti had a more vehement start, creating two decent chances, both with Marco Parolo, who fired one over the bar and then failed to properly latch onto a juicy ball by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the box. Then it was Roma’s turn to miss a pair of good ones: Radja Nainggolan perfectly set up Bruno Peres on a backdoor cut, but the Brazilian’s cross-shot died on the far post. Few minutes later, Edin Dzeko did not connect on a low cross by Aleksandar Kolarov in the six-yard box.
The first chances of the second half were less clear-cut: the subs Cengiz Under and Luis Alberto both came fairly close with strikes from distance. The Turkish starlet then caused Stefan Radu’s second yellow card with ten minutes to go. Lazio still produced one good opportunity, with Adam Marusic concluding in the box after a poor touch by Kolarov, but the ball whistled wide right. In the stoppage time, Dzeko had two strong headers to win it, but one was brilliantly parried away by Thomas Strakosha and the other hit the bar.
The two clubs remain engaged in a close battle with Inter for a Champions League spot, while Milan did not make any ground behind them, so it will likely stay a three-team fight down the stretch.
Since there was no goal, the back-lines feasted in the fantasy game: Alisson and Strakosha were the top earners with seven points, followed by all defenders, but Luiz Felipe and Juan Jesus due to yellow cards, with five and obviously Radu. Most of the midfielders collected two points.
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