One of the fiercest Derby matches in European football will take place on Sunday night and all eyes will be on the Rome capital as Lazio and Rome do battle.
The stakes are already set high for Sunday night Derby Della Capitale as both sides are scrapping for a top three place and the right for automatic qualification for the Champions League. Lazio sit third ahead of city rivals only on goal difference and just behind them is Inter Milan who are just one point behind both Roman teams.
Lazio have been in good form going into the derby after the international break, winning three out of the four games played in two competitions. Wins against Benevento where Lazio hit 6 and a crucial away at Udinese after going 1-0 down to a Kevin Lasagna goal. That was sandwiched in between an exciting Europa League Quarterfinal clash with Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg. Lazio won the first leg 4-2 and hopes were high after Ciro Immobile put Lazio ahead on the night and 5-2 on aggregate. Then it fell apart for Lazio, the home side equalised straight away and then hit Lazio with a sucker punch and scoring three goals in 4 second half minutes and advancing 6-5 on aggregate to the Europa League.
For Roma, the league form has been patchy at best since the international break. Picked up a fortunate 1-1 draw away at Bologna and then the following Saturday were done 2-0 at home by Fiorentina. Safe to say Eusebio Di Francesco and his players had the Barcelona game on their mind and it showed. Roma were defeated in the Nou Camp 4-1 , that included two own goals from Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas. But on Tuesday night at the Stadio Olimpico, the unthinkable happened Roma overturned the tie and won the game 3-0 and advanced to the semi-final of the Champions league to take on Liverpool. Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi penalty and Kostas Manolas late header sent the Stadio Olimpico into wild scenes.
Eusebio Di Francesco changed his tactics to a 3-4-2-1 and attacked Barcelona and it worked, Roma played without any fear and they will need to replicate that on Sunday night against Lazio. The race for third place is hotting up in Serie A.
Lazio last won a home Derby Della Capitale was in November 2012
Roma have won 5 out of the last 6 Serie A Derby Della Capitale
Both sides met in last year Coppa Italia semi-final with Lazio going through 4-3 on aggregate. Lazio did break Roma winning streak of Rome derby victories last April with a brilliant 3-1 away win thanks to a tactical masterclass from coach Simone Inzaghi.
This is going to be an intriguing battle and this result will define who will finish in the top three. Expect fireworks and bad temper on the pitch and colour in stands with a display of choreography from both sets of fans in the Curva’s.