Thursday Jul 31, 2014  
  02/03/2012: On the Derby Della Capitale
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One of the most eagerly anticipated Derby’s of Italian football is upon us once more this weekend as Lazio take on bitter city rivals AS Roma in the world famous Derby della Capitale.

Despite either club dominating Europe in recent years, the encounter remains as big as ever, and with both teams having a turbulent season on and off the field, it is gearing up to be quite a spectacle.

As a fan, you find yourself overwhelmed and completely engulfed by the sheer terror that it is for a supporter to watch such a match. Many writers will try and explain the feeling, but unless you are a fan of either club involved, it is very hard to describe how important this match is.

Rome is a hugely populated city with most of its inhabitants supporting either Lazio or AS Roma. The fact that both teams are well supported in the city and the region, and that both declare themselves to be the only true team of Rome, makes this fixture a lot more significant than others.

Many writers will hold no punches when it comes to talking about the trouble that this match generates, but if you know how passionate the Romans are about their football, you would understand why riot’s and crowd trouble are rife when the two teams come together.

Going into Sundays match, the Biancoceleste will be glad to have the controversy surrounding coach Edy Reja and Claudio Lotito behind them. Despite losing to AS Roma in Reja’s first four attempts as coach, the 66 year old had his first taste of Derby victory in this season’s earlier encounter and will be looking for another scalp this time around.

After consecutive defeats and an injury list as long as the River Tiber, the Biancoceleste got back to winning ways against Fiorentina last weekend, boosting the teams morale for this Sundays main event.

AS Roma however come into the Derby having suffered back to back defeats to Siena and Atalanta and it is evident there is tension amongst the camp. Lazio will be looking to take advantage of this and with a few players nearing full fitness, are confident they can achieve back to back Derby wins.

Despite lack of a full strength squad to play on Sunday, Reja has also had to see some of his players take up International duty. The tactician has admitted he is worried about the players who have taken part in the midweek friendlies.
Tomasso Rocchi and Lorik Cana are still no nearer to first team action and join Christian Brocchi, Marius Stankevicius and Senad Lulic on the sidelines. Good news for Laziale is that Stefano Mauri is set to start and Stefan Radu is nearing full fitness, along with Abdoulay Konko.

After Sunday’s match, we will have a clearer idea as to whether Reja and his squad can challenge for Champions League qualification. The Biancocelesti have to take advantage of Roma’s poor form and come through this match as winners if they are to keep the pressure on Udinese.

Though as of Sunday, the league standings count for nothing. This is more than a fixture. It is the Derby della Capitale. It is a matter of life and death for the supporters of both clubs.

(Ben Lally)
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