Lazio vs AS Roma, final score 0-0: Roma's title challenge hits the skids with derby stalemate

Paolo Bruno

Lazio and AS Roma played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. As a result, Roma fail to make up vital ground on league leaders Juventus in the race for the Scudetto.

Roma missed a golden opportunity to cut the nine point gap between them and Juventus at the Serie A summit. Lazio end Roma's run of six straight victories in league and cup, with Edy Reja stretching his unbeaten Serie A record to six games since replacing Vladimir Petkovic over Christmas.

Both teams set up with attacking 4-3-3 formations. Lazio were without the suspended Lucas Biglia, while Ederson and new signing Helder Postiga were injured. Etrit Berisha continued to keep Federico Marchetti out of the Lazio goal. Abdoulay Konko and Andre Dias shook off injuries to start.

Captain Stefano Mauri was back on the Lazio bench for the first time since May's Coppa Italia triumph, following a successful appeal to reduce a ban for failing to report alleged match fixing from 2011.

Roman natives Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi and Francesco Totti all started for the Giallorossi. Miralem Pjanic came in for Radja Nainggolan and Vassilis Torosidis continued to deputise at left back with both Federico Balzaretti and Dodo out injured.

Konko intercepted Pjanic's attempt to cut back for Gervinho inside the opening minutes. With 16 dismissals in the last 11 derbies, unsurprisingly, the tackles were flying in from the first whistle. De Rossi was lucky not to be carded for a scissors challenge on Senad Lulic. There wasn't much force in the challenge, which is why the Roma player got off with a stern warning.

Morgan De Sanctis tipped clear an Antonio Candreva cross with Miroslav Klose ready to pounce at the far post. Roma missed the game's first real chance on 15 minutes. Maicon flighted a cross for Florenzi to sidefoot his volley wide from a tight angle.

Moments later, Keita Balde's pinpoint cross was posied for Klose's head until Leandro Castan jumped to head clear. Klose was causing problems. Mehdi Benatia cut out a through ball, but the German won back the ball and was hacked down by the defender to draw a yellow card. Benatia almost netted at the other end, turning Totti's free kick over from close range.

Roma had a goal chalked off on 25 minutes. Berisha parried Maicon's rocket and Gervinho deposited the rebound, but play was called back for a marginal offside decision on the Ivorian striker. Berisha got down well to stop Totti's volley after the veteran seized on a poor Konko clearance. Lulic was fortunate not to be booked for a painful studs on knee challenge on Maicon.

Ten minutes before the break, Lazio broke on the counter and Alvaro Gonzalez fired over from the edge of the box. Roma then enjoyed a brief dominant spell before half time. Maicon caught the Lazio defence napping as he played Pjanic in. The midfielder opted to take a touch and was crowded out in the penalty area. Gervinho's first touch let him down when he curled over in the box and Totti's screamer fizzed a couple of yards off target.

Mauri came on for the ineffective Keita at the start of the second half. The midfielder's first contribution was to scuff a weak shot straight at De Sanctis. Gervinho weaved his way into the penalty box and forced Berisha into a save at the near post, before Strootman assisted for Pjanic to hit his shot into the ground and see it roll inches wide of the post.

Totti tried to swerve his shot from distance, but the ball dipped too late for it to finish under the crossbar. Gervinho went on another run and poked a disappointing shot wide. Lazio's frustration came to the boil when Candreva was booked for a late tackle on De Rossi. The winger was lucky that an earlier push on Torosidis went unpunished. Roma introduced Michel Bastos to renew and refresh their attacking options.

Lazio threatened from a corner on 69 minutes. Stefan Radu just missed flicking Candreva's delivery inside the near post. Lazio's rearguard continued to frustrate Roma. Late in the game, Berisha rushed out to fist clear a Totti delivery and Lazio almost punished Roma on the counter. Substitute Ogenyi Onazi broke, but his through ball, which would have released Klose, was vitally intercepted by Torosidis.

In the final five minutes, Bastos wasted two glorious chances. The substitute took one touch too many in the box and Konko deflected his shot into the side netting. He got into the box once more, but didn't look up to see Mattia Destro pointing where he wanted the ball. Instead, Bastos rolled the ball across for Radu to clear. Lazio almost punished Roma in the final minute, but De Sanctis rushed out to tip clear from an advancing Klose.

Lazio: Berisha; Konko, Biava, Dias, Radu; Gonzalez, (Onazi 79) Ledesma, Lulic; Candreva, Klose, Keita (Mauri 46)

AS Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Torosidis; Pjanic, (Ljajic 79) De Rossi, Strootman; Florenzi, (Bastos 65) Totti, (Destro 82) Gervinho

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