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Coppa Italia: Lazio Beat Roma 2-0

Lazio took a major step towards the Coppa Italia final with a hard-fought first-leg semi-final win over rivals Roma.

The light blue side had the best of the opening 45 minutes, and got a deserved goal when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fired into the roof of the net just before the half-hour.

In an end-to-end game, Lazio earned a potentially crucial second when Ciro Immobile slid in from close range on 78 minutes.

The winners go on to play against Juventus or Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico in May. The Aquile were technically the ‘home’ side for this leg, but had Federico Marchetti injured, Stefan Radu, Senad Lulic and Patric suspended. The Giallorossi rested Daniele De Rossi and Wojciech Szczesny for Leandro Paredes and Alisson Becker.

The Coppa Italia Derby della Roma record was perfectly even with three wins apiece, however, Lazio won the Final in May 2013 thanks to a Lulic strike. That was also the most recent derby won by the Aquile, following it up with two draws and five defeats, including the last four on the bounce going into this evening.

It took less than two minutes for the first big chance, as Edin Dzeko’s volley was deflected over the bar by Wallace. At the other end, Marco Parolo’s cross-shot almost resulted in an own goal charged down to go inches wide.

Alisson did well to palm a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic header off the line and had his gloves stung by a Ciro Immobile strike after a smart Milinkovic-Savic flick.

The last Derby della Capitale in December was followed by the ugly racist comments made by Lulic about Antonio Rudiger and the Lazio fans took it upon themselves to continue that with monkey noises whenever the defender got the ball. An announcement was read over the tannoy system threatening to suspend the game if it continued.

Lazio took the lead when Felipe Anderson burst past Federico Fazio down the right and pulled back from the by-line for Milinkovic-Savic to fire into the roof of the net from seven yards.

Roma could’ve equalised within 60 seconds, but Dzeko’s header skimmed the crossbar. Immobile wasted a couple of promising counter-attacks and Marco Parolo was booked, meaning he’ll be suspended for the second leg.

After the break, Kostas Manolas made a decisive tackle on Immobile and Parolo’s follow-up skimmed the woodwork. Mohamed Salah went even closer moments later, his fierce strike from just inside the box thumping the near post.

Immobile did have the ball in the net, but only after being flagged offside. Stephan El Shaarawy had the chance to draw level, but attempted an audacious acrobatic volley and just kicked it into the ground.

Lazio doubled their lead when Keita Balde Diao sprinted past Manolas to roll across from the by-line and Rudiger mistimed the interception, allowing Immobile to tap in from four yards.

Roma fought back immediately, Thomas Strakosha needing his first genuinely difficult save on Emerson, but Lazio remained dangerous on the counter throughout the final stages with Keita’s pace and the Giallorossi had a period of constant pressure without real chances.