Lorenzo Pellegrini came off the bench and transformed Roma’s 3-1 win over Lazio with a back-heel goal, an assist and earning Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick.
The Giallorossi beat Frosinone 4-0 on Wednesday, but were still under a lot of pressure as it was their only win since the opening weekend. Edin Dzeko returned with the 4-2-3-1 formation moving Alessandro Florenzi to a more advanced role. Lazio had won five in a row in all competition, but Stefan Radu was injured, so Martin Caceres was chosen for the defence.
There has now been only one draw between these sides since January 2015, with Roma winning seven and Lazio two.
Ciro Immobile had an early volley charged down from a corner, while Luis Alberto also saw his attempt deflected wide on a Senad Lulic counter.
It was all Lazio in the opening stages, Adam Marusic and another Immobile volley deflected over the bar, but Roma finally woke up after 20 minutes.
Luis Alberto tried to pull back rather than shoot from six yards, sparking a counter that saw Thomas Strakosha deny Edin Dzeko’s angled drive at the near post. Moments later, Strakosha stuck out a foot to stop Javier Pastore scoring from an identical move.
Robin Olsen fingertipped Immobile’s turn and shot round the post, while at the other end Luiz Felipe made a goal-saving last-ditch tackle on Florenzi. From the resulting corner, Daniele De Rossi just failed to reach Steven Nzonzi’s knockdown at full stretch.
Roma really should’ve taken the lead on 32 minutes when De Rossi’s cross found El Shaarawy unmarked at the back post, but he couldn’t decide whether to volley or control and somehow ended up doing neither, just watching the ball sail past him.
More problems for the Giallorossi, as Pastore limped off with a calf injury and made way for Lorenzo Pellegrini.
However, it proved pivotal, because Pellegrini opened the scoring just before half-time. A long ball was knocked down for El Shaarawy, who combined with Luiz Felipe got in the way of Strakosha and Pellegrini improvised with a back-heel flick into the empty net from eight yards.
Moments later, Immobile wasted a promising counter when an unlucky ricochet off his knee took the ball away from him.
Tension remained within the Roma ranks, as Dzeko openly argued with El Shaarawy for shooting rather than giving him the pass. Pellegrini’s low drive was smothered at the near stick, but Federico Fazio was caught napping on the edge of the area, allowing Immobile to pounce and place an angled drive into the far bottom corner. It was a terrible error from the Argentina international.
Moments later, Milan Badelj’s mistimed tackle on Pellegrini was just outside the box. From that free kick, Aleksandar Kolarov hit a missile that went through because the Lazio wall split in two. It means he has scored in the Derby della Capitale for both Roma and Lazio in his career.
Olsen fingertipped a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic long-range drive round the post, with Strakosha doing the same on a quickly-taken Kolarov free kick.
Fazio made up for that earlier howler with a goal, as he rose to nod a Pellegrini free kick into the far top corner.