It’s not particularly usual for a Serie A match to be played on a Monday evening, but this isn’t an ordinary encounter. The Roma-Lazio derby, taking place tonight at the Stadio Olimpico, is a fixture which always courts controversy. Rescheduled due to Lazio’s European adventures, only three points currently separate the sides, with the Biancoceleste in pole position for a spot in Europe. For Roma, hopes of making the Champions’ League are fading fast but the side could still get a shot at silverware next year if it finishes high enough to challenge for Italy’s domestic trophy, the Tim Cup.
Despite fans grumbling that the game has been moved to a Monday night to dissuade some supporters from turning up, it’s likely to be a full house and a typically chaotic affair. If you factor in the little love lost between the two rival fan groups, plus a public transport strike, the streets around the stadium will become a no-go area for the city’s citizens tonight. When Roma plays Lazio, the tang of tear gas is never very far away.
It’s nine years since one of the most memorable derbies in the history of this clash, when the game was abandoned due a rumour spreading through the curva that a young football fan had been killed by police outside the ground. If you want to take a peek into history, I reported on the game at that time for cult football magazine, When Saturday Comes (see link below). Let’s hope tonight’s derby doesn’t slide into quite such drama…
Words and photos © Isobel Lee