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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

AS Roma

22.09.2013 SERIE A 2013/2014
AS Roma - Lazio 2:0

Still few hours before the kick off no tension, normally featuring a derby match, was felt in the Eternal City. In the city centre though, in various places one could find some traces of the Legia Warsaw fans’ visit – “L” (Legia’s emblem) stickers on the traffic lights pole and empty “Krolewskie” beer cans on the street proved the Europe’s League match vs. Lazio had been held just a few days before the Rome derby.
The taxi driver who picked us up from Piazza di San Pietro baldly asked us which team we supported and it was pretty clear we would have had to leave his car if the reply had been any different than “AS Roma”. Police was very generous to the taxis that afternoon hence despite a number of limited access areas underway, we got off in the direct proximity of Stadio Olimpico.
The tickets had been thoroughly checked against identity cards at the gates and soon we could enjoy the stadium view from our sector. One of the first observations was tens if not hundreds of fans wearing AS Roma jerseys with Totti’s name on the back. It appeared prophetic though – the team's captain played an outstanding role in the game and his superb performance was rewarded with a standing ovation by the audience as he was leaving the pitch (deliberately substituted by the coach) few minutes before the final whistle.
The crowds at the stadium were gathering slowly, good looking girls (see photos) were skilfully guiding the guests to their seats in the VIP sectors. Despite the forecasted sell-out, the attendance was ca. 55 thousand hence good several thousand seats were left unoccupied.
Just before the kick off, a few firemen watered the racecourse behind both goals for preventive reasons. It was much easier then to extinguish the flares thrown by the fans.
The first half was disappointing: AS Roma started the game at a sluggish pace whereas Lazio (who reportedly played the substitute squad against Legia in the match referred to above, to save the key players’ stamina for the derby) completely failed. Klose, left alone in the front line, had hardly any goal opportunities whereas the Lazio’s midfield practically did not exist. Lady Boredom was increasingly wheedling the audience at the end of the first half. Luckily enough and for the sake of the competition quality and Roma’s performance in particular, Adem Ljajic substituted Allessandro Florenzi in 51st minute and completely changed the flow of the game for his team. It was mainly thanks to the Serb, along with living through his second youth Totti and enormously dynamic Maicon on the right side of the pitch, that the hosts enjoyed the triumph over their local rivals. Lajlic’s crowning achievement was a goal from penalty kick for 2:0 in the extra time.
The Lazio fans definitely deserved some praise for an impressive arrangement at the beginning of the match – they rushed in their sectors shortly after the kick off to mark their presence and support even more distinctly. They greeted the Lazio players after the game was over – the next opportunity to prove their superiority on the pitch will come as early as spring – again at the same stadium shared by both Rome teams.