You are not defeated when you lose. You are defeated when you quit. We don’t quit. We keep going and working hard, full focus on Cesena? pic.twitter.com/mf2ii1cI3g
— Edin Džeko (@EdDzeko) January 30, 2017
AS Roma are having a wonderful season. Winning the Scudetto may not be possible with Juventus going strong at the top of the table, but finishing second in the Serie A is certainly possible. Napoli are hot on their heels in third, but there are enough games for Luciano Spalletti’s side to stretch the gap between themselves and the Naples outfit.
The Giallorossi, though, are on the verge of getting knocked out of the Coppa Italia. Roma lost the first leg of the semi-final tie against bitter city rivals Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico 2-0 on March 1. It was the first time since 2013 that Lazio had defeated them, with goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile doing the trick.
On paper, it would seem to some that Lazio should be favourites to go through. Even if they concede an early goal in the second leg, they could go ultra-defensive and play with ten men behind the ball and progress to the semi-finals. In fact, the latest betting odds on bet365 rate Roma’s chances of winning the match at 10/11; Lazio’s chances are 11/4. However, this is the Derby della Capitale, one of the biggest derbies in the world, and anything is possible.
As the old saying goes, in a derby, the form book goes out of the window. Can Roma stage a comeback in the second leg and win it 3-0? Yes, it is certainly possible. A two-goal deficit is not hard to overhaul. Moreover, back in December, the Lupi beat Lazio 2-0 in Serie A.
Edin Dzeko is Key
For Roma to get the better of Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in the second leg in April, Edin Dzeko will have to be on top of his game. The former Manchester City striker will be a key figure in the encounter, and one should not be surprised if he scores a couple of goals. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international has found the net 21 times in 29 Serie A matches so far this season and has been in stunning form.
For Dzeko to weave his magic inside the Lazio penalty box, Mohamed Salah has to provide crosses accurately and Radja Nainggolan needs to create chances. The former VfL Wolfsburg striker is very confident at the moment, and Roma should play to his strength.
Having won the first leg, Lazio will understandably fancy their chances of going through. With 27-year-old Italy international striker Ciro Immobile showing the kind of form that saw him earn a move to Borussia Dortmund in Torino for £15.5 million and Stefan de Vrij looking world-class at centre-back, Simone Inzaghi’s side will head into the match with confidence.
However, Roma have a better team, and the players will be fired up to get the better of their bitter rivals. Club legend Francesco Totti knows all about such big games, and the 40-year-old attacker will be motivating the team to raise their game. One should not surprise if the second leg ends 3-0 in favour of Spalletti’s side.