Roma top Lazio in Rome derby, guarantee 2nd-place finish, Champions League spot


The Rome derby is always heated, tense and contentious, but not often is it a hugely important fixture in directly determining which of its two participants, Roma and Lazio, finishes ahead of the other, as was the case this time around.

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With the Roman neighbors separated by a single point ahead of Monday’s showdown at the two sides’ shared home, the Stadio Olimpico, not only was Serie A supremacy on the line, but also a guaranteed place in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League group stage. The loser would be relegated to the dreaded Champions League qualification playoff next August, in which they could face the likes of Manchester United, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen or Monaco.

Sadly, the occasion was marred before the game itself had even kicked off, as two unarmed Roma fans were stabbed outside the stadium. The two men were rushed to the hospital and reported to be in serious condition at the time.

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Once the game finally kicked off, much of its memorable action was saved until the final 20 minutes, when three goals in 12 minutes (below videos) brought the Derby della Capitale to life and provided a thrilling finish to Rome and Lazio’s battle for second.

Juan Iturbe and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa provided the goals for Roma, the latter the winner, nullifying Filip Djordjevic’s equalizer minutes earlier.

Lazio (66 points, Roma – 70) are still all but guaranteed a third-place finish, their highest the 2006-07 season, and Serie A’s Champions League playoff place, assuming they don’t lose on the final day of the season while Napoli (63) win and make up 13 goals against Lazio’s superior goal differential.