The annual ‘Derby della Capitale’ is historically known for the tension between fans of the two Roman teams: heartfelt for those who win but even more for those who lose.
By Gea Villa and Camilla Ciallella / Contributors || Edited by Amber Alexander
ROME – Lazio team won the second derby of the season against Roma with a 1-0 win, and not since 2012 has the Formello-based team won two consecutive matches of the season against Roma, the Trigoria-based team.
The second-leg of the matches took place on March 19 after playing the first leg on Nov. 6 last year, when Lazio won with a 1-0 score at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. If the Lazio white-and-blue hero was midfielder Felipe Anderson during the first leg was, the star of the return leg was Mattia Zaccagni scoring a goal from outside the box at minute 65.
The second game was tense from the start, when at 31 minutes referee Davide Massa expelled Roger Ibanez from Roma after a double yellow card for fouls on opponents Felipe Anderson and Sergej Milinković-Savić. Shortly after, at 43 minutes, a brawl broke out between opposing benches, and athletic trainers Nuno Santos for Roma and Marco Ianni for Lazio were sent to the locker rooms. Towards the end of the match, two red cards were issued to Roma player Bryan Cristante and Lazio’s Adam Marušić for protesting against match director Massa over his refereeing choices.
Tension was also tangible in the stands between rival fans. Before the match, supporters of both Roma and Lazio teams had already clashed despite the numerous Italian police patrols and an officer injured near a bar on the Maresciallo Diaz riverfront from a firecracker.
Tension escalated when fans of the West Ham English team took part in the clashes. West Ham fans have been “twinned” with Lazio ultras for about six years and support each other in the most heartfelt matches.
This is not the first time that clashes between fans escalate into violence, arrests, or injuries, which is why police cars are specifically called to patrol the city in the days before, during, and after the derby.
Last November, right-wing ultras of Roma were arrested shortly before the start of the Roma-Lazio first derby: police found a bat, knife, and hammer in the supporters’ car. Lazio fans were also monitored because of the arrival of Bulgarian “twin” fans from Levski, Sofia, identified as for their philo-Russian ideology.
For Roman fans, soccer is a religion. In the eternal city, it is rare to meet someone who does not identify with one of the soccer teams at all.
Even though the passion felt by devotees of the two opponents leads them to continuous clashes against each other, it is difficult for them to admit that the two teams in Rome are two halves that complement each other. They are opposites who cannot exist without each other.
A phenomenon that characterizes the post-derby atmosphere in Rome and can either enhance or worse the experience of those who win or lose is the typically Italian teasing action of “sfottò,” which consists of jokes and biting irony towards between rival teams and opposing fans. It is a phenomenon that extends beyond the match, characterizing the daily relationship between Lazio and Roma fans.
Another example of a sfottò happened when a few days before the Derby della Capitale, on March 16, Lazio was eliminated by Dutch team Alkmaar in the second round of the playoffs for the UEFA European Conference League championship. When Roma had won that same European championship on May 25, 2022 by beating Feyenoord 1-0, fans and Lazio sporting director Igli Tare told journalists that the Conference Cup was “The cup of losers.” For this reason, the Formello team’s elimination from the competition was repaid in the same mockery by opposing fans.
The rivalry between the two teams is what makes soccer exciting and passionate; during the Derby especially, the fans unleash the bond towards their team and make it a priority. To go to the Olympic Stadium for such a heartfelt match is to feel the affection that permeates from both North Side (Lazio’s Curva) and South (Roma’s Curva).
The competition between the two capital city teams is transmitted not only through teasing, but also through the choreographies organized by the fans before the kick-off. Before the initial whistle, fans from the two curves or sides unveil their specially organized choreographies that are different for each event. They consist of an image representing the team’s values and a banner with a symbolic inscription.
Roma and Lazio are both famous for their choreographies and to see them performed and reavealed at the same time is of great appeal to spectators.
Photos taken by Camilla Ciallella at Olympic Stadium Match Roma v. Lazio. Nov. 6, 2022.
Lazio and Roma fans since the beginning of their clubs’ history have shared a city as significant as Rome, and the derby is seen by Romans as an opportunity to have exclusive ownership of it.
The Olympic Stadium, being the Capital’s only stadium, dresses in the guise of the Ancient Colosseum and hosts sports clashes that metaphorically lead to the conquest of the city. Its history begins in 1927 with Enrico Del Debbio’s design and continues through various name changes; the Olympics in 1960; a FIFA World Cup in 1990, and other athletic and musical events that led it to be recognized as one of the nation’s largest and most multifunctional sports complexes.
Lazio wears the colors of the sky and has the Olympia eagle as its coat of arms, the sacred animal of Jupiter. Roma, on the other hand, wears the yellow of the Vatican and the red of the Roman Empire, and its coat of arms is a she-wolf, sacred animal of Mars.
Schedule of the next 3 days of Serie A Tim.
|April 29 and 30||May 3||May 7|
|S.S. Lazio||Inter vs. Lazio||Lazio vs. Sassuolo||Milan vs. Lazio|
|A.S. Roma||Roma vs. Milan||Monza vs. Roma||Roma vs. Inter|
To know more about the games that were held in the Ancient Colosseum look here.
To experience the thrill of watching Olympia fly over the Olympic Stadium, click here.
The She-wolf of Rome is a story rich in meaning, discover it here.