Thursday, November 13, 2008

Derby della Capitale

Sunday will mark the first round of the Derby della Capitale a/k/a il Derby Capitolino a/k/a Roma Derby of the 2008/09 Serie A season. The match, which features A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio of course, is considered one of the biggest Derbies in the world, just adding to the intensity of the event.

The first Roma Derby occurred on December 8, 1929, and resulted in a 1-0 victory for Roma. Since 1929, Roma has won 58 derbies to Lazio's 45 derby victories, while 59 matches resulted in draws (these figures include all competitions, not just Serie A fixtures).

Not surprisingly, there is no love lost between Lazio supporters, who occupy the Curva Nord, and Roma supporters, who occupy the Curva Sud. And while violence does occur, the worst incident occurred in the Spring of 2004, when a riot broke out in the stands; however, the riot had more to do with the rumor that a young boy, near the stadium, had been killed by a police car. The game was ultimately suspended and the rumor proved false. But the truth did no come out until after the Ultras took to the streets to face the police (in recent years much of the major football violence in Italy has not been fans against fans, but fans joining forces against the police). In the end there was wreckage in the stands and in the streets and 170 police officers were injured.

The most emotional, in a peaceful way, Derby occurred this past spring when all the fans and players paid tribute to Lazio fan and Rome D.J. Gabriele Sandri who was shot and killed by police last November. Sandri was shot while sitting in a car at a motorway service station in Arezzo. Sandri's father was welcomed as a guest by Roma Ultras in the Curva Sud, Lazio scarf and all.

This year's Derby is important to Roma and its fans because of the team's poor form and slow start this season, while their bitter rivals have been winning and racking up points.

And now, scenes from derbies of the past:

No comments: