Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Derby della Capitale - The Coppa Italia Version

On Wednesday January 19, 2011, Lazio and Roma will meet at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome for a rare Coppa Italia version of the Derby della Capitale. While the match's result does not impact either club's standing in the 2010/2011 Serie A Scudetto campaign, a place in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals and capital city bragging rights are on the line.

The teams last met on November 7, 2010, when Roma won, not without some controversy, 2-0 thanks to penalty kicks by Marco Borriello and Mirko Vucinic.

Lazio had a stronger start to the 2010/2011 Serie A season and are currently tied with Napoli at second place on the table, each with 37 points. Roma, which had another slow start that saw them languish in the relegation zone for several weeks, sits right behind Napoli and Lazio with 35 points.

This past weekend saw Lazio pick up a 1-0 victory over Sampdoria, Lazio's first win since the winter break, and this coming weekend Lazio travels to Bologna. Lazio's depth is not as great as Roma's depth, and Lazio coach Edoardo Reja will have to choose between resting key players like Hernanes and Brocchi for Sunday's match with Bologna and trying to appease Lazio fans hoping for redemption against their bitter rivals.

Going into this past Sunday's match at Cesena, troubles were brewing behind the scenes at Roma, troubles linked to the team's most famous player, Francesco Totti. The aging Totti has been unhappy with his playing time this season and what he perceives as a marginalized role under coach Claudio Ranieri's recent roster and substitution decisions. Possibly at the bequest of club president, Rosella Sensi, Ranieri started Totti this past Sunday and chose to leave Totti on the pitch while substituting out Mirko Vucinic and Jérémy Menez, who were both having better matches than Totti. Vucinic, visibly upset by being subbed off, headed straight for the team's dressing room, but soon emerged as a bizarre sequence led to an own goal by Maximiliano Pellegrino, giving Roma a shocking victory over a team that troubled them so back in the season opener. It's hard to say if Sunday's victory has healed all wounds at Roma, but the news from Trigoria has been upbeat and positive.

Most of the predictions I have seen say Roma will win 1-0.

The match starts at 1:45 pm central time and will be broadcast live in the United States on GolTV.

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