Wednesday, 31 October 2007

[Derby della Capitale] Roma v Lazio

Goalkeeper Marco Ballotta feels a win in tonight's Rome derby will solve all of Lazio's problems "in an instant" while Roma are wary of complacency.

The 43-year-old Ballotta will make his 200th Serie A appearance as Lazio look to revive a moribund domestic season, which sees them lying 14th in the standings after nine games, eight points behind second-placed Roma.

"It is a very delicate moment for us but I think the derby is coming at the right time," he said. "If we win, all our problems will be solved in an instant and we know we can win."

The 129th top-flight Rome derby is likely to prove as unpredictable as the 128 that came before, with Roma coach Luciano Spalletti insisting form will count for little despite his side's impressive recent displays.

"In derbies there are no favourites," he said. "Lazio are going through a difficult period and this could be seen as the game of their lives, so it could give them a small advantage. Lazio are maybe not playing as well as last season, but I saw a couple of their games and they are still a difficult team to beat."

Lazio captain Luciano Zauri believes his charges have the desire to win. "Everything is going well for Roma so they probably feel invincible, yet this could be dangerous for them," he said. "A derby is a game where everyone wants to win and plays with great determination. Anything can happen."

Lazio will be without Cristian Ledesma, Simone Del Nero, Stefano Mauri, Sebastiano Siviglia and Valon Behrami.

Hosts Roma cannot call on Alberto Aquilani, Rodrigo Taddei and, crucially, Francesco Totti, the player with most appearances in the Rome derby – 23 in Serie A, 27 in total.

The talismanic captain has failed a fitness test after suffering a foot injury in the Champions League victory over Sporting Lisbon and will be replaced by in-form Mirko Vucinic, who scored against Sporting and grabbed the winner at Milan on Sunday.

"I've already scored a hat-trick against Lazio, when I was playing for Lecce," the Montenegrin said. "It will be a great derby but we will win and, if I score, I will be over the moon."

Source: UEFA

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