The last time Roma and Lazio played the Derby Della Capitale under affable conditions, Maurizio Zamparini was still a wise man, Fernando Torres still knew the business of scoring goals and Alexandre Pato hadna��t met Barbara Berlusconi yet. Well, maintaining a near-perfect synchronization with the rest of the three events, the capital Derby as usual did not fail to entertain, thrill and mesmerise, of course not only with things pertaining to football. Virtual hosts Lazio finally broke their fiercest rivalsa�� five-match winning streak in this fixture handing them a narrow 2-1 defeat in the most scintillating fashion. It was a week that saw, among the other big teams, Milan reclaiming themselves, Inter meeting new lows and Juventus doing, well, Juventus.

The seventh round of Serie A action provided highly contrastive nature of games scheduled over the two days as all the three games on Saturday managed to keep the fans glued to the action on the field, but on the other hand, the results on Sunday were largely unimpressive, uninteresting and passive as five games ended up with neither of the two teams involved troubling the scorers a�� No, Emile Heskey doesna��t play for any of them.

The action began in the Sicilian town, where hosts Catania played Claudio Ranieria��s wounded Internazionale who with every week passing keep providing a better version of their testimonial to Murphya��s Law. Courtesy of an Esteban Cambiasso strike, the visitors grabbed an early lead only to concede two in a matter of minutes during the second half after some sloppy work in defence that has consistently failed to reclaim the shape and strength of last few seasons.

Champions AC Milan havena��t had the greatest of starts to their new season either but with a stupendous performance at San Siro to trounce the in-form Palermo 3-0 ensured the Rossoneri are very much the force they appear on paper and those counting them out already have jumped the guns a little too early. A vintage performance from the entire attacking line allowed the hosts to take charge of the game early on and the defence perfectly supported the cause by staying alert and prompt while defending and proactive and agile while helping in the attack. Cassano, Robinho and Nocerino found their names on the scoresheet for the home side. The credit to the defence lies in the fact that Palermo failed to aim a single shot at Milana��s goal. Post this defeat, one should only be as much surprised to learn the news of caretaker manager Devis Mangiaa��s sacking as should one be to learn Delio Rossi has been appointed to replace him.

Strong title contenders from Naples are by some, deemed too inconsistent to mount a serious challenge for the league title and Walter Mazzaria��s men perfectly exemplified the same. Post the Inter demolition at San Siro, Napoli had a relatively easier game lined up at home against Franco Colombaa��s Parma. However, to the surprise of many, the home side were bettered in every aspect by the potential giant killers of Serie A who eventuated victorious at San Paolo with a close 1-2 finish in their favour. Early in the second half Parma grabbed the all important lead after left-back Massimo Gobbi successfully latched at Sergio Floccaria��s delicate yet delightful backheel.

Napoli found it hard to turn things back in their favour but ultimately restored parity as substitute Giuseppe Mascara found the back of the net from an Ezequiel Lavezzi assist. However, the delight to the home side was to be short lived as midfielder Francesco Modesto neatly netted a grounded cross from Giovinco that managed to beat everybody on the way including Napoli shot-stopper Morgan De Sanctis. The Azzuri left no stone unturned to find their second but the efforts were not enough to stop Parma from taking home three points from Naples that now places them 9th on the table sharing points with Chievo and Catania.

Speaking of the Flying Donkeys, Chievo Verona managed to hold the high-flying Juventus for a stalemate at a surface where it doesna��t really need to rain for the passing to be obstructed. Antonio Contea��s Bianconeri are known to be limitlessly kind to the pedestrian teams of the peninsula and the trend was carried forward as Juventus showed a propensity not to trouble the Chievo defence for large part of the game. Chievo striker Sergio Pellesier has remained a Juve nemesis for some time now and that should have continued if not for an extremely valid penalty appeal being denied after Pellesier was brought down clumsily by Giorgio Chiellini. Before you raise the brows, we would like to make it clear that Luciano Moggi is no longer associated with Juventus.

Udinese too failing to break the deadlock against Milana��s Lombardian neighbors Atalanta means both Juventus and Udinese continue to occupy the first and second positions on the table respectively. The only other team that scored over the weekend was Stefano Piolia��s Bologna who secured a 0-2 away victory over top division newbies Novara courtesy goals from Gaston Ramirez and Robert Acquafresca. This was the first victory in the season for the Rossoblu.

Match of the Week

Lazio 2-1 Roma

Some say, referee Paolo Tagliavento was the only differentiating factor between the two sides thirsty for each othera��s flesh and blood, which to an extent is true. After Roma managed an early lead through Argentine striker Pablo Osvaldo, the game was quite evenly poised. Roma full-backs were enjoying advancing forward through flanks in the Lazio half and the sharp and incisive movements of both Bojan and Pjanic near the six-yard box forced the Lazio defence to draw closer to them and lose the original shape, which made it even easier for Roma full-backs and midfield to invade the opposition half.

However, Lazioa��s dynamic 4-3-1-2 that kept changing to 4-2-3-1 always allowed them to outnumber Romaa��s midfield into their own half and the forwards made the most of the lack of Gabriel Heinzea��s pace near the goal. Eventually during the second half, Lazio succeeded when Cristian Brocchi fell down a little too easily at a challenge from Simon Kjaer to which Lazio earned a penalty and Roma were reduced to ten men. Hernanes did not miss the opportunity to convert from the spot kick and the equalizer changed the nature of the tide.

Lazio kept pressing high up the pitch and maintained pressure on Romaa��s defence. Luis Enrique made some tactical changes in the shape but never resorted to Mourinhoa��s famous zonal marking as Roma continued to break on the counter in their quest to find the winner a�� failing to do so however owing to some poor finish and ball control inside the box. Lazio missed a number of chances to put the game to rest well before time but the magnanimity of the occasion did not let the players bring about their composed best on the pitch.

But then, therea��s a reason that man is called Miroslav Klose. The 33-year old Germana��s annoying knack to be at the right place at the right time when ita��s needed the most, that has been haunting his oppositions for donkeya��s years now, pestered AS Roma on the night, as the ex-Bayern Munich marksman found the hosts the winner in the stoppage time which now takes Edi Rejaa��s men to the fourth spot in Serie A, trailing table toppers Juventus only by a point.

The intensity with which the game proceeded right from the kick-off will ensure this goes down as one of the most memorable derby fixtures across Europe in the recent years.

Star of the Week

Hernanes (Lazio)

Ever since his move to Italy last year, the Brazilian playmaker has been pivotal to Lazio setup and has added considerable value and quality to the Biancocelesti squad. On the biggest match of their season so far, Hernanes was on top of his game and perfectly executed his job to establish a fluid linkage between the midfield and the veteran attackers. The biggest challenge in his path was to run past the Roma beast Daniele De Rossi who thesedays drops down to the Centre Backa��s position when the ball is in Romaa��s half. Exploiting the numerical supremacy that Lazio enjoyed in the second half, Hernanes outran and outpaced the Roma midfield multiple times to create one chance after another for the hosts. He also brought Lazio on terms after successfully conjuring a goal from the penalty that was awarded early in the second half.

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Hernanes - Lazio's orchestrator

 

Flop of the Week

Simon Kjaer (Roma) & Milos Krasic (Juventus)

The Denmark international easily had a day to forget, as he could do little to justify his managera��s faith to deploy him in a game of these proportions. Kjaer was easily outclassed by the Lazio forwards in the first half as he failed to remain stationed to his regular position and could not effectively track down the movements of Klose and Cisse. In the second half, he launched a clumsy tackle on Cristian Brocchi that not only awarded Lazio a penalty but brought Roma a man down which proved to be vital for the remainder of the game and cost the visitors three points.

Milos Krasic is one of the fastest wingers in Serie A but hasna��t been able to replicate his heroics of the last season this time around. The Serb hasna��t even started all games for the fresh-looking Juventus side and his abysmal form continued in the game against Chievo where he added absolutely zilch to his teama��s attacking moves. His crossing was wayward; pace wasna��t lightning for his standards and was easily dispossessed in dangerous positions. Juventus do boast of depth in attack this season and unless Krasic rediscovers his lost touch at the earliest, he may well lose his place to one of those bench-warmers awaiting their turn to come.

Goal of the Week

Gaston Ramirez (Bologna) v Novara

Replacing striker Alessandro Diamanti only after 19 minutes into the game, the Uruguayan striker opened the scoring for Bologna during the stoppage time in the first half. Club captain Marco Di Vaio was battling to advance past the Novara defenders in the box and managed to draw the opposition players closer to him by holding on to the ball and hence created space wide in the box. Di Vaio smartly dribbled the ball to his left to meet Ramirez who took aim at the goal with his first touch from a nearly impossible angle with two defenders and the keeper blocking his view. The curling strike was taken at a perfect trajectory and the ball precisely landed up near the far post in the net.

Assist of the Week

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Milan) v Palermo

After conceding a goal to their former teammate Antonio Nocerino in the first half, Palermo were playing as a highly disjointed and disgruntled unit in the early part of the second half, taking advantage of which, the Swedish wizard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic slotted a beautiful through-ball bisecting Silvestre and Migliaccio to meet Robinho who wasted no time in putting the ball past every other opposition player to double the lead for the home side.

Save of the Week

Antonio Mirante (Parma) v Napoli

Minutes before the final whistle, as Napoli were fighting till the last drop of sweat to find the equaliser, Ezequiel Lavezzi provided a perfect ball from a set-piece to which Christian Maggio reached first in the box and the ball almost went inside the net but was denied by incredible reflexes and proactive positioning from Parma stopper Mirante whose effort could only clear the ball to Cavania��s feet but to the misfortune of the Uruguayan beast, his effort on rebound was ricocheted off the woodwork and could bear no fruits.

Special Appearance of the Week

Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) v Chievo Verona

The Bianconeri icon does no longer start every game but his role has rather been remodeled as that of an impact player who takes the field to accomplish a specific purpose at a particular interval during the game. Against Chievo yesterday, Alex replaced Claudio Marchisio with 20 more minutes to play with a clear indication to add another dimension to the attack. Though the game settled for a goalless draw, Il Pinturicchio did not fail to entertain fans with his moments of sheer brilliance a�� two in this game.

In a move when Juventus came charging in to the Chievo half, Simone Pepe provided a sublime cross from the right flank. Del Piero met the cross and guided it towards the goal with a powerful header that easily put the ball out of goalkeepera��s range but unfortunately, the wooden piece denied the Juve skipper. Minutes later when Chievo came close to finding an opener from a corner, Del Piero was the last man standing ahead of the Juve goal-line and cleared the ball after even Gigi Buffon was beaten. If not for the 37-year olda��s quick reflexes, Juventus would have conceded late enough in the game to lose all three points.

Team of the Week

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Results at a Glance

Catania2-1Inter
Milan3-0Palermo
Napoli1-2Parma
Cesena0-0Fiorentina
Atalanta0-0Udinese
Cagliari0-0Siena
Chievo0-0Juventus
Genoa0-0Lecce
Novara0-2Bologna
Lazio2-1Roma

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