Lazio 1-5 Roma – Retrospective ratings for a derby made unique by Montella and Totti

Lazio 1-5 Roma. It was the biggest win for either side ever in the Derby Della Capitale and remains one of the most memorable results against any opponent for Rome’s red side.

On March 10th, 2002, the reigning champions of Italy outclassed their rivals in their ‘away’ derby at Stadio Olimpico to go top of the league. Mention that date to any Roma fan, and two names in particular will instantly spring to mind: four-goal hero Vincenzo Montella, and an inspired captain Francesco Totti.

But, looking back 20 years on, who from the whole team stood out to produce one of the most historic results Rome has ever seen?

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lazio 1-5 Roma, Giallorossi Yorkshire has watched the classic game back – you can too here on Roma TV+ – and graded the performance of each member of the starting lineup to celebrate the successful day.

Francesco Antonioli – 9

Sometimes regarded as the weak spot of the Roma starting lineup that won the Scudetto in 2001, Francesco Antonioli instead made a proud account of himself in the famous derby. Although much of the action was at the other end, thankfully, Roma’s goalkeeper made many claims and punches to ensure it was his attackers who could run rampant, and not Lazio’s. The Italian was not at fault for the goal Roma conceded, while elsewhere in the match his best save was to deny ex-Giallorossi player Sinisa Mihajlovic from a free kick.

Jonathan Zebina – 7

It was a game of two halves for Jonathan Zebina, but the right-sided centre-back in the three-man defensive department came out of it positively. Particularly in the first half, the Frenchman won many duels. He was quick across the ground to sniff out danger, limiting the number of risks he took. After the break, he conceded some fouls, but in fairness, that helped Roma break up the play as well.

Walter Samuel – 8

Walter Samuel came to be known as ‘the Wall’ for how hard he was to get past. In this instance, he showed why, being regularly alert to danger in the middle of the back three. He swept up the play and read smartly how opposition attacks developed. Although there was one late chance where he did turn his back on a shot, he more often than not made big blocks to command his territory.

Christian Panucci – 9

Deployed on the left-hand side of the three at the back, the dependable Christian Panucci was calm, composed and tidy. There were clearances from corners and open play, and intelligent moments when he would nick in and pinch possession. He defended particularly well during the opening phases of the second half, which was the only time Lazio really put Roma under pressure. Panucci stood up to it.

Cafu – 8

In the previous season’s derby, Cafu had become a cult hero – not that he already wasn’t – for his famous ‘sombrero’ skill against Pavel Nedved. This year, the wing-back again expressed his confidence with a vertical approach. Skilful on the ground, he was on another level to his markers in terms of intelligence. The only significant downside was that he was turned for the Lazio goal, but his work rate continued as he sought to dispossess opponents and cause danger with crosses.

Emerson – 10

Cafu’s compatriot Emerson sometimes linked up with him on the inside to good effect. But the midfielder’s influence was not just limited to that combination; indeed, his vertical passing was also frequently effective. Better still was his strength on the ball, keeping a low centre of gravity to maintain control, even in tight spaces. Lazio simply could not get the ball off him.

Francisco Lima – 9

Alongside Emerson in a holding-midfield pairing was another Brazilian, Francisco Lima. Slightly more defensive-minded, he was combative and covered a lot of ground. Lima also worked exceptionally hard to close down spaces and never lost his energy or pace, on or off the ball, until the final whistle blew.

Vincent Candela – 8

A modern-day Roma favourite, Vincent Candela provided the assist for the opening goal, scored of course by Montella. It was one of many moments that signified his confidence on the ball. His ability to use either foot helped in that regard; the right-footed left-wing-back could go in either direction. Candela capped off his performance with a subtle pre-assist to feed Montella in setting up the final goal, by Totti.

Francesco Totti – 10

Yes, that Francesco Totti. Were it not for his four-goal teammate, on any other day the captain could have been the man of the match. He was determined but relaxed, an approach that brought out his best. As an attacking midfielder, he would either drop to the halfway line to create, or roam forward to test out the Lazio defence (including his friend and foe, Alessandro Nesta). Totti could have set a record for the number of fouls won by a single player in a match. When Lazio couldn’t hack him down, he terrorised them; his backheeled pass led to the first goal, his dribbling assisted the second and his cross set up the third.

Throughout, he also dinked plenty of passes, as if he was preparing for the lobbed shot that would put the icing on the cake of the 5-1 win. His extraordinary effort from outside the box was one of his best ever, and the ensuing celebration, in which he unveiled a shirt reading ‘6 Unica’ (‘You are unique’) was the start of a special love story with Ilary Blasi. It was fitting that it came after the sixth goal of a unique match.

Marco Delvecchio – 7

Putting in a more industrious performance, Marco Delvecchio covered plenty of territory, sometimes almost drifting to become a makeshift left winger. Naturally a striker, he loved a derby goal, but Delvecchio let others take the limelight on this occasion. Still, his hard work was a contributing factor in making Roma’s attack so effective.

Vincenzo Montella – 10

This was Vincenzo Montella’s match. Remarkably, he only had one league goal to his name from the whole season to that point. What followed was spectacular, though. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career, he became the first man to score four in a derby – and each goal was special in its own way. Montella wasn’t Fabio Capello’s favoured type of striker due to his lack of height, but his first and third goals were well-taken headers. In between, he showed sharp reactions to beat Nesta to the ball and tuck in the second.

His fourth was the pick of the bunch, a clean left-footed strike from outside the area. Montella, who also held the ball up well during the game, would have scored its finest were it not for Totti trying to upstage him with the lob for 5-1. But guess who assisted that goal? Of course, it was ‘L’aeroplanino’. Lazio 1-5 Roma will always be remembered as Vincenzo Montella’s derby.

Lazio 1-5 Roma timeline

Goal times: Montella (R – 13, 30, 37, 64); Stankovic (L -53); Totti (R – 72)

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