It had been a long time coming but it was well worth the wait as Roma beat Lazio to win the Derby Della Capitale for the first time since 2018 on Saturday.
In Paulo Fonseca’s penultimate game in charge of the club and last at Stadio Olimpico, he oversaw a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro.
Here’s how Giallorossi Yorkshire rated the players out of 10.
Daniel Fuzato – 8Embed from Getty Images
The last few weeks of this season have been a coming of age for Daniel Fuzato. After two years as Roma’s third-choice keeper and a failed six-month loan spell away, he hasn’t played anywhere near as much as a player of his age (he turns 24 in the summer) should have.
He is now finally getting the chance to prove himself. There were doubts going into the game over whether Antonio Mirante would reclaim his place, but a minor injury to the veteran meant Fuzato stayed between the sticks. It marked his toughest test yet, but he rose to the occasion.
Much more of an assured presence than he has been in some of his other appearances, Fuzato was confident and commanded his area well – arguably better than anyone else has in a single game for Roma this season. He made four saves to ensure Lazio didn’t breach his goal.
Fuzato has now kept clean sheets in two of his last three appearances and on this occasion in particular, he fully earned it.
Rick Karsdorp – 7
One of Roma’s most reliable players this season, Rick Karsdorp has rarely put a foot wrong. On this occasion he wasn’t as big a threat going forward as he has been, but was still tidy.
The right-back kept calm and collected, continuing his strong run of form without doing anything spectacular. Particularly as the game ticked on, Karsdorp grew into proceedings and put in an important display.
Gianluca Mancini – 8
Tasked with marking Lazio’s most dangerous attacker, Ciro Immobile, Gianluca Mancini completely nullified his opponent as he won his individual battle.
Letting Immobile know he was there early on in a firm but fair way, Mancini was his usual strong self. He simply refused to allow his opponent past him.
Also important in building the play from the back, Mancini completed more passes than any of his teammates in an all-round solid performance.
Roger Ibanez – 6
Brought back into the side for his 50th appearance for the club, it sadly wasn’t one to remember for Roger Ibanez. He started well but had to go off in the 38th minute with injury.
When he was on the pitch, though, he played his part in keeping Lazio out and getting Roma on the ball more.
Bruno Peres – 5
The left-back area has been problematic for Roma recently, with players having to cover on the opposite side to what they prefer. Bruno Peres usually goes about that task with no complaints, but sometimes falls short in ability.
There was one instance in the first half when he allowed Manuel Lazzari – who had been so dangerous in the reverse fixture – to skip past him easily. It wasn’t good enough and when he picked up a yellow card as well, Fonseca decided to take him off at half-time.
Bryan Cristante – 7
After covering for most of the season in defence, Bryan Cristante has been back in his preferred midfield territory recently and has provided strength and steel. The extra physicality in that department has boosted Roma’s effectiveness.
A dangerous shooter if given the chance, Cristante has been getting forward more as well. He had a decent opportunity on the volley at one point but despite some good control, his effort went over.
All in all, though, he was a combative presence, which benefited Roma’s structure.
Ebrima Darboe – 9Embed from Getty Images
The sky is the limit. It is unbelievable that Ebrima Darboe only made his senior debut two weeks ago; he has risen to the stage and looks like an accomplished professional.
He has earned his place in the team on merit and was once again sensational on a big stage. In his fledgling career, he has already held his own against teams like Manchester United, Inter Milan and now Lazio.
Always picking the smartest pass, he completed 96% of those he attempted. He also won three tackles in the other phase of the game, always appearing in the right place at the right time.
Roma have needed someone to do the simple things well in midfield and Darboe is rising to that challenge. Just 19 years old, his story is already incredible and it seems like he has plenty more chapters of it to write.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 7
Much of the credit for Roma’s opening goal went to Edin Dzeko for his assist, but the finish from Henrikh Mkhitaryan was praiseworthy as well. All he had to do was divert it on target, but he did so with controlled technique.
Aside from that moment, the Armenian worked hard as he looks to finish the season strongly. He was spectacular in the opening few months before suffering a decline after an injury. The real Mkhitaryan is back now, though.
With goals in each of his last three appearances, the attacking midfielder is finishing with a final flourish, sending a reminder of what he can still contribute as the end of his contract approaches.
Lorenzo Pellegrini – 5
The best player on the pitch a week earlier against Crotone, this time Lorenzo Pellegrini was back to his inconsistent old self. His standards have rarely slipped this season, but sadly he faltered slightly on Saturday.
His pass completion was uncharacteristically low and he didn’t get as many touches of the ball as usual. Often Roma flow through him, but on this occasion it wasn’t to be.
Stephan El Shaarawy – 6
A thorn in Lazio’s side even if he lacked a final moment of quality, Stephan El Shaarawy marked his return to the starting lineup in a positive way.
The winger didn’t last the whole match but showed promise during the time he was on the pitch. It was he who set up Dzeko before the striker’s assist for the first goal. El Shaarawy still needs to build up a rhythm but at least played his part to some extent.
Edin Dzeko – 9Embed from Getty Images
There were no fans present for the derby, but Edin Dzeko still left the pitch to a standing ovation.
A man for the big occasions, Dzeko was outstanding from start to finish, putting in a vintage performance. He held the ball well, brought others into play effortlessly and showed great desire and determination.
His assist for Mkhitaryan’s goal encapsulated this. He had no right to beat Francesco Acerbi to the ball, but he got there, shifting his body to keep it in and picking out his teammate without even needing to look.
He won seven aerial duels – more than double the rest of his team managed put together – and only Darboe could match him for the number of dribbles he completed.
There was a feeling that this may have been a farewell, especially with the reception he got from his teammates, but his comments afterwards hinted otherwise. “It’s a shame our fans weren’t here,” he said. “We hope to see them again, all wearing the shirt we had on at the end of this one, next season.”
Hence, his teammates may have just been appreciating an outstanding performance from an outstanding player.
Marash Kumbulla – 7
Thrown into the cauldron in the first half after Ibanez’s injury, it shouldn’t have been easy for Marash Kumbulla to get up to speed, but he managed it.
Quickly settling in, the Albania international was stronger than he has been recently and also held onto the ball well. It was a confident, promising display.
Davide Santon – 5
Brought on at half-time because Peres was on a booking, it certainly didn’t help that Santon was booked as well just two minutes after his introduction.
He settled down afterwards but could have been walking a tightrope and didn’t contribute much.
Pedro – 7Embed from Getty Images
Pedro’s debut season in Rome has been tough, but there is no better way to endear yourself to the fans than by scoring in the derby. It can enhance a player’s reputation and earn them a place in history.
And by scoring in the manner he did, Pedro certainly improved his legacy. His ferocious, left-footed strike from outside the box was a moment of brilliance from a player still keen to prove that class is permanent.
His passionate celebration also showed how much it meant. Although he tripped over the ball on a later attack, showing signs of what he has been like for most of the rest of the season, his moment of quality rendered it meaningless. Pedro’s impact was unequivocally positive.
Gonzalo Villar – 6
One of the players who may have suffered as a result of Darboe’s emergence, Gonzalo Villar was growing back towards his best in the (approximately) 20 minutes he played.
Confident on the ball and keeping a level head, the Spaniard played his part in keeping Roma in control.
Borja Mayoral – N/A
He only touched the ball once, completing one pass, but Borja Mayoral wasn’t brought on to make an impact. His introduction late on allowed Dzeko to get the send-off he deserved and it would be unfair to judge his replacement on a matter of minutes.
Paulo Fonseca – 9
Where had this been, Mister Fonseca? After struggling in so many big games, the departing boss left it to the last one – and most important of all – to put that right.
Having previously refused to adapt his approach, this time he did. The benefits were clear to see; Roma responded well to Lazio’s strengths and made the most of their own.
Fonseca’s setup allowed Roma to win the midfield battle and prevent too much danger coming down the flanks. The coach was also mature enough to take off his captain when he wasn’t performing at his best and made a big decision to keep his faith in Darboe from the first minute. It paid off.
There will be some regrets that he didn’t adapt like this for previous games, but Fonseca can leave on a high note thanks to this result.