Roma sneak late win over sorry Lazio


Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 19

Two late goals by Brazilian midfielders Mancini and Emerson gave AS Roma a dramatic 2-0 win over city rivals Lazio that lifted them to second in Serie A on Sunday.

The match appeared on the verge of fizzling out to a scoreless draw when Mancini's spectacular 81st-minute volley with the inside of his heel beat Lazio keeper Matteo Sereni.

Five minutes later Mancini sent a high pass over the top of Lazio's defense to pick out Emerson, who dispatched a clinical low shot into the corner of the net.

Mancini's goal capped a memorable first derby appearance after the 23-year-old joined Roma during the close season from Serie B club Venezia.

"When I arrived in Rome there was some debate about whether I'd be able to compete at Serie A level. I feel I've done my talking on the pitch," he told reporters afterwards.

"Sometimes you play big games like the derby with your heart, and technique gets left to one side.

"Tonight's goal is a reward for all the hard work the team and I have done since the start of the season."

Roma are now two points behind league leaders Juventus on the same mark as AC Milan but with a better goal difference.

A scruffy first half produced few chances and Roma's best chance was after 43 minutes when a fumble by Lazio keeper Sereni spilled the ball invitingly into the path of Emerson but his shot was cleared off the line by Lazio defender Jaap Stam.

Lazio toiled until the 58th minute for their first true shot on goal when midfielder Dejan Stankovic fired directly at keeper Ivan Pelizzoli.

The introduction of striker Roberto Muzzi gave Lazio more forward momentum, but just when it seemed they might score, Roma won a free kick on the edge of the area, and Antonio Cassano's waist-high delivery was flicked masterfully by Mancini into the net.

Emerson's goal sealed the result and Norwegian striker John Carew even came close to adding a third.