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2016/2017 Italian Serie A
  • Danilo Cataldi (66')
  • Kevin Strootman (64')
  • Radja Nainggolan (77')

Strootman and Nainggolan score as Roma pull away from Lazio

A rare goal from a mischievous Kevin Strootman helped Roma reclaim second place in the Serie A table as they beat derby rivals Lazio 2-0 on Sunday.

The injury-prone Netherlands international has not been prolific since moving to the capital three years ago, but he picked a great time to score his seventh league goal for Luciano Spalletti's Giallorossi, who have held the bragging rights at the Stadio Olimpico since before Strootman arrived.

However, after chipping Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti for the Derby della Capitale opener, his disrespectful actions towards the designated home team sparked a brawl and got substitute Danilo Cataldi sent off for reacting badly. Their nerves shot, Lazio conceded a second goal to Radja Nainggolan.

Roma's hardcore fans decided to boycott the match, leaving their Curva Sud territory empty over what they perceive to be overzealous oppression from the authorities, who have installed a security barrier in an attempt to better contain warring Ultras.

They did not miss much in the first half, with Ciro Immobile smashing Marco Parolo's pass well over the bar in the early exchanges.

It was difficult for any observer to know for sure what happened on the half-hour mark. When Lucas Biglia appeared to kick out at Bruno Peres when he burst into the Lazio box, referee Luca Banti awarded a penalty only to promptly change his mind and ask for a free kick from the limits of the area.

That came to nothing and Roma would have to wait until after the break to get their next sight of goal, with Edin Dzeko heading a promising assist tamely into Marchetti's gloves before repeating the trick from an even better Nainggolan cross.

Strootman broke the deadlock and lit the touchpaper on the derby in the 64th minute. Capitalising fully on Wallace's poor defensive error, the Dutch midfielder skipped into the box before dinking the ball over a stranded Marchetti.

But in jumping over the advertising hoardings to celebrate with the Giallorossi faithful, and then squirting his water bottle at the Lazio bench, Strootman earned a yellow card and a rake to the neck from Cataldi, who saw red while both sets of players continued to quarrel on the touchline.

Order forcibly restored, Roma resumed turning the screw on their rattled opponents and less than 15 minutes from time, Nainggolan further dampened their spirits.

Looking up at the end of a storming run from midfield, the Belgian took aim and drove a low shot beyond Marchetti's long reach and into the bottom corner.

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