Roma twice hit the woodwork but could not find a way past 10-man Lazio, as the Derby della Capitale finished in a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
Despite Lazio dominating much of the clash, Bruno Peres saw a shot come back off the post in the first half before Edin Dzeko powered a stoppage time header against the bar.
The Biancoceleste saw Stefan Radu sent off late on for two bookings, having twice been cautioned for shirt pulling, but held on to remain in third, one position above their city rivals on goal difference.
Lazio were showing the greater attacking impetus early on, and sought to launch balls over the top to catch out Roma’s high defensive line. Attacking duo Ciro Immobile and Felipe Anderson were flagged offside five times between them within the opening seven minutes however.
Roma were struggling to make any headway and it was all Lazio in the opening stages. Anderson threaded through for Immobile and whilst the Italian was crowded out by Aleksandar Kolarov and Juan Jesus, the loose ball sat up into the path of Marco Parolo. His first-time effort blazed over though.
Despite enjoying the best chances, Lazio almost fell beyond in sloppy fashion. After controlling a simple pass back, goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha sought to hoof up field but saw his clearance cannon off Dzeko. The ball appeared to loop dangerously back but spun clear of the open goal.
On the half-hour mark, Immobile knocked the ball back for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to lob a smart pass into the box for Parolo to run on to. The midfielder could not get a clean connection on his volley though, and Alisson watched it sail wide.
Having been under pressure for so long, Roma suddenly burst into life shortly before halftime. Kolarov cut the ball inside for Nainggolan, and the Belgian’s swivel and first time pass caught Radu out at the back. Having stepped out, the defender allowed space for Bruno Peres to ghost in, but the Brazilian’s low effort struck the post.
Moments later the Giallorossi were in again. After some sustained possession, Kostas Manolas drove forward from the back and slipped Kolarov in for the Serbian to fire a low ball across the face of goal. The cross fell inches from the outstretched boot of Dzeko though, who was waiting to tap in.
The home side were committing a number of fouls, and Radu was booked for dragging Patrik Schick to the floor.
Much as in the first half, Lazio started strongly after the break. Anderson pounced on a loose ball to burst into the box and weaved his way past Federico Fazio, but Jesus was on hand to clear.
Roma almost gifted the Aquile the lead soon after kick off, as a poor Manolas touch allowed Immobile to break clear on goal. The Greek centre-back recovered quickly enough to pressure Immobile into mishitting his effort and the ball was hooked away.
The Lupi’s uninspired start forced Eusebio Di Francesco into a change, with Cengiz Under replacing Schick. The change almost paid dividends as the Turkish international drove forward on the right before slipping in the overlapping Peres, but his low cross was blocked by Radu.
Under continued to provide a spark for Roma, as he proceeded to cut inside before switching to Dzeko. The Bosnian took one touch before stepping inside, but his curling effort flew over the bar.
Lazio were threatening once more though, and Milinkovic-Savic lofted in a wonderful scooped pass over Manolas’ head into the path of Immobile, but he sliced his first time shot wide.
It was becoming end-to-end, and Under came close once more as his snapshot from a Dzeko knockdown whistled inches over the bar.
Just one minute later it was the Biancoceleste who came close. Immobile picked up Jordan Lukaku’s touch before teeing up Luis Alberto, and the Spaniard’s low drive left Alisson rooted to the spot, but flashed past the post.
The match was spun on it’s head with 10 minutes remaining, as Radu was dismissed. Alessandro Florenzi’s chipped pass looked to have released Under, but the youngster was dragged down and the Romanian was shown a second booking.
Yet it was Lazio that almost broke the deadlock. A long Lukaku ball upfield was held up by Milinkovic-Savic in the corner, before a cross was nodded into the box by Leiva. Adam Marusic ghosted in and shot on the turn, only for Stephan El Shaarawy to get a crucial foot in and block.
As the game entered stoppage time Dzeko twice looked to have won it with a pair of dangerous headers. The Bosnian stepped across Bastos to force a fine save from Strakosha, before meeting the following cross to power against the bar.
Ultimately neither side could force a winner and had to settle for a point, moving both teams one clear of fifth-place Inter.