Padraig Whelan Date: 24th January 2020 at 6:30pm
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This Sunday sees the Eternal City’s modern day gladiators go head-to-head again as Roma and Lazio do battle at the Stadio Olimpico.

In honour of the occasion, here are five things you may not have known about the Derby della Capitale.

Fireworks are always expected

When these two teams meet, you can always anticipate some tasty tackles, players getting caught up in the atmosphere and things getting a little out of hand.

Since the turn of the century, things have ratcheted up even further between the capital city duo.

So much so that no other fixture in Europe’s top five leagues has produced as much red cards as this one since 200, with the sides combining for 24 dismissals between them in just 38 games!

It goes even further back than that too as since 1994/95, this game has had more red cards than any other Serie A fixture with 34 – 20 of those for Lazio and 13 for Roma, in addition to 287 yellow cards.

The biggest culprit on the booking front during that time is Roma’s fiery former captain Daniele De Rossi, while Cristian Ledesma holds the record for reds with three.

Totti isn’t the real goal king

Ask anyone with a passing interest in Italian football and the Derby della Capitale in particular who the top scorer in this fixture is.

There is a good chance that most or all of them will answer with Roma legend Francesco Totti.

That has largely been accepted and even touted as the correct answer but isn’t strictly true.

Totti has netted 11 times in this fixture but that is actually only enough to be tied for the top scorer crown in this fixture with Dino da Costa.

The Brazil-born forward, who went on to be capped by Italy, scored 11 of his 71 goals for the Giallorossi in the 1950s against Lazio, with nine of them coming in Serie A and two in the Coppa Italia.

However, he also scored against the Biancocelesti in a ‘friendly’ meeting in the Trofeo Zenobi (a fixture contested by both Rome clubs to honour the late former Lazio president Remo Zenobi) in a 5-1 win in 1955 for a goal that technically makes him the all-time scorer in meetings between these sides.

Lazio lag behind on derby thrashings

Not counting friendlies, these sides have played 173 competitive clashes against each other, with that number rising to 189 when you account for unofficial games.

In all that time, Lazio’s biggest margin of victory is surprisingly just three goals, a feat they have achieved just three times, with two 3-0 wins and a 4-1 victory.

Roma have enjoyed handing out big wins a little more often, with 4-1 and 5-1 successes going their way at various points.

But the biggest margin of victory remains their 5-0 battering in November 1933 in what was just the ninth meeting between the teams in Serie A.

However, Lazio fans won’t be too down about that fact for one big reason…

They won the game that mattered

May 26, 2013. To this day it remains the date that is etched on the mind of fans on both sides of the city.

It is the only time in the history of the fixture that the Stadio Olimpico played host to the contest in a major final: with the Coppa Italia crown on the line.

Understandably, it was a nervy, poor quality game that you felt both sides didn’t want to lose just as much as they wanted to win it.

The infamy and shame that would come with defeat (if you know how these fans operate, that is no exaggeration) would carry for a long time.

And it was Roma who were beaten as Senad Lulic pounced in the 71st minute for the only goal and one of the most famous strikes in derby history.

Lazio fans rejoiced throughout the summer and lorded it over the Lupi as expected with the man who put them to the sword even opening up an ill-fated clothing range known as Senad 71 – paying homage to his strike.

A nomadic fixture

Given how long the game has taken place there, it may be a surprise to learn that the Stadio Olimpico is the fifth different stadium that has hosted a derby down the years.

As we close in on the centenary of the first meeting between the sides in 2029, it is worth noting that the fixture has been spread around the Eternal City over the past 91 years.

The first fixture took place at the Stadio della Rondinella, which played host to Lazio games in their early years and stood on the current Stadio Flaminio site before being destroyed in fire in the ’50s, with Rodolfo Volk getting the only goal in a 1-0 Roma win.

The Flaminio played host two fixtures in the 1989/90 campaign when both sides moved in due to work on the Olimpico ahead of the World Cup, with Roma winning one and drawing the other.

That current home of the fixture has been used by both since 1953, although the Stadio Nazionale did play host to many in the 1940s prior to its closure.

The Nazionale took over from Roma’s old Campo Testaccio home in 1941, with the Giallorossi winning eight of their 12 games at their mythical former home.