SERIE A SOCCER
AS Roma came into this season with high expectations but has looked a bit lost at times, coming into the Derby della Capitale against hated Lazio in ninth place in Serie A.
A pair of successful penalty kicks helped the Giallorossi pick up a key victory against their top-of-the-table rival.
Marco Borriello and Mirko Vucinic each converted from the spot in the second half as AS Roma defeated Lazio 2-0 in Rome on Sunday.
Borriello scored the winner in the 52nd minute. Lazio's Stephan Lichtsteiner deflected Fabio Simplicio's shot with his wrist to put Borriello on the spot. Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera guessed correctly, diving to his left, but Borriello's shot caromed off Muslera and across the goal line.
Vucinic provided the final margin with three minutes of regulation time left, finding the net after his teammate Julio Baptista was brought down by Andre Dias in the box. This time Muslera guessed wrong; he dove left while Vucinic was deftly sending the ball the other direction into an unguarded net. Vucinic then ripped off his shirt and ran to celebrate, earning a yellow card, but by then it didn't much matter.
The Biancoceleste didn't make much noise at all offensively, and their best chances to score were thwarted by stellar goalkeeping from Julio Sergio, who stopped a Cristian Ledesma free kick in the 48th minute and Hernanes' 65th-minute shot inside the area. Lazio's Pasquale Foggia's shot from extremely close range in the 83rd minute hit the crossbar.
Five minutes earlier, Lazio was denied an opportunity when Roma's John Arne Riise brought down Stefano Mauri on a set-piece play about two yards from the goal, but despite five Lazio players simultaneously crowding and yelling at referee Emidio Morganti, no foul was called.
Second-place AC Milan beat Bari 3-2, cutting Lazio's lead to two points. Roma is seven points back, tied for fifth place.
NOTES: Lazio had won seven of its last nine matches and hadn't lost since Aug. 29. ... Roma has won five of seven derbies. ... Although technically the away side in this match, Roma is unbeaten at the Stadio Olimpico in six league matches this year. ... Lazio star Hernanes promised before the game he would score but did not, being lifted for a substitute in the 72nd minute. ... Rodrigo Taddei, David Pizarro, Matteo Brighi and Stefano Okaka missed the match due to injury for Roma, and Mourad Meghni and Alberto Quadri were out for Lazio. Francesco Totti of Roma and Lazio's Giuseppe Biava also missed due to suspension. ... Roma next hosts Fiorentina Wednesday night. Lazio is at Cesena Wednesday.
Photo above: AS Roma's Marco Cassetti, center, and Marco Borriello celebrate after Borriello's goal Sunday. (La Repubblica)
Video credit -- Sky Sports