» Sports » Dramatic derby win over Lazio sends Roma into Champions League

Dramatic derby win over Lazio sends Roma into Champions League

May 26, 2015 10:00 IST

AS Roma's Francesco Totti (center) wears a t-shirt that reads "The Great Beauty" as he celebrates with his team mates at the end of the match against Lazio at the Olympic stadium in Rome. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

AS Roma qualified for the Champions League group stage in the best possible style on Monday, booking their place with a last-gasp 2-1 win over neighbours and bitter rivals Lazio in a passionate Rome derby.

Central defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was the unlikely hero as he headed the winner five minutes from the end of a feisty encounter that produced eight yellow cards, several skirmishes between players and numerous protests.

Third-placed Lazio, who needed a draw to make sure of a place in the Champions League playoff round, now have their hopes of qualifying in the balance while the chances of Napoli, who are fourth, have been rekindled.

The two sides meet in Naples on Sunday with the hosts needing a win to pip Lazio for third place and qualify at their expense.

Juan Iturbe put Roma ahead in the 73rd minute with his first goal since October before Filip Djordjevic headed Lazio level eight minutes later in a thrilling finale.

Lazio's Antonio Candreva (second right) leaves the pitch with his team mates at the end of their Serie A match against AS Roma. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Earlier, Miroslav Klose had an excellent chance for Lazio after five minutes but the former Germany forward headed wide when he looked certain to score.

Tempers flared after Lazio midfielder Senad Lulic cynically felled Iturbe with a tackle from behind but, despite Roma players surrounding the referee demanding a red card, the Bosnian escaped with a booking.

Roma players were again demanding a red card for Lulic after he fouled Francesco Totti early in the second half. The referee was again unmoved and instead booked Vasilis Torosidis for dissent.

Lulic was substituted minutes later.

Miralem Pjanic injected new life into Roma when he came on in the 68th minute.

Victor Ibarbo, who replaced a lacklustre Totti, somehow fired wide from six metres when he was left unmarked but almost immediately made amends by producing a low cross that Iturbe turned in for Roma's opening goal.

Roma appeared to be on top until Felipe Anderson floated a cross to Klose at the far post and he nodded the ball on for Djordjevic to equalise.

Yanga-Mbiwa was at fault for that goal, allowing Djordjevic to get free, but made amends by heading in from Pjanic's free kick to ensure that Roma would finish second behind champions Juventus.

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