Keita’s brace helps Lazio cruise past Roma in derby

Keita scored twice for Lazio in the derby on Sunday. (Claudio Peri/ANSA via AP)

MILAN — Lazio won 3-1 at Roma in a controversial derby in Serie A on Sunday to leave its neighbours in the capital looking nervously over their shoulders.

Roma remained second, nine points behind Juventus with four rounds left, but third-placed Napoli can move to within one point of Roma with a win at Inter Milan later.

"Ugly incidents led to an ugly Roma," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said of his team. "We could have gone in front at the start, and they scored with their first chance. Then you allow too many counterattacks, make too many mistakes. You think it’s not the match you had prepared … we weren’t the same team we usually are.

"After a match like today you need to be quiet and suck up all the criticism. We lost our heads, made some bad choices, we weren’t lucky with incidents as their first two goals came from two deflections, when we attacked we didn’t have that luck."

Fourth-placed Lazio moved four points behind Napoli after two goals from Keita Balde Diao and another from Dusan Basta handed it a first derby win in the league in nearly five years.

Roma had levelled through Daniele De Rossi’s penalty after Wallace was harshly judged to have tripped Kevin Strootman.

Roma defender Antonio Rudiger was sent off in stoppage time for a dangerous challenge on Filip Djordjevic.

"We deserved it already from the first half, we had the right attitude from the start," Lazio captain Lucas Biglia said. "(Lazio coach) Simone Inzaghi motivated the team and we couldn’t not win it … The referee acknowledged his error, everyone makes mistakes. I was really angry but then we continued to play our game."

Lazio made a late change before kickoff when Ciro Immobile pulled out ill during the warmup and was replaced by Jordan Lukaku.

Roma was out for revenge after losing the Italian Cup semifinal to its bitter rival and Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha was forced into early saves to deny Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah.

However, it was Lazio which took the lead with its first sight of goal in the 12th minute as Keita got away from Federico Fazio just inside the area and his shot went through Emerson Palmieri’s legs and into the near bottom corner.

Keita almost turned provider in the 36th but Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny did well to tip Marco Parolo’s effort around his post.

Lazio felt it should have had a penalty earlier when Fazio appeared to foul Lukaku but it was Roma which was awarded a spot kick just before halftime.

Televsion replays showed Wallace did not touch Strootman’s ankle when the Netherlands midfielder went down in the area.

De Rossi stepped up and calmly sent the penalty into the bottom right corner.

Roma almost took the lead shortly after the break when Salah found Dzeko but Strakosha pulled off another great save.

And it was Lazio which restored its advantage three minutes later as Basta’s strike from just outside the area was deflected past Szczesny by Fazio.

Basta hadn’t scored in 79 Serie A games, since another goal against Roma for Udinese in March 2014.

Lazio looked the likelier to score again and did so five minutes from time. Senad Lulic sprinted down the left and into the area before rolling across for an unmarked Keita to sidefoot home from close range.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.