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Lazio’s inscrutable general manager Igli Tare rated last season a seven out of 10. It was a year of “ups and downs.” The club finished eighth, missing out on the Champions League places by 10 points, while key difference-makers Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile all struggled to hit the heights of the year before.
But Lazio fans still headed into the summer with two memories to savour. One, they won another Coppa Italia to make them the most successful Italian team, after Juventus, of the last eight years. Secondly, and every bit as satisfying for supporters, was the pain they inflicted on rivals Roma in March, whom they face on Sunday at 12 pm ET on ESPN 2/ESPM 3. On that March day an Immobile-led Lazio ran riot in a 3-0 win, a result which marked Lazio’s biggest victory in the Derby della Capitale since 2006 and pushed then Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco to the brink.
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Four days later Di Francesco was sacked after Roma were eliminated from the Champions League, with sporting director Monchi following him out the door. Not even a year had passed since their finest hour, the night known as the Romantada, when the Giallorossi came back from a three-goal deficit to knock out Barcelona and reach the Champions League semifinals.
A reckoning had been coming though, and the fallout from the last derby continues to be felt. Last week Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi complained “no one ever talks about us.” He feels his team is constantly overlooked and underestimated. The coverage they get in the city is limited and Lazio’s social media machinery pales in comparison to the entertainment production company that is Roma Twitter.
When the glare of the media does fall on them it’s usually for ugly, non-football related issues. The only time Lazio stole the headlines this summer was nothing to do with the team. That front-page news involved the leader of the club’s ultras being executed by a hitman disguised as a j
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