Roma continues perfect start: Serie A
Earns 2-0 win over rival Lazio
Roma remained perfect in Serie A with a 2-0 win over rival Lazio in the city derby Sunday, with fullback Federico Balzaretti scoring the decisive goal and the Giallorossi's 36-year-old captain Francesco Totti again proving decisive.
Two days after extending his contract for two more seasons, Totti provided the cross in the 63rd minute when Balzaretti volleyed in for his first goal in Serie A since April 2011, when he played for Palermo.
Seconds before his goal, Balzaretti hit the post.
Lazio's best chance at the Stadio Olimpico came when the ball bounced just wide off Miroslav Klose's thigh in the 55th. Lazio was reduced to 10 men when Andre Dias was sent off for a last-man foul on Totti in the 82nd.
New signing Adem Ljajic earned and converted a penalty for Roma in added time.
Lazio had won four of the last five derbies, including a victory in last season's Italian Cup final, which left Roma and its fans despondent throughout the summer.
"We put the church back in the centre of town," Roma's new coach Rudi Garcia said, using a proverb from nis native French tonque. "It was a huge match for us and for our fans and like I said, 'You don't play the derby, you win it."'
Roma moved two points ahead of Juventus, Inter Milan and Fiorentina.
In the lunchtime fixture, Diego Milito scored twice on his return from injury and Inter thrashed promoted Sassuolo 7-0.
Also, Juventus came from a goal down in Turin to edge visiting Hellas Verona 2-1 with goals from Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente; and Mati Fernandez and Giuseppe Rossi scored as Fiorentina won 2-0 at Atalanta.
Also, it was: Catania 0, Parma 0; and Bologna 1, Torino 2.
Napoli had a chance to join Roma in the lead when it visited AC Milan at the San Siro later.
In Turin, Fabrizio Cacciatore gave Verona the lead in the 36th. Tevez equalized with an angled shot in the 40th for his third goal in three league matches and Llorente, who was growing unhappy after playing only one minute previously this season, scored the winner with a glancing header in first-half added time following a cross from Arturo Vidal.
However, Juventus risked conceding an equalizer to the end and failed to dominate for its third successive match, following draws with Inter last week and at FC Copenhagen in the Champions League.
Inter's victory marked only the third time in Serie A that a team won 7-0 away, after Juventus beat Pro Patria in 1950 and Udinese routed Palermo in 2011, prompting Delio Rossi to be fired.
'I'm sorry about the result'
Padova and AC Milan hold the record with 8-0 wins in 1949 and 1955, respectively.
"I'm sorry about the result," Inter coach Walter Mazzarri said. "We tried to hold ourselves up but there were vertical spaces left wide open."
Rodrigo Palacio, Saphir Taider, Ricardo Alvarez and Estaban Cambiasso also scored for Inter, and defender Raffaele Puccino added an own goal.
Milito, who came on in the 54th, had been out since injuring his left knee in February.
The emphatic victory for Inter came amid news that Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir is closing in on a takeover of the club.
Having moved from Napoli, Mazzarri has made an immediate impact with Inter, which finished ninth last season with 16 losses. The Nerazzurri have yet to lose this season.
"This was an important mental test, to move from Juventus to Sassuolo," Mazzarri said. "Someone could have thought about doing things slightly less well but everyone was focused."
Palacio put Inter ahead seven minutes in following a cross from Yuto Nagatomo, Taider scored his first goal with Inter in the 23rd by redirecting a rebound from Palacio and Puccino made it 3-0 in the 33rd when he tried to beat Taider to the ball but ended up putting it in his own net instead.
Alvarez made it 4-0 with a rebound of a shot from Palacio in the 53rd. Milito replaced Palacio a minute later and needed just nine minutes to score, taking a cross from Alvarez and redirecting it in from close range.
"I broke down when he scored that goal," Mazzarri said. "He's an exceptional kid."
Cambiasso found the target with a long shot in the 75th and Milito scored again in the 83rd after taking a pass from Fredy Guarin.