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Roma beat Lazio in heated Serie A derby

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/12/2016 Andrew Dampf

A defensive blunder helped decide a heated Rome derby but many Serie A fans weren't there to see it due to a protest.

Lazio's Brazilian defender Wallace gifted the ball to Kevin Strootman, who scored Roma's opener midway through the second half and Radja Nainggolan then doubled the lead for a 2-0 win on Sunday.

Roma's celebrations were not as loud as usual because the club's most ardent supporters stayed away from the match in protest at plexiglass security barriers introduced at the start of last season in their area.

Normally filled with supporters waving huge banners, lighting flares and singing, half of the "curva sud" - southern end - of the Stadio Olimpico was left empty.

"It's ugly to see," said Strootman, who scored with a delicate chip shot over Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

"The fans who did come were very helpful to us and these were three very important points. Hopefully the others will come to the next matches because we need our fans."

The victory moved Roma back into second place, four points behind Juventus, who beat Atalanta 3-1 on Saturday.

AC Milan is level on points with Roma in third after coming from a goal down to beat visiting Crotone 2-1.

In the next round, Roma hosts Milan.

After Strootman's goal and an extended celebration, words appeared to be exchanged as Roma's players walked back onto the pitch alongside Lazio's bench.

Strootman appeared to toss water from a bottle at Lazio's Danilo Cataldi, who reacted by tugging the neck of the Dutchman's shirt as the midfielder walked away.

That prompted both benches to get involved, leading to a melee.

Cataldi, who had been on the bench, was red carded, while Strootman was shown a yellow.

Ten minutes later, Nainggolan scored with a long, bouncing shot inside the near post that appeared to surprise Marchetti.

Roma has now won four straight in the "Derby della Capitale" series, outscoring Lazio 10-2.

"Since I've come to Roma I've never played in a beautiful derby," Strootman said. "Neither squad wants to make a mistake.

"We didn't have many chances but we won and got some important points," Strootman added.

Lazio is fifth, four points behind Roma.

Francesco Totti, Roma's 40-year-old captain, stayed on the bench.

In other matches, Gianluca Lapadula earned a penalty and scored a late winner in AC Milan's 2-1 win over the visiting Crotone.

Khouma Babacar scored an injury-time winner as Fiorentina beat struggling Palermo 2-1.

In other matches, Pescara drew 1-1 with Cagliari, Sampdoria 2 beat Torino 0 and Sassuolo outclassed Empoli 3-0.

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