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Vucinic brace sends Roma top
A Mirko Vucinic double earned Roma victory over city rivals Lazio and lifted them back into first place in Serie A.

In the electric atmosphere of the Stadio Olimpico, Tommaso Rocchi gave Lazio a 14th-minute lead and Sergio Floccari had an opportunity to score the Biancoceleste's second from the spot early in the second half but his penalty kick was saved by Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio.

Vucinic then stole the show. The Montenegrin forward equalised in the 53rd minute from the penalty spot after Aleksandar Kolarov fouled substitute Rodrigo Taddei inside the area and shortly after the hour mark, Vucinic's stinging central free-kick from 20 yards left Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera rooted to the spot to put Roma in front.

Roma were forced to sweat in the final stages but held on for a vital win in the race for the scudetto.

Lazio ended the game with just 10 men after Cristian Ledesma was sent off for a second bookable offence in injury time.

Victory allowed Roma to climb one point clear of Inter Milan, who won on Friday against Juventus, with four games remaining.

Lazio are 16th and just three points clear of the drop zone.

Most Rome derbies are tempestuous encounters and this was no different, with players having to be separated after the final whistle.

Roma captain Francesco Totti enraged Lazio fans by repeatedly showing two thumbs down as he walked off the pitch.

Roma, playing as visitors, went into the game on the back of five straight wins as part of a 23-match unbeaten run.

Coach Claudio Ranieri opted to play with an attacking formation with Totti, Luca Toni and Vucinic up front.

Totti had the first chance early on but his 30-yard strike went over the bar.

Lazio dominated possession and it did not take long for them to take the lead.

Ledesma served an unmarked Rocchi inside the area and his right-footed strike beat Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio.

Lazio supporters demanded a penalty in the 25th minute when Rocchi surged inside the area and fell after contact with Nicolas Burdisso. The referee waved play on.

Not long after, Ledesma's curled free-kick went over the bar.

In the 35th minute, David Pizarro's dangerous cross from the right found no team-mate in Lazio's area.

Lazio should have doubled their lead before the break after Floccari's perfect pass found Christian Brocchi inside the area but he fired over the bar.

Ranieri made a double substitution after the break with Jeremy Menez and Taddei replacing Totti and Daniele De Rossi, both of whom had been booked in the first half.

But it was Lazio who looked more deadly and should have gone 2-0 up in the 46th minute.

The referee pointed to the spot after Marco Cassetti brought down Kolarov inside the area.

Floccari struck towards the centre of goal and Julio Sergio saved.

Roma restored parity soon after.

The referee did not hesitate to point to the spot after Kolarov left his leg hanging to bring down Taddei.

Vucinic made no mistake from the spot-kick and struck out of the reach of Muslera.

The goal inspired the Romans who took the lead in the 63rd minute.

There was little Muslera could do from Vucinic's well-struck free-kick hit towards the top left corner with the keeper blinded by the wall.

Lazio desperately looked for the equaliser and Roma were forced to defend deeply.

With 15 minutes remaining, substitute Mauro Zarate's right-footed strike from the edge of the area forced Julio Sergio to make a fine save.

Rocchi almost levelled with nine minutes remaining.

His volley from Zarate's cross from the right went wide and high of the far post.

Roma's bench and fans nervously waited for the final whistle before they celebrated.
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