It’s rare that you score four goals against your biggest rivals
Rarer still that you score four goals against your biggest rivals and aren’t man of the match.
Spare a thought, then, for Vincenzo Montella who scored four goals for Roma against Lazio during a 5-1 win in March 2002 but still managed to play second fiddle to Francesco Totti.
The Derby dell Capitale is Italy’s spiciest derby.
To this day Attilio Ferraris remains the only player to move directly between the two clubs, as he did in 1927.
While on the subject of years gone by, only a Dejan Stankovic strike stopped Roma from equalling their biggest win against Lazio in 89 years on that day in 2002.
Lazio’s team on that day were no mugs.
Angelo Peruzzi’s goal was protected by Alessandro Nesta, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Fernando Couto, while Hernan Crespo led the line, with Karel Poborsky, Gaizka Mendieta and Claudio Lopez in reserve.
But Totti was inspired, leading Alberto Zaccheroni’s men on a merry dance and having a hand in every goal.
Seemingly backed into the corner, Totti’s backheel released French defender Vincent Candela.
His cross, beautifully bent with the outside of his foot, found Montella who crashed a header past Peruzzi.
Totti picked up the ball with half of the Stadio Olimpico turf in front of him.
But he weaved past three tackles with that socks down, hair flying style that could only be Totti and rattled a shot off towards goal.
Peruzzi’s weak parry should have been dealt with by Nesta, but Montella made the most of his compatriot’s pause to make it 2-0.
A bristling run down the right from Cafu saw Roma awarded a free-kick.
Totti curled a cross onto the forehead of Montella, who completed his 24-minute treble.
Okay, Totti can’t take too much credit for Montella’s fourth.
At a stretch you could say that his run off the ball distracted the Lazio defence slightly, but it was the ballistic strike from Montella that did the damage.
Having watched Montella help himself to four goals Totti decided it was probably about time he got on the score sheet.
But it wasn’t just any goal. It was the type of strike that only players with outer-wordly talents could conjure in the heat of a derby.
MORE ON FRANCESCO TOTTI:
- Totti through the years on FIFA
- Totti’s only Serie A title win came off the back of a perfect 3-5-2 formation