Rome: A late glancing header from defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa earned Roma a stunning 2-1 victory over Lazio in a fiery city derby on Monday to secure the Giallorossi`s automatic entry to the Champions League.
Hosts Lazio looked to have salvaged a share of the spoils at the Stadio Olimpico when late substitute Filip Djordjevic headed Miroslav Klose`s headed cutback past Morgan Da Sanctis in the Roma goal to level Juan Iturbe`s 73rd minute opener for the visitors.
A draw would have secured at least a third-place finish for Lazio and a place in the Champions League play-offs.
But Yanga-Mbiwa turned the match on its head with a glancing header from a free kick five minutes from time to secure the points for Rudi Garcia`s side.
The result leaves Roma in second place, 16 points behind recently-crowned champions Juventus but four ahead of Lazio with one game remaining this season.
Lazio remain third but Stefano Pioli`s men, who sit three points ahead of Napoli, now require a point from their trip to Napoli in their final game of the campaign next week, when Roma host Palermo.
If unsuccessful, it would be a spectacular fall from grace for Lazio, who have been playing some of the best football in Italy`s top flight since January.
Lazio came into the derby with tired legs after a 2-1 Cup final defeat to Juventus last week and had a lightning start only to spurn two clear chances for an early lead.
Italy international Antonio Candreva brought a reflex save from Morgan De Sanctis when a long ball from midfield caught the Roma defence unawares, cut in at the byeline and fired from a tight angle.Roma survived a bigger scare moments later when nerves got the better of Vasilis Torosidis as the defender tried to clear.
His effort towards the left touchline got only as far as Candreva, who delivered a perfect ball into the box as Klose ghosted in only to power a header wide of the right post.
Shaky in defence, Roma were hardly making an impression up front either with defenders Dusan Basta and Dutchman Stefan De Vrij keeping the visitors on a tight rein.
The ball broke for Roma winger Alessandro Florenzi on the quarter hour but despite his pace taking him to the right byeline there were no takers for his cutback.
Lazio started just as strongly after the break, Dusan Basta pouncing on a poor headed clearance from Vasilis Torosidis to fire low inches past De Sanctis`s far post.
A Senad Lulic challenge on Totti which left the captain rolling on the ground was the first flash point of the second half and the defender, issued one of his side`s three yellow cards in the opening half, was lucky to escape a second caution.
He was replaced by Luis Cavanda soon after as Lazio kept the momentum, threatening just before the hour when Klose headed back into the area for Stefano Mauri to see his overhead kick blocked.
A tiring Totti came off for Victor Ibarbo, a move that would pay dividends for Garcia`s men, the Colombian holding off his marker to sweep across goal for Iturbe to stab the ball past Marchetti at the back post.
The stadium erupted eight minutes later when Djordjevic, who had replaced Mauri after 76 minutes, ran into the box to head Klose`s header from the right byeline past a flailing De Sanctis after Anderson`s cross in deep.
But with five minutes on the clock, Roma were given a lifeline when they won a free kick to the right of the Lazio area.
Miralem Pjanic stepped up to deliver and Yanga-Mbiwa rose unchallenged to see his glancing effort roll past Marchetti at the `keeper`s far post.