MILAN, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Leaders Lazio face inconsistent AS
Roma in one of world football's most explosive derbies on Sunday, but some of the heat has been taken out of the game
by Francesco Totti's suspension.
The Roma captain was harshly sent off in last weekend's 2-0
win over Lecce for a minor spat with Ruben Olivera but he was
so angry about skipping the derby that he charged after Olivera
on the sidelines and had to be rugby-tackled by several
Totti, 34, has played for Roma all his career and is always
hyped up for the derby.
"I'm so sorry about missing the game I care about the most.
Lazio will definitely win now," Totti joked after netting a
penalty in Wednesday's 3-2 Champions League win at Basel.
Totti is intrinsically linked to the chequered history of
the derby given he was approached by Roma ultra fans in a 2004
game against Lazio and told the game had to be postponed
because of the death of a child before the match.
The rumour was false but the match was abandoned.
In a 1979 derby, a Lazio fan was killed after being hit by
a flare while one of last year's matches was held up for
several minutes because of fireworks on the pitch.
There is always some trouble but no specific threats for
Sunday have been reported.
Roma fans are far from pleased though given Lazio,
relegation candidates last term, are four points clear at the
top of Serie A while their rivals are down in ninth.
Lazio have amassed a club record 22 points from nine
matches despite not adding much to their modest ranks this
term, although new creative midfielder Hernanes has impressed.
Defender Giuseppe Biava was sent off in Sunday's 1-0 win at
Palermo so he misses the derby while goalkeeper Fernando
Muslera is facing a race against time to be fit after a thigh
Second-placed Inter Milan have even worse injury problems
for Saturday's visit of Brescia following Tuesday's 3-1
Champions League defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
Midfielder Sulley Muntari has been added to the long list
of absentees because of a calf injury but striker Diego Milito
showed signs of being somewhere close to top form and fitness
again when he came on as a substitute in London.
AC Milan, in third, travel to bottom side Bari on Sunday while fourth-placed Juventus are also decimated for the
home game with Cesena.
Sampdoria look poised to again leave out striker Antonio
Cassano, who swore at the club president last week, when they
entertain Catania despite fellow striker Nicola Pozzi being
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