ROME, April 30 (Reuters) - AS Roma’s Serie A title challenge all but fizzled out on Sunday when they lost 3-1 to arch-rivals Lazio despite being awarded a hugely controversial penalty which overshadowed the game.
Referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot after Kevin Strootman went down in the Lazio penalty area but replays showed that the Dutchman was not touched by any Lazio player.
Strootman touched the ball once, turned and then went down in the penalty area although it was not clear whether it was a deliberate dive or he was just trying to get out the way of a tackle from Lazio’s Wallace.
Daniele De Rossi converted the spot kick in the 45th minute to cancel out Keita Balde Diao’s 12th minute opener for Lazio amid furious protests.
Fourth-placed Lazio restored what they saw as justice when Dusan Basta scored with a deflected shot five minutes after the restart and Keita finished off a deadly counter-attack to complete the win with his second goal of the game.
Second-placed AS Roma’s defeat left them nine points behind leaders Juventus with only four matches left to play.
It was Lazio’s first league win over Roma since November 2012, a run of seven matches.
Roma brought on 40-year-old Francesco Totti for the last 20 minutes for what could be stalwart’s last derby, if he does not renew his contract at the end of the season. (Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)