On Saturday night, Lazio and Inter met in a top-of-the-table Serie A clash at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, with the hosts eventually emerging 1-0 winners over their Milanese rivals.
After a strong showing from Lazio in the first half, it had been Inter who had looked like they were going on to win in the second period with a spell of complete dominance.
Lazio weren't done, though, and Miroslav Klose's 82nd-minute winner ultimately delivered a hammer blow to Andrea Stramaccioni's side and their hopes of emerging with a difficult away point.
So, what did we learn from the fiercely competitive Serie A clash?
It was a match that provided entertaining fare throughout, in spite of a lack of goals, with two very well-matched sides searching both for openings in the early stages.
With Inter playing very narrow and Lazio also packing the midfield, space was limited, and both teams were forced to work extremely hard for their openings.
Stramaccioni has tinkered with his formations this season, and we were presented with the somewhat rare proposition this season of two Serie A sides lining up with back fours, as well as a heavy presence in defensive midfield.
Vladimir Petkovic, on the other hand, has generally stuck to his 4-1-4-1 formation this season and did so once more, with both teams' formations negating each other for long periods.
Lazio's solidity showed signs of creaking in the second half when Inter were finally presented with a series of chances, but they somehow held firm and eventually struck with a late Miroslav Klose goal.
Inter looked almost certain to grab a winner as the second half developed but wasted several chances as their dominance grew. It must be said, though, that Fredy Guarin was unlucky to strike the post after the break, and they encountered Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti in inspired form.
It was Guarin who was most wasteful for Inter with not a single one of his six shots on target, whilst forwards Antonio Cassano and Diego Milito were limited to just one effort each—Cassano's sole shot was brilliantly saved by Marchetti low to his left.
Ultimately, though, Inter would be given a lesson in the importance of clinical finishing by Lazio striker Miroslav Klose. The veteran forward had three shots during the match, none of which were from a particularly clear-cut chance, but the last of which was ultimately decisive.
When the ball slipped down the inside of defender Andrea Ranocchia by Stefano Mauri, Klose showed his natural instincts to get to the ball ahead of the younger defender and finish low into the corner—all while carrying a knock.
The Germany international, as he has so often in his career, delivered a prime example of why every top side needs a cool head in front of goal and notched his 10th goal of the season, earning his side a valuable three points.
Lazio winning three points was no major surprise, despite Inter performing well above initial expectations this season.
Petkovic's Biancocelesti side are strong at the back, supremely organised and difficult to break down at the best of times, but at their Stadio Olimpico ground, they are exceptionally hard to beat.
After nine home games this season, their record stands at seven wins, one draw and a solitary defeat in front of their faithful supporters—currently the best home statistics in the league.
The one defeat, which came to Genoa in September, was the only occasion that they have failed to find the net at the ground this campaign, and the knowledge that they will likely score offers great confidence to their players, even if the game should still be scoreless late on.
Fredy Guarin can be an exceptional player and, despite having not been as regular a starter as he would like this season, must surely have a permanent role found for him in the Inter side.
The difficulty lies in where exactly to fit him in, especially if Stramaccioni's side line up in a 4-3-2-1 as they have on several occasions this season—including for Saturday's encounter.
Guarin played in an attacking midfield role and, although energetic and ever willing to shoot, the Colombian does not necessarily have the creative abilities required for the role.
Indeed, his pass completion ratio of just 63 percent suggests he wasn't capable of picking his way through the Lazio defence from the more advanced areas he found himself in.
The issue is that the Colombian is also stifled when played as one of the three defensive midfield roles in this set-up and really needs a more central role where he can distribute the ball and burst forward from deep, as well as benefiting from a bit more space in which to work.
Guarin is an exceptional talent, but neither he nor Cassano alongside him were able to provide the creativity needed to break Lazio down on this occasion.
At the other end, Lazio also looked to be searching too hard to force an opening with little success. Their goal eventually came from a Mauri pass through to Klose, but for much of the evening, Petkovic's side looked almost exclusively to Brazilian Hernanes for inspiration.
The former São Paulo man is often the catalyst for Lazio's best showings, but he was not in his best form in this encounter—unable to shake off the attentions of Walter Gargano in particular.
Hernanes worked hard throughout and struck a lovely free kick at goal in the second half, but ultimately endured a frustrating match where little went quite as he would have planned.
It was a tough ask for the team's midfield playmaker, though, with his team often looking to him to produce the impossible. He got his shots away and presented teammates with decent opportunities, but they were squandered.
Lazio will need to produce alternative routes to goal if they are to move on to the next level, with the Brazilian expected to do far too much for his side in attacking areas
The 39-year-old Javier Zanetti has started all but one league encounter for Inter this season and once more put in a fine performance that showed all his importance to the Nerazzurri cause.
Starting in a central defensive midfield role, Zanetti was an omnipresent figure in the early stages as Lazio started strongly, and he was required to mop up in front of his under-pressure defence.
In the second half, though, a change of system was required to combat the excellent Senad Lulic on the Lazio left, and it was the Argentine who was sent to the right-back position to offer more protection.
While Japan international Yuto Nagatomo had struggled to deal with Lulic, Zanetti sured up the flank and negated the Bosnian, while also allowing Nagatomo to impress further up the pitch.
Zanetti's talents are well known, and he rarely disappoints, but the Argentine was simply outstanding this evening and did not deserve to see his night end in defeat.
Statistics via Whoscored.