Felipe Anderson put in an inspiring display as he scored one and set up two more as Lazio stretched their unbeaten league run to five games with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico.
Samp goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano did well to hold the hosts at bay for the majority of the first half but could do nothing about Marco Parolo’s opener or Anderson’s addition which handed Lazio a 2-0 half-time lead. Serbian international Filip Djordjevic netted a third for Stefano Pioli’s side before their opponents had two goals ruled out for offside.
The win takes Lazio into third, six points behind second-placed Roma, while Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men dropped down to fifth – level on points with fourth-placed Napoli. Dusan Basta sent in a deep cross from the right in the opening five minutes but his long-range effort was safely collected by Viviano, while the Samp goalkeeper held out another chance moments later as the hosts started the brightest.
At the other end of the pitch, the visitors went forward with their first half-chance of the game with Stefano Okaka positioned well in front of goal, but still had three defenders to beat, before he was deemed offside.
Stefan Radu fired over the bar for the hosts, while Viviano did well to hold out a flurry of Lazio chances as they pressed forward. Daniele Gastaldello was booked for bringing down Anderson just outside the 18-yard box but Lucas Biglia’s resulting free-kick – a powerful shot on target – brought out a diving save from Viviano midway through the first half.
On the break, Okaka was unfortunate to have his shot saved by a diving Federico Marchetti as Samp attempted to hit back against the hosts’ dominance. Netherlands defender Stefan de Vrij shot just wide for Lazio with his close-range effort on the half-hour mark as they continued to press for the opener but the opposing defence remained strong.
Radu fired high into the stands as the half wore on and Lazio were finally rewarded for their numerous attempts on goal as Parolo broke the deadlock eight minutes before the break. Anderson crossed the ball in from edge of the 18-yard box and Parolo slotted home past an off-balance Viviano to hand his side a deserved lead.
They doubled their advantage through Brazilian Anderson three minutes later as he fired home a thunderbolt from outside the penalty box, beating the Samp stopper with a fantastic finish into the bottom corner. Lazio were dealt a blow when Loric Cana remained on the deck with what looked like a lower back injury – delaying play just before the break.
Senad Lulic did well with a shot on target five minutes after half-time as the home side began where they left off. Viviano made a bad move as he came well out of his goal 10 minutes after the break but Roberto Soriano managed to clear Djordjevic’s effort in front of the open net, while Anderson was thwarted a second with a great ball forward, but his close-range shot was blocked.
Lazio’s third arrived after 66 minutes as Anderson took a fantastic ball forward and set up Djordjevic in the centre of the six-yard box for a simple tap-in. Samp substitute Gonzalo Bergessio thought he had pulled one back for the visitors minutes later before his effort was ruled offside and Okaka was denied again deep into the second half.
The visitors had another goal ruled offside in the closing ten minutes after Fabrizio Cacciatore headed home, seconds before Okaka shot over the bar in a late onslaught from Sampdoria. Lazio had a few chances of their own late on but settled for a 3-0 win ahead of Sunday’s trip to face second-placed Roma in the Rome derby.