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Lazio win again as Roma stumble

serie-a-logoLazio replaced their fierce city rivals Roma as the leading challengers in the battle to chase down Italian Serie A leaders Juventus by hammering Empoli 4-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Biancocelesti took a fourth-minute lead through captain Stefano Mauri with Miroslav Klose adding a second just after the half-hour mark. Antonio Candreva and Felipe Anderson plundered further goals to ensure an eighth straight league win for the Coppa Italia finalists, who now lead Roma by a single point.

The Giallorossi are now 13 points behind Juve after struggling to draw 1-1 at Torino on Sunday. Rudi Garcia’s men needed an Alessandro Florenzi penalty to take the lead on 57 minutes, but Maxi Lopez promptly equalised to send Roma towards their ninth draw from 13 games.

Napoli beat Fiorentina 3-0 to retake fourth place. The Azzurri returned to the race for a Champions League place when Dries Mertens opened the scoring midway through the first half. Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon later made the points safe.

Palermo’s long wait for a second away win came to an end with a 3-1 win at Udinese. Achraaf Lazaar put the visitors on their way in the 15th minute before Luca Rigoni doubled Palermo’s lead six minutes later and Ivaylo Chochev made it 3-0 in the 66th minute. Udinese did not take a shot on goal until nine minutes from time when Antonio Di Natale beat Palermo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.

Sergio Pellissier struck late on to boost Chievo 13 points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory at Cesena, while Atalanta opened a seven-point gap on the drop zone with a precious win. Two goals from German Denis in Bergamo saw the Nerazzurri edge out Sassuolo 2-1, with Domenico Berardi notching a second-half goal for the visitors.

Sampdoria later reclaimed fourth place from Napoli by holding AC Milan to a 1-1 draw at San Siro. The Blucerchiati took the lead in the 58th minute as nifty footwork from Samuel Eto’o set up Roberto Soriano for a close-range finish. Nigel de Jong then equalised with an acrobatic goal but the Rossoneri could not push on to force a third straight win and Filippo Inzaghi’s men remain in a distant ninth place.