ROME - Lazio won 1-0 at Sampdoria yesterday to go second ahead of Inter Milan in Italy's Serie A, while Roma stemrolled AC Milan 4-2.
Brazilian Hernanes fired home a loose ball in the first half for a win that puts the Rome side on 36 points from 18 games. Lazio sits eight points behind reigning champions Juventus, who on Friday beat 10-man Cagliari 3-1 with a brace from Alessandro Matri.
"I am happy because it was hard to play against a team that just changed coach," Lazio's midfielder Cristian Ledesma said. "It was important to come here and suffer together as we did. There is still a lot to improve."
Roma wasted no time against AC Milan, leading 3-0 after 30 minutes, and adding a fourth in the second half.
Sampdoria slipped to a third straight defeat as former Lazio coach Delio Rossi debuted after replacing Ciro Ferrara earlier this week.
Juve has 44 points, while Inter earlier rallied to salvage a 1-1 home draw against struggling Genoa.
Ciro Immobile put the guests ahead with 13 minutes left, finishing off a break on the left flank with a drive that slipped under the diving Samir Handanovic.
A header from Esteban Cambiasso leveled for Inter with five minutes left.
"We could have won by being more careful," Immobile said, "but we are pleased with the result." Genoa are still in the drop zone on 14 points.
Fiorentina are level on 35 points with Inter, but confirmed a better goal difference as the returning Stevan Jovetic netted a second-half brace - including a penalty kick - in a 3-0 defeat of Palermo.
Napoli hopes to have ended a glum period after snatching a late 2-0 win at bottom club Siena. It sits fifth on 34 points, following two straight defeats before yesterday.
The Naples side was also docked two points this week and had captain Paolo Cannavaro banned for six months in a match-fixing trial, before being eliminated from the Italian Cup. Atalanta and Udinese drew 1-1, Torino beat Chievo 2-0, and Parma rallied to stun Bologna 2-1.
On Friday, strugglers Pescara edged Catania 2-1 to open the weekend.
Serie A now goes into a two-week winter break and will resume on January 6, reaching halfway with its 19th round.
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