Lazio moves to third with Napoli win

April 7, 2012

Lazio moved back into third place in Serie A and in line for the final Champions League qualification spot with a 3-1 victory over Napoli on Saturday night.

Napoli striker Goran Pandev's 34th-minute equalizer cancelled out Antonio Candreva's opener but Stefano Mauri spectacularly put Lazio back in front after the hour mark and Cristian Ledesma sealed the win from the penalty spot nine minutes from time.

The win allowed Lazio to leapfrog Udinese into third in the A table. The Biancoceleste are now three points clear of Udinese and four points above Napoli with seven games remaining.

Napoli went into the encounter at the Stadio Olimpico without five regular midfielders through injuries or suspension.


Prior to kick off, a minute's silence was observed in memory of former Italy and Lazio striker Giorgio Chinaglia, who died last week.

Keen to make up for last weekend's 3-1 loss at Parma, Lazio flew out of the blocks and took a ninth-minute lead.

Tommaso Rocchi fed Candreva on the right and his eight-yard shot towards the near post beat Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.

Lazio pushed for a second and almost got it midway through the first half, but Hernanes' volley from Rocchi's cross was kept out by De Sanctis.

Napoli then shocked the home crowd with an equaliser in the 33rd minute.

Ezequiel Lavezzi's perfect assist found an unmarked Pandev in the area and his left-footed strike beat Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

Before the interval, the referee waved away appeals for a penalty after Pandev went down in the area under a challenge from Lazio's Lorik Cana.

Early in the second half, Lavezzi wasted a good chance as he fired over the bar from eight yards.

At the other end, De Sanctis kept out Candreva's goal-bound attempt from the heart of the area.

The home side went back in front after the hour mark when Stefan Radu's cross found Mauri in the area and he struck a stunning bicycle kick past De Sanctis.

Napoli's hopes of an equaliser were dealt a blow minutes later when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Miguel Britos brought down Rocchi in the area.

Ledesma stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and duly fired high to the goalkeeper's left.

Lazio held on without any scares for their 16th win of the campaign.