ROME (Reuters) - Forwards Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo both scored twice in the first half as a rampant Lazio thrashed bottom-of-the-table SPAL 5-1 on Sunday to maintain their Serie A title challenge.
Immobile, Serie A’s leading scorer, took his tally to 25 league goals for the season as his side made it 13 wins and three draws in their last 16 league games.
The win left Lazio with 49 points, five behind leaders Juventus, with a game in hand. They are also one point ahead of Inter Milan who began the weekend in second place and visit Udinese later on Sunday.
Lazio were off the mark in the third minute when Immobile volleyed in at the far post.
Caicedo, who has scored several goals this season as a late substitute, was a start this time and extended Lazio’s lead in the 16th minute from a rebound after Manuel Lazzari’s shot hit the post.
Immobile added the third with shot from a narrow angle which deflected in off SPAL goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and then exchanged passes with Caicedo for the Ecuadorean to curl in the fourth in the 38th minute.
Bobby Adekanye added the fifth just before the hour after Lazzari broke down the right and left the Nigeria-born 20-year-old with a simple tap in for his first goal for the club.
Simone Missiroli skipped through the Lazio defence to score SPAL’s consolation
Atalanta, Serie A’s leading scorers, moved into fourth place, ahead of AS Roma on goal difference, although they were held 2-2 at home by lowly Genoa.
Rafael Toloi headed in Duvan Zapata’s cross to give Atalanta the lead after 13 minutes but Domenico Criscito equalised seven minutes later from a controversial penalty after Stefano Sturaro went down under a challenge from Hans Hateboer.
Antonio Sanabria put Genoa in front after 33 minutes and Atalanta levelled two minutes later with Josip Ilicic turning in another Zapata cross from close range.
Genoa had Valon Behrami sent off in the 72nd minute for a second bookable offence but Atalanta could not find a winner with Toloi denied by the woodwork.
AC Milan, missing forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a bout of flu, were held 1-1 at home by Verona.
Davide Faraoni volleyed in Mattia Zaccagni’s cross at the far post to give Verona a 13th minute lead at San Siro before Hakan Calhanoglu levelled with a deflected free kick just before the half hour.
Matteo Pessina and Zaccagni both hit the woodwork for Verona after halftime before the visitors were reduced to 10 men with a straight red card for Sofyan Amrabat for a dangerous tackle.
Samu Castillejo then hit the post for Milan in stoppage time as they stayed eighth.
Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar