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Lazio see off Monza to stay second behind Napoli, Roma in top four

Roma's players celebrate after scoring against Sampdoria. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Lazio will hold on to second place in Serie A after winning comfortably 2-0 at Monza on Sunday and cutting Napoli’s huge league lead to 16 points, while Roma moved into the Champions League places with a 3-0 success over Sampdoria.

Pedro’s low finish in the 13th minute and a sensational free-kick from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic 10 minutes after half-time gave Lazio their fifth win in six league matches.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are now five points ahead of third-placed Inter, who were beaten by Fiorentina on Saturday, after their sixth straight clean sheet in Italy’s top flight.

AC Milan can cut that deficit to four if the reigning champions pull off a surprise win at Napoli in Sunday’s late match and move above local rivals Inter.

Napoli can take another step towards their first Serie A title since 1990 but will be without injured star striker Victor Osimhen.

Milinkovic-Savic’s goal was his first since scoring against Milan in January and his 65th for Lazio, making him the club’s highest ever foreign goalscorer.

“These are three big points… we saw that Inter didn’t win again, let’s hope that Milan don’t either so that we’re in second for a little bit longer at least,” Milinkovic-Savic said.

“It’s been a few months that I’ve not played as well as I could have, it’s been a hard period for me, but I give all I can to improve and today finally I scored a goal.”

Level on 50 points with Inter are Roma, who overcame 10-man Sampdoria in Rome thanks to Georginio Wijnaldum’s header six minutes into the second half and two late strikes from Paulo Dybala and Stephan El Shaarawy.

Roma in top four

Wijnaldum, who also hit the post in the first half, helped ensure Roma will be in the top four with 10 matches remaining — as long as Milan don’t beat Napoli — with his second Serie A goal.

“It was really important because in the last two games we didn’t have the results we wanted to, and to compete for the Champions League spots we needed a win today,” said Wijnaldum to DAZN.

Netherlands midfielder Wijnaldum struck five minutes after Jeison Murillo was sent off for two bookable offences and then won the penalty from which Dybala scored his 10th league goal of the season with a minute remaining.

El Shaarawy swept home a fine stoppage-time finish to hand Samp their 19th defeat of the season and leave them 10 points behind Spezia, who sit just above the relegation zone and drew 1-1 with fellow strugglers Salernitana.

Eldor Shomurodov dinked in Spezia’s leveller with 20 minutes remaining after Mattia Caldara’s own goal just before the break.

Daniel Maldini and Albin Ekdal both struck the woodwork in a frantic finish for Spezia who sit six points above Verona and the drop zone.

Earlier, Bologna boosted their hopes of European football next season with a 3-0 win over Udinese.

Thiago Motta’s Bologna are eighth on 40 points, seven points from the Conference League spot currently held by sixth-placed Roma who host struggling Sampdoria on Sunday evening.

That place in Europe’s third-tier club competition will drop down to seventh if a team already qualified for continental football wins the Italian Cup.

Of the six teams currently in the European places, Inter Milan are the only one in the semi-finals of the Italian Cup.

Bologna haven’t featured in a major European competition since reaching the third round of the UEFA Cup in 1999.

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