Lazio move into fourth

Lazio are left playing a waiting game to see if their victory over Genoa can help secure the final Champions League spot

Roma boss Montella insists he doesn’t favour old team mates as his team challenges Lazio for fourth [GALLO/GETTY]

Lazio gave their hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League a boost by thumping Genoa 4-2 in their Serie A clash on Saturday.

Brazilian Hernanes scored twice while Giuseppe Biava and Tommaso Rocchi also got their names on the scoresheet as Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Floro Flores replied for the visitors at the Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio moved temporarily above Udinese into fourth place but the northerners could reclaim their two-point advantage if they win at Chievo on Sunday.

It means Lazio have also piled the pressure on neighbours Roma who will have to win at Catania on Sunday to keep pace with their city rivals.

Back to winning

Lazio midfielder Hernanes said his team had done their bit and now it was up to the others.

“We fulfilled our commitment and now we’ll wait and see how tomorrow (Sunday) goes and after that we’ll think about the Champions League,” he said.

Biava gave the Romans an early lead on seven minutes when he headed home a corner. But Palacio equalised when he arrived at the back post to beat Fernando Muslera after some pinball in the Lazio area.

Rocchi scored a sublime goal on 52 minutes when he beat the offside trap, took a high ball down with one touch and then despatched the ball past Eduardo with his second.

Hernanes struck twice within 10 minutes before Floro Flores touched home a Domenico Criscito volley a minute from time.

Lazio coach Edy Reja said his team had needed a kick start following their losses to Inter Milan, Juventus and Udinese.

“There was some disappointment during the week because there was the fear that we wouldn’t achieve our objective of qualifying for the Champions League, but we have to believe.”

“At half-time I said if we kept playing like that we risked throwing away an entire season.”

“The players reacted, they were committed and I congratulate them.”

AC Milan celebrated being crowned champions with a clinical finishing display against Cagliari. They were presented with the Serie A trophy in front of their adoring home crowd following the 4-1 victory.

Robinho, Gatttuso and Seedorf all hit the back of the net for Milan with Cossu scoring for the visitors.

Milan won the scudetto last weekend with a draw against Roma enough to ensure fierce rivals Inter Milan would finish in second.

No favourites

Roma coach Vincenzo Montella denied his team is being run like an old boys’ club as they go in search of fourth place and a place in next season’s Champions League.

Roma travel to Catania as they try to close their two-point deficit to fourth-placed Udinese with just two games remaining.

Results & fixtures

Saturday May 14

 Lazio 4-2 Genoa
 AC Milan 4-1 Cagliari

Sunday May 15

 Fiorentina v Bologna
 Bari v Lecce
 Catania v Roma
 Cesena v Brescia
 Chievo v Udinese
 Parma v Juventus
 Sampdoria v Palermo
 Napoli v Inter Milan

The club have hardly improved since Claudio Ranieri left in February following a run of four straight defeats that left them playing catch-up in the Champions League race.

Since then Montella, a former longserving Roma striker, has restored certain veterans to the line-up who found themselves warming the bench under Ranieri.

The likes of striker Francesco Totti, goalkeeper Doni and midfielder Rodrigo Taddei, who had all been team-mates of Montella’s, found themselves restored to the starting line-up at the expense of Marco Borriello, Jeremy Menez and Julio Sergio.

“Some people may think I’m too friendly with the players, even though when I was playing everyone said I was everyone’s enemy,” said Montella.

“Since I took over no-one, Totti included, has ever told me: ‘I would prefer to play in this way rather than that way’.

“I’ve made all my decisions and I remember that in my first game Totti was on the bench, as he was away to (Shakhtar) Donetsk.”

“Then he earnt his place with his performances.”

Source: News Agencies


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