Lazio power past Udinese
Lazio moved back ahead of city rivals Roma following a comfortable 3-0 win over Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night.
A delightful Anderson Hernanes free-kick, after first-half goals from Alvaro Gonzalez and Miroslav Klose, sent the Romans up to fifth place in Serie A following a week the club has found itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Lazio president Claudio Lotito has spent the past five days distancing Lazio from a vicious bar-room attack before last week's Europa League tie against Tottenham that left a Spurs fan fighting for his life.
Two Roma fans have subsequently been charged with attempted murder and on Tuesday night Lazio opted to wear their traditional light blue jersey with the English words 'No Racism' emblazoned across it.
It was a clear indication of the club's determination to clear their name, after initially being linked to the attack, with Lotito also reported to have visited the stabbed Tottenham fan, Ashley Mills, in hospital today.
On the pitch the Biancocelesti were hardly troubled and had overcome a missed penalty by the time they went ahead for good on 17 minutes.
Christian Ledesma's casual-looking spot kick was saved by Zeljko Brkic low to his right and while Antonio Di Natale smacked a tight-angled free-kick against the post Lazio deservedly hauled themselves ahead.
Their opener owed to a perfectly-weighted first-time pass from Stefano Mauri across the top of the area that was thumped in by Gonzalez.
Udinese were already being over-run and Brkic needed a strong hand to palm over when Antonio Candreva was allowed a free passage into the area.
Some more poor defending allowed Lazio to go 2-0 up on the half-hour.
A hopeful hoof forward was helped on by Mauri for Klose who, completely unmarked, was able to saunter into the area and pass the ball past an exposed Brkic for his eighth goal of the campaign.
Udinese, who came from 2-0 to beat Roma in the capital last month, almost pulled a goal back just before the break when Federico Marchetti spilled a simple catch that Andrea Coda instinctively poked wide.
Lazio were out of sight on the hour when Hernanes, who had come on moments earlier, got his free-kick up and over the wall from just outside the area.
With the game won the hosts went through the motions in the last 30 minutes to secure a barely-taxing win ahead of the weekend visit of Parma.