Lazio boosted their UEFA Champions League hopes by returning to winning ways in Serie A, with a 2-0 victory, at relegation-threatened Brescia this afternoon.
Edy Reja's side had won just two games this year and headed to the Stadio Mario Rigamonti on the back of a 1-1 draw against Chievo. But a goal in each half, from Alvaro Gonzalez and Libor Kozak, earned the visitors three points to move them within seven points of leaders AC Milan.
Reja, who has recently been jeered, said he understood the fans' frustrations. "We were top and then second and then we lost a few places but there are times throughout a long season in which it's normal to have a bad spell," he said. "Sometimes I have been jeered by fans but it's normal for fans to behave like this given they love the club."
I Biancoceleste started brightly and could have gone ahead in the ninth minute from a Christian Ledesma header but Brescia goalkeeper Michele Arcari saved well. The opener did arrive nine minutes later, however, when Gonzalez nodded home a superb cross from Stephan Liechsteiner.
Arcari remained the busier of the two goalkeepers as Lazio pushed for a second, parrying a 25-yard Hernanes effort and diving to keep out another long-range blast from Gonzalez. Fernando Muslera was troubled for the first time in the 37th minute and was up to the task of keeping out Panagiotis Kone's header.
That save proved vital as, 13 minutes after the break, Lazio doubled their lead when Kozak powered a fine header into the top-left corner from a Gonzalez corner.
Seemingly not satisfied with their two-goal cushion, the visitors continued to go forward in search of a third. Giuseppe Sculli drilled a shot just wide and then turned provider for Kozak, who mis-kicked from close range at the far post.
Third-bottom Brescia refused to give up and could have halved the deficit if Jonathan Zebina's header had fallen the right side of the post.
Mauro Zarate then had a shot cleared off the line by Brescia defender Francesco Bega. The action continued to switch from end to end with Muslera called into action twice in the final five minutes to preserve his side's two-goal cushion.
First he produced a brilliant save to keep out a close-range Eder blast and he then denied Alessandro Diamanti, whose fierce 20-yard shot had looked goal-bound. Diamanti struck the post with a left-footed free-kick in stoppage time, but it was just not to be Brescia's day.