David Beckham created two goals as AC Milan thrashed Lazio 3-0 at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to move into second place in Serie A. The victory cut Inter Milan's lead at the top to six points after their bitter city rivals were held to a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Torino.
Beckham was chief orchestrator with pin-point crosses to create the first two goals before Kaka rounded off the scoring late on. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said the difference between the two teams was merely quality. "Lazio had a lot of pressure and maybe the only thing they lacked was a clinical finish but we held onto the ball well," he said.
"We're still in the title race but we're playing catch up and Inter are still the favourites. Things are going well for us, we're trying to be more clinical. There's no let up and we're looking forwards with confidence."
Milan demonstrated their attacking intent on seven minutes when Marek Jankulovski took a pass from Kaka at pace into the box but Fernando Muslera was equal to his stinging shot. On 35 minutes Lazio had the first of two chances in quick succession as Goran Pandev curled his effort just past the angle of post and bar.
Moments later he released Mauro Zarate who tried to round Christian Abbiati only to be stopped by the goalkeeper before Pandev poked the rebound into the side-netting. The hosts were made to pay as Beckham escaped down the right and crossed perfectly for Pato to steer home, although there was more than a hint that the former England captain was offside. In first-half injury-time Beckham crossed for Pato to head home but this time the linesman's flag did go up.
But only three minutes into the second period, Beckham punished Lazio's shoddy marking once again with a sumptuous delivery from a free-kick that Massimo Ambrosini gleefully headed home. Thereafter Milan repeatedly beat Lazio's hapless offside trap but both Pato and Kaka overran the ball before the latter then hit the outside of the post on his next escape. Lazio didn't learn their lessons though and once again Kaka got in behind the hosts' defence on 83 minutes before slotting home from an angle.
Genoa tightened their grip on fourth and the final UEFA Champions League qualifying place as Domenico Criscito scored two minutes from time to give them a 1-0 home win over Palermo.
AS Roma's charge up the table was blunted at Reggina despite a brace from Chile midfielder Claudio Pizarro as they were held to a 2-2 draw. It was only the third time in their last 12 matches they had failed to win and leaves them three points behind Genoa.