Lazio hit four to maintain fourth
Lazio strengthened their grip on fourth place in Serie A with a convincing 4-1 victory at Catania this afternoon.
Hernanes put Lazio ahead before half-time before Matias Ezequiel Schelotto equalised soon after the re-start. Stefano Mauri then put Lazio back in front in the 56th minute and Sergio Floccari made it 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining.
Substitute Mauro Zarate capped off a wonderful afternoon for the visitors at the Angelo Massimino Stadium by adding his team's fourth one minute from time.
The result has left Lazio holding on to the last UEFA Champions League qualifying spot. The Romans are four points clear of Udinese, who take on Napoli this evening.
The visitors enjoyed a strong start and would have taken a third-minute lead had Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar not made a good save to deny Giuseppe Sculli's close-range header.
Shortly after, Mauri fed Floccari inside the area and his effort went wide. Lazio pressed forward and could have gone in front in the 19th minute when Mauri's cross found Floccari inside the six-yard box but his shot was kept out by Andujar.
Lazio's efforts paid off before half-time. Mauri's headed pass fell to Hernanes and he struck from close-range past Andujar.
Catania could have equalised seconds later with their first real chance of the game. Ciro Capuano passed to Maxi Lopez on the left of the box but his effort went just wide of the near post.
Catania did pull level one minute after the re-start. Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera could not hold onto Gonzalo Bergessio's strike and the ball fell to Schelotto, who fired past the goalkeeper.
Lazio reacted and went back in front. Mauri got behind Zarate's cross and struck from close range into the back of the net. Catania could have made it 2-2 in the 74th minute but Matias Silvestre's header from Alejandro Gomez's cross went over the bar.
At the other end, Zarate found Floccari inside the area and his right-footed strike beat Andujar. With one minute remaining, Zarate's free-kick towards the left corner of goal beat Andujar again.