Serie A Roundup: Lazio take home spoils in Roma derby

ROME— Lazio defeated Roma, 3-1, in a captivating clash at the Stadio Olimpico, which means current leaders Juventus are just four points away from securing a sixth successive Serie A title.

 The Biancocelesti took the lead on 12 minutes when Keita Balde Diao neatly tucked away Sergej Milinkovic-Salic’s through ball. Roma equalised on the stroke of half-time through a Daniele de Rossi penalty, controversially earned by Kevin Strootman as the Dutchman appeared to dive when under pressure from Lazio defender Wallace. The decision did not dishearten Lazio, Dusan Basta restored their lead on 50 minutes before Balde Diao completed his brace 5 minutes from time to secure Lazio derby bragging rights. Roma’s misery was compounded as Antonio Rudiger was given a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Lazio forward Filip Djordjevic deep into stoppage time. The result boosts Lazio’s chances of Champions League football, whilst almost eliminating Roma’s faint title hopes.

 Juventus dropped points for the first time in four games as they drew 2-2 on the road to high-flying Atalanta, in the weekend’s early fixture.  The Bianconeri appeared to be heading to another victory after an own goal and a rare strike from Dani Alves had cancelled out Andrea Conti’s first half opener for Atalanta. However, Remo Freuler bundled one home from close range to clinch a draw for La Dea. Nevertheless, Juventus are still nine points clear at the top of the table and are just four points away from adding another Serie A title to their trophy cabinet.

 Napoli boosted their chances of leapfrogging Roma into second place as they overcame Inter Milan 1-0 at the San Siro. A first half goal from Spanish forward José Callejon was enough to secure all three points for Napoli, who now lie only one point behind Roma. The result extends Inter’s run to six games without a win, in seventh place.

 A.C Milan’s hopes of snatching the last Europa League qualifying spot took a hit after they could only muster a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Crotone.

 Palermo starved off their inevitable relegation to Serie B for at least one more week by beating Fiorentina 2-0 to achieve only their fourth win of the entire season.

 Elsewhere there were comfortable wins for both Bologna, 4-0, and Sassuolo, 3-1,  as they eased past Udinese and Empoli, respectively.

 Cagliari snuck past already relegated Pescara 1-0, whilst Chievo rallied to produce a sterling second half performance to come back and beat Genoa 2-1.

 Torino scored late to draw 1-1 with Sampdoria in Saturday’s relatively inconsequential mid-table match up.