MILAN — Joaquín Correa scored twice as Lazio beat AC Milan 3-0 in Serie A on Monday to boost its chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
Correa scored his first after just 77 seconds and doubled his tally in the 51st minute. Ciro Immobile completed the scoring three minutes from time. Lazio closed to within five points of fourth place and the final Champions League berth, having played a match less than the teams above it.
“The lads were really great, it was a final for us,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “It was our last hope to stay in touch with the top four.
“We usually play finals in this way, it was a clear and overwhelming victory.”
Third-placed Napoli, which earlier beat relegation-threatened Torino 2-0, has the same amount of points as Juventus and Milan, which dropped to fifth. Second-placed Atalanta has two points more.
Head-to-head record is the first deciding factor in Serie A, followed by goal difference.
“I expected more from my team,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “We have the technical and physical quality to do better. We must do more, now we must show that we are as strong as I think we are. We need to react immediately because this is a heavy defeat.
“The Champions League race has become a lot more difficult.”
Milan was looking to move back into second place but was without top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and got off to the worst possible start when Correa played a quick one-two with Immobile, rounded Gianluigi Donnarumma and deposited into the empty net.
It was Lazio’s quickest goal in Serie A since statistics supplier Opta started collecting that data in 2004.
Correa almost doubled his tally immediately but Donnarumma pulled off a fantastic save to deny him at point-blank range.
Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina also performed in the first half and his side doubled its lead six minutes after the break when Correa burst into the area, rode an attempt at a tackle from Milan defender Fikayo Tomori and blasted into the roof of the net.
Immobile's lob hit the post 10 minutes from time but the Italy forward got on the scoresheet seven minutes later when Lazzari rolled the ball across to him and he drilled it into the bottom left corner.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RACE
Napoli moved back into the Champions League places in Serie A and could have scored more in a dominant victory.
Two goals in as many minutes from Tiémoué Bakayoko and Victor Osimhen had Napoli firmly in control by halftime. The visitors also hit the post twice, while Torino midfielder Rolando Mandragora was sent off four minutes from time for a second yellow card.
Torino remained above the relegation zone thanks only to a better head-to-head record against 18th-placed Benevento, although it has played a match less than the teams around it.
Napoli got off to a great start when Bakayoko curled a stunning strike into the far bottom corner from 20 yards out.
The lead was doubled following a rapid counterattack. Osimhen sprinted from just inside his own half and his effort was deflected past Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
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