Ciro Immobile struck twice as Lazio continued their unbeaten run in the Champions League and took a big step towards the knockout stages with a 3-1 win over Zenit at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.
The Biancocelesti’s talismanic striker needed just three minutes to score a superb opener from distance, before Marco Parolo doubled their advantage with a long range effort of his own.
Artem Dzyuba quickly pulled one back for the Russian champions, but Immobile’s second half penalty was enough to earn Lazio a win that keeps them in second place in Group F with eight points.
Lazio are one point behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, who they face in Germany next week, but four ahead of Club Brugge in third with two games remaining.
Immobile cut a determined figure after missing the last two group games due to COVID-19, and he soon lashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.
The hosts looked dangerous throughout a confident start, and they struck on the counter to double their advantage midway through the first half when Parolo drilled a low shot into the bottom corner from distance.
However, the Russians pulled one back almost immediately with a rare attack when Dzyuba was given too much space in the box to swivel and fire a shot past Pepe Reina.
Lazio pushed to reclaim a two-goal cushion before half time as Luis Alberto had a close-range dink smothered, Parolo blazed wide from close range and Manuel Lazzari had a shot saved after being played clean through in the box with just the keeper to beat.
The Aquile eventually found their third 10 minutes into the second half, when Immobile was tripped in the box and stepped up to convert the resulting spot kick.
The capital club weren’t done there as they went looking for a fourth, with Joaquin Correa heading over from a promising position and substitute Vedat Muriqi having a close-range effort blocked well by the outrushing goalkeeper.