Lazio recovered from their Round 32 defeat to Napoli, with a crucial 3-0 victory in Serie A over fellow Champions League qualification hopefuls AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Monday night.
Two goals at the start of each half from attacker Joaquin Correa gave the hosts a two-goal lead in the capital and Ciro Immobile increased expectations of a top-four finish this season with a late third.
With the Partenopei triumphing over Torino immediately before the two sides faced-off in the capital, they joined the Rossoneri and Juventus on 66 points in the standings behind leaders Inter, while tonight’s Biancocelesti win took them to 61 points and a game more to play than their rivals.
Although goalkeeper Pepe Reina was forced to save from Hakan Calhanoglu inside the opening minute, it was the Biancocelesti who took the lead seconds later with their first attack on goal. Correa drove towards goal from midway inside the Rossoneri half, exchanged a neat one-two with Ciro Immobile, and took the ball around the statuesque Gianluigi Donnarumma to score.
With Lazio dominating the opening 25 minutes, Correa could have twice extended his tally and the lead. However, after Theo Hernandez headed a cross straight to the attacker, the Argentine volleyed into the ground and over the crossbar.
Moments later, the Rossoneri left-back was at fault once again, hesitating when he should have cleared and was dispossessed, but again Correa failed to capitalise by shooting wide.
Milan eventually started to threaten and saw Reina deny Calhanoglu once more with an impressive stop from close range, but their attempts to find an equaliser nearly resulted in another for the Biancocelesti.
Just before the break, a blistering counter-attack saw Correa slide the ball through to an onrushing Manuel Lazzari, who slipped the ball under the body of Donnarumma, only for VAR to rule him offside.
Six minutes into the second period, though, another Lazio breakaway made its way to Correa, who muscled his way past Fikayo Tomori and shot powerfully past Donnarumma, for his and the hosts second.
As the Rossoneri committed bodies forward in the search of an unlikely comeback, the Biancocelesti continued to find openings, with Donnarumma tipping a Correa drive round the post and Immobile chipping the goalkeeper but striking the upright.
Immobile finally added to his six strikes in 12 league appearances against Milan just before the end of the game, though, taking the ball under control 15 yards from goal and firing low into the net.
With Lazio gaining momentum in recent weeks, the Napoli defeat aside, and Milan’s challenging final run of games, they could well find themselves switching places before the campaign ends.