Giampaolo Pazzini hit a brace as AC Milan beat 10-man Lazio 3-0 at the San Siro to move above the Romans to third in Serie A.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side benefited from the controversial dismissal of Antonio Candreva to pummel their guests, leaving Lazio struggling to cope and unable to reply.
Pazzini, in for the injured Mario Balotelli, opened the scoring five minutes before half time, with Kevin-Prince Boateng adding a second soon afterwards, both tap-ins after saves of varying quality from Federico Marchetti.
The bustling Pazzini doubled his tally with a fine long-range drive, although that came from a Stefan Radu error.
Radu was also at fault as Pazzini spurned his hat-trick chance, Allegri harshly subbing him off just afterwards.
M’Baye Niang hit the bar late on as Milan hunted a fourth, but 3-0 was more than enough to put them ahead of Lazio on points, while their goal difference is also superior.
The match started promisingly for the neutral as both sides traded early opportunities, Marchetti twice saving from Stephan El Shaarawy while Sergio Floccari finished too close to Christian Abbiati for the visitors.
But any hopes of an even contest were ended when referee Nicola Rizzoli elected to dismiss Candreva for his foul on El Shaarawy on the quarter-hour mark.
It seemed that Andre Dias was covering behind suitably for a yellow card to be sufficient punishment, while the foul also appeared to be inside the box, but after much deliberation with the assistant a red card and free-kick were awarded.
From that moment onwards it was all Milan as Mattia De Sciglio and Pazzini went close, with the latter also denied a penalty as Radu pulled his shirt: he was booked for diving instead.
The Rossoneri soon took charge anyway, thanks to a rare error from Marchetti, who parried Ignazio Abate’s shot into the path of El Shaarway, who got a touch on the loose ball to hand Pazzini a simple finish.
Marchetti was also involved for Milan’s second goal, although this time his save from Pazzini’s power header was superb: unfortunately his defence reacted slowly and Boateng was able to rifle home the loose ball.
The second half initially saw Lazio hint at a comeback, as Abbiati saved from a Hernanes free-kick before Giuseppe Biava put wide from the corner.
But any Biancocelesti hopes were put to bed when, having just been booked after a flare-up with Boateng, Radu made a mess of a routine clearance, with Pazzini on hand to drill a fine shot past Marchetti into the bottom right.
Pazzini could have sealed a famous treble when Radu missed El Shaarawy’s cross, but he thrashed wildly at the volley to put it well wide. He came off soon afterwards.
Niang made a late cameo, impressing with his direct play down the right, and he nearly got a first Serie A goal with a ferocious drive off the bar.
El Shaarawy also put just wide after going one-on-one with Marchetti, but there was no fourth for the Rossoneri, who go just three points shy of second-placed Napoli.
- Sports & Recreation
- Giampaolo Pazzini
- Federico Marchetti