Vincenzo Montella scored four goals as AS Roma returned to the top of Serie A with a 5-1 away win against S.S. Lazio in the Rome derby on Sunday.
Lazio were simply no match for an irresistible Roma side in which Montella and Francesco Totti in particular were outstanding. The result sees Roma regain top spot, ahead of Internazionale FC on goal difference.
Montella had completed his hat-trick within the first period, opening the scoring in the 12th minute with a header from a cross by Vincent Candela. His second came on the half-hour mark following a run and shot by Totti that Lazio goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi could only parry, Montella arriving to knock in the rebound. Number three came just seven minutes later, the 27-year-old from Naples converting a free-kick from Totti.
The hat-trick marked the first time in the history of this fixture that a player has scored three goals in one game. Lazio threatened to make a fight of it at the beginning of the second-half, Dejan Stankovic's right-foot shot beating Francesco Antonioli to reduce the deficit. However nine minutes later Montella was at it again, scoring his and Roma's fourth with a left foot shot. The tireless Totti completed the scoring, breaking through to lob the Lazio goalkeeper in the 72nd minute.
Bologna in charge
Fourth-placed Bologna FC beat Milan AC 2-0, strengthening their bid to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Cruz strengthens claims
Bologna went ahead in the third minute with Salvatore Fresi scoring. Argentinian Julio Cruz strengthened his case for a place in Marcelo Bielsa's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad with the second goal after 24 minutes.
Milan, who lost to local rivals Internazionale FC last weekend, now lie sixth, while Bologna are two places higher - a position strengthened by AC Chievo's 2-2 draw against Torino Calcio. Torino twice came from behind to deny Chievo three points in their chase for a European place.
Manfredini lashes out
Chievo were lucky to go into the break level after they were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Christian Manfredini. The visitors opened the scoring after 20 minutes when Daniele Delli Carri failed to clear the ball from the area and Bernado Corradi slid in to score. Four minutes later, Manfredini lashed out at Gianluca Comotto, who had held him back, and referee Emilio Pellegrino brandished the red card.
With 36 minutes gone, the home side drew level through a neat counter-attacking move. Diego de Ascentis found Riccardo Maspero, who slotted the ball to Marco Ferrante and he found a gap between two defenders to score. Chievo were back in front eight minutes after the break, when Delli Carri's attempted back-pass was intercepted by Corradi, who slotted the ball home. On the hour Torino equalised when a low free-kick by Maspero flew straight into the goal.
Brescia Calcio gave their survival ambitions a boost by claiming a 2-1 victory against bottom club Vicenza Calcio. Vicenza midfield player Federico Magallanes gave his side and something to celebrate when he beat Brescia goalkeeper Federico Castellazzi after a neat counter-attacking move had swept the ball upfield.
Federico Giunti levelled matters ten minutes after the break, when he sent Generoso Rossi the wrong way from the penalty spot after a foul by Fabio Bilica on Mario Salgado. Salgado scored what turned out to be the winning goal minutes later.
Adriano almost put AC Fiorentina into a first-minute lead but Udinese Calcio were supreme for the second half, as the two sides shared the points in a 0-0 draw.
An 83rd-minute penalty by AC Chievo Verona condemned Parma AC to a 1-0 defeat as the likelihood of a relegation dogfight looms. Adrian Mutu's spot-kick seven minutes from time which gifted the home side all three points and gave them breathing space over those sides below them.
A goal in each half from Eusebio di Francesco and Dario Hubner helped Piacenza FC ease their relegation worries at the expense of visiting AC Perugia. Di Francesco struck in the 31st minute. Five minutes from time Hubner struck to make the game safe.
Atalanta BC gained an important 2-1 home victory to prevent themselves slipping towards a relegation zone which is rapidly eating up opponents US Lecce. The hosts swept into a two-goal half-time lead and held off pressure from the visitors over the closing stages to secure an important three points.
Fausto Rossini netted the opener after 22 minutes and Alex Pinardi increased Lecce's problems with the second after 30 minutes, collecting a pass from Inacio Pia and firing home, with Antonio Chimenti only able to get fingertips to the ball. The visitors got on the scoresheet in the 56th minute when Bruno Cirillo scored from close range. Results elsewhere mean Atalanta remain four points clear of the relegation zone.