Milan (AFP) – A pair of sparkling assists from Felipe Anderson helped Lazio up to fourth place in Serie A with a 2-1 win at Sampdoria on Saturday.
Anderson set up both Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Marco Parolo for goals late in the first half as Lazio moved to within five points of league leaders Juventus.
Lazio coach Simeone Inzaghi poured the plaudits on Anderson and said the win made amends for last week’s 2-0 derby defeat to Roma, which stopped their unbeaten run at nine games.
“I’m happy with him, he’s doing very well in training,” Inzaghi said of Brazilian playmaker Anderson.
“Sometimes in certain games you don’t get the best out of him but, in the derby it wasn’t just him who didn’t play well.
“We gave a poor show to our fans, but I think they even got fed up with the game.
“At training in midweek we went over some of the errors we’d made and by Wednesday we’d put them to the back of our minds.
“We had a great first half tonight, perhaps our best of the year. We should have probably scored a third in the second half. Their goal put us under pressure at the end, but we more than deserved the win.”
Against a tame Sampdoria side that failed to really threaten until Patrick Schick’s late consolation, Lazio would have scored even more were it not for a good performance from home goalkeeper Christian Puggioni.
Sampdoria had not lost at home since being beaten 1-0 by AC Milan in September but they fell behind five minutes before the interval.
Anderson skipped past Karol Linetty and whipped in a cross for Milinkovic-Savic to head home from six yards.
Five minutes later, Anderson delivered a weighted cross that Parolo got the slightest of touches to down low before it crept under Puggioni.
Lazio, who replaced goalkeeper Federico Marchetti with Thomas Strakosha at half-time, could have added more goals in the second period.
But after cutting in from the right and turning his marker twice, Anderson’s vicious shot was parried by Puggioni at the far post.
Puggioni also saved from Ciro Immobile, while at the other end Fabio Quagliarella came close from a free-kick and also glanced a header wide.
However, he was upstaged in the 89th minute when Schick, a late substitute, beat Strakosha with a left-foot screamer.
Lazio, now with just one defeat in 11 games, are just a point behind Roma and Milan, who meet each other on Monday.
Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo said: “Credit to Lazio, they’re a strong side and they came here wounded from the derby but it was good game.
“Lazio sat back and in packed the midfield. We tried to play our game but we weren’t quick enough to adapt our game. In a lot of situations they were just a step ahead of us.”
Champions Juventus go to Torino in the Turin derby on Sunday looking to stretch their lead on Roma and AC Milan, both four points adrift ahead of their clash on Monday, to seven points.
Earlier, Gianmarco Ferrari headed a late winner to help minnows Crotone secure just their second victory of their maiden Serie A campaign, 2-1 over fellow strugglers Pescara.
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