Rocchi fires Lazio to win
Captain Tommaso Rocchi scored a brace as Lazio consolidated fourth place in Serie A with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Novara.
Last Updated: 05/12/11 10:23pm
Captain Tommaso Rocchi scored a brace as Lazio consolidated fourth place in Serie A with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Novara on Monday night.
The match at the Stadio Olimpico was decided before half-time, with Giuseppe Biava's first league goal for the Biancoceleste this season putting the home side on course for all three points after 16 minutes.
Skipper Rocchi doubled his team's lead midway through the first half before adding his second of the evening 18 minutes from time.
Novara lacked the killer instinct in front of goal and they remained in the relegation zone, four points adrift of safety.
The result lifted Lazio five points clear of fifth-placed Napoli after 13 games.
Lazio coach Edy Reja had demanded a huge improvement from his players after last week's disappointing goalless draw at Vaslui in the Europa League, and they responded with a solid display.
The hosts enjoyed a strong start and were rewarded when an unmarked Biava got his head on Hernanes' corner, and his effort beat Novara goalkeeper Samir Ujkani.
The visitors had little time to react before Lazio made it 2-0 soon after, Rocchi heading home a Cristian Ledesma free-kick after finding space in the box.
The best Novara chance of the first half came on 31 minutes when Andrea Mazzarini picked out Filippo Porcari, but Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti kept out the shot.
Early in the second half, Miroslav Klose missed an open goal when he fired wide from close range after rounding Ujkani.
Lazio continued to press forward, though, and in the 70th minute Senad Lulic's left-footed volley from the edge of the area went over the bar.
Rocchi sealed the win three minutes later. Alvaro Gonzalez's cross found Rocchi in the penalty area, and the veteran forward volleyed it home.
Novara could have reduced the deficit in the 83rd minute when substitute Neves Jeda met Luigi Giorgi's cross, but he could not direct his header on target.
Lazio were unlucky not to make it 4-0 with four minutes remaining as substitute Djibril Cisse's left-footed shot from 10 yards struck the far post.
Giorgi then hit the crossbar from close range when he should have done better as Novara's winless run on the road continued this season.