Immobile hat-trick as Lazio thrash Sampdoria, keep title chase alive


Milan (AFP)

Ciro Immobile scored a hat-trick as Lazio thrashed ten-man Sampdoria 5-1 on Saturday to close in on Juventus and Inter Milan and consolidate third place in Serie A.

Simone Inzaghi's side extended their winning streak to 11 consecutive games as they target a first Serie A title since 2000 with Immobile the runaway top scorer in Serie A with 23 goals.

Sampdoria had beaten Brescia 5-1 last time out but were overrun by the Romans who move three points behind Juventus and one adrift of Inter Milan.

Eight-time reigning champions Juventus host Parma on Sunday with Inter Milan at Lecce.

Lazio have played one game less than the top two with their delayed game against Hellas Verona scheduled for February.

In-form Immobile was omnipresent, playing a role in Felipe Caicedo's opener after just seven minutes in the Stadio Olimpico.

He added two more in a three-minute first-half spell, the first from the spot after a Nicola Murru handball.

The 29-year-old striker ran rings around the Sampdoria defense after picking up a Francesco Acerbi to put the Romans three goals up after 20 minutes.

Immobile converted a second penalty on 65 minutes after Angolan defender Bastos tapped in nine minutes after the break, bringing his tally to 23 goals this season -- three more than Sampdoria have scored so far this season.

Karol Linetty pulled a goal back for the Genoa side after 69 minutes, but Claudio Ranieri's side are 16th, five points above the relegation zone.

Sampdoria played the final quarter of an hour a man down after Julian Chabot was sent off bringing down Bobby Adekanye as the Nigerian forward raced towards goal.

Eighth-placed Torino travel to Sassuolo, in 15th, later on Saturday, looking to keep their Europa League push on track as last season's runners-up Napoli, in 11th place, host 14th-placed Fiorentina, after losing their last two games.