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Lazio strengthens 3rd-place position by beating Udinese 3-0

January 24, 2018

Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic kicks the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Udinese, at the Rome Olympic stadium Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — Lazio strengthened its third-place position with a 3-0 win over Udinese in Serie A on Wednesday in a match that was postponed from November.

Lazio went ahead with the help of an own-goal midway through the first half from Samir Santos.

With top scorer Ciro Immobile out injured, replacement Nani added another following a perfect cross from Felipe Anderson.

Anderson then finished off a counterattack three minutes from time as Lazio stretched its unbeaten run to six matches.

Lazio moved three points ahead of fourth-place Inter Milan, although still trails leader Napoli and second-place Juventus by eight and seven points, respectively.

The match was postponed two months ago due to heavy rain and a waterlogged pitch.

“We’re third and we want to stay there until the end, although it won’t be easy,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “This was a very important match for us. We need to look for continuity and go one match at a time.”

In its last five matches, Lazio has outscored the opposition 13-3.

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DEFIANT DZEKO

Edin Dzeko set aside transfer rumors to score a late equalizer in Roma’s 1-1 draw at Sampdoria in another match that had been postponed — due to bad weather in September.

In stoppage time, Dzeko didn’t even have to leave the ground to head in a cross from the edge of the box for his 10th of the season.

Still, Roma remained fifth after its fifth straight match without a win.

Roma hasn’t won away since beating Fiorentina on Nov. 5.

Roma’s sports director Monchi said the club had rejected an offer for Dzeko, reportedly from Chelsea.

“At the moment Dzeko is here and we are all happy,” Monchi said. “That means that what we’ve received so far wasn’t acceptable.”

Sampdoria had gone ahead when Fabio Quagliarella converted a controversial penalty before the break.

The video referee awarded the penalty after defender Aleksandar Kolarov made contact with his hand while attempting to intercept a cross.

Roma protested for a perceived foul on Kevin Strootman at the other end on the play that led to the penalty.

It was Quagliarella’s 16th goal of the season.

Roma will face Sampdoria again on Sunday at home.

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