Rome: Lazio jumped ahead of Inter Milan into second place in Serie A following a 1-0 win at struggling Sampdoria on Sunday in the final Italian league action before the holiday break. Brazil playmaker Hernanes took advantage when Sampdoria goalkeeper Sergio Romero was down on the ground to score in the 31st minute.
It was Samp's first match since former Lazio coach Delio Rossi replaced the fired Ciro Ferrara as manager. Earlier in the lunchtime fixture, Inter needed an 85th-minute equalizer from Esteban Cambiasso to secure a 1-1 draw at home with Genoa. Cambiasso headed in eight minutes after Italy under-21 striker Ciro Immobile had given Genoa the lead at the San Siro after dribbling past defender Andrea Ranocchia.
Inter had a chance to win in the 90th but Marko Livaja hit the post from close range. "We knew it was a (delicate) moment. Even if the result doesn't seem positive today, I want to complement the guys," Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni said. Inter were without several injured players, including Dejan Stankovic, Coutinho, Yuto Nagatomo, and Gaby Mudingayi. Meanwhile, playmaker Wesley Sneijder appears set to leave the club amid a contract dispute.
"This break comes at the right time for us. We're hoping to to get some key players back to top form in January," Stramaccioni said. "These five months were important for laying the basis for a great 2013. In January we're going to fight hard, then we'll see whether it's for the title or for second place."
Juventus, which beat Cagliari 3-1 Friday, lead with 44 points. Lazio is next with 36 points, Fiorentina and Inter have 35 each and Napoli has 34. Fiorentina won 3-0 at Palermo with two goals from Stevan Jovetic, including one with a penalty, and another spot kick from Gonzalo Rodriguez.
Napoli struggled but in the end managed to beat last-place Siena 2-0, ending a four-match losing streak in all competitions. On Tuesday, the southern club were deducted two points for match-fixing in a penalty stemming from a game three seasons ago. Christian Maggio put Napoli ahead in the 86th from close range by redirecting a cross from Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani doubled the lead with a penalty in the 90th for his 13th league goal this season.
In the late match, seventh-place AC Milan take a four-match league winning run to sixth-place Roma. Elsewhere, Parma rallied to beat Bologna 2-1 with goals from Jaime Valdes and Nicola Sansone; Luis Muriel and German Denis traded goals as Udinese drew 1-1 at Atalanta; and Torino beat Chievo Verona with scores from Kamil Glik and Alessandro Gazzi.