MILAN — Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his tenth goal of the season to lift Lazio to a 2-1 victory over Atalanta in Serie A on Saturday, a result that kept the Romans in the hunt for a Europa League place.
Juventus is already guaranteed a spot in the Champions League next season, but Lazio’s game against Atalanta had assumed even greater importance in the race for a top-four finish and a Europa League place.
A goal in each half from Huntelaar gave Lazio a comfortable win against the visitors before Alberto Gilardino put the game beyond doubt as the hosts took complete control.
Huntelaar fired Lazio ahead in the 31st minute with a blistering finish from the edge of the area after being played in by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Atalanta struck back just three minutes later, through Adem Ljajic, who converted a penalty after being brought down in the area by Stefan Ivanovic.
Lazio appeared to be heading for a frustrating afternoon before Giulio Migliaccio hit a powerful shot from long range to put the hosts firmly in control of the game.
Gilardino added a third on the hour mark to ensure the two goals difference between Lazio and Atalanta would not be enough to deny either side a Europa League spot.
Lazio is now third in the standings, two points behind third-placed Inter Milan with two games remaining, while Atalanta remains in sixth place and will end the season fighting for a spot in Europe’s second-tier competition.
Earlier, Luiz Felipe Scolari ended his second spell as AC Milan coach with a 3-1 victory over Genoa at the San Siro.
Carlo Ancelotti last month parted ways with Milan after a disappointing campaign, and Scolari returned to the club for a second stint after guiding the Rossoneri to the Champions League in 2014.
Scolari, who also had a spell in charge of Milan from 1996-97, takes charge with the Rossoneri currently 10th in the table and five points clear of the relegation zone.
Genoa was unable to take advantage of a numerical advantage, though, as all three goals came in the second half, with Lucas Biglia scoring twice, including a penalty, and Manuel Locatelli netting the other.
Lucas Paqueta gave Milan the lead in the 38th minute, but Juventus’s 1-0 win over Torino kept the Rossoneri in seventh place, three points off the relegation places.
In other games on Saturday, Rafael Benitez’s failure to secure a deal for a permanent move to Napoli forced him to make do with a 2-1 win at Sassuolo.
David Ragan and Lorenzo Pellegrini put the hosts in a strong position at the break, but Mario Rui had a late consolation goal for the visitors.