Lookman leads Atalanta to victory at Lazio in Serie A fight for top 4

Lookman leads Atalanta to victory at Lazio in Serie A fight for top 4
Atalanta's British midfielder Ademola Lookman outruns Lazio's Spanish forward Pedro during the Italian Serie A football match between Lazio and Atalanta on Saturday at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (AFP)
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Updated 12 February 2023

Lookman leads Atalanta to victory at Lazio in Serie A fight for top 4

Lookman leads Atalanta to victory at Lazio in Serie A fight for top 4
  • Roma were held at Lecce to 1-1 , while Milan beat Torino 1-0 on Friday

MILAN: When he’s not scoring, Ademola Lookman is setting them up.

Lookman had a hand in both goals of Atalanta’s 2-0 win over Lazio in Serie A scrap for the top four on Saturday.

Atalanta moved into third place, above AC Milan and Roma on goal difference alone. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker at the end of the season.

Roma were held at Lecce to 1-1 earlier, while Milan beat Torino 1-0 on Friday.

Sixth-placed Lazio were two points behind the trio.

Atalanta started aggressively at the Stadio Olimpico and took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute. Lookman was trying to cut inside and Lazio midfielder Adam Marusic tried to intercept but succeeded only in laying it off to Davide Zappacosta, who curled a stunning strike into the top right corner.

Lookman almost got on the scoresheet moments earlier but his effort was fingertipped onto the crossbar by Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel.

The Nigeria forward set up the other goal in the 65th, racing down the left flank and into the area before rolling across the six-yard box, where Rasmus Winther Højlund came sliding in.

Lookman had five goals in his previous four league matches.

Every point matters in Serie A in an increasingly tight battle for the Champions League qualifying spots and Roma could be left counting the cost of drawing at lowly Lecce.

Lecce was looking to push on after ending a four-match winless run last week and it took a surprise lead when a corner was taken short and whipped in from the right for Federico Baschirotto to head into the far side of the net.

It was later adjudged to have gone in off Roma defender Roger Ibañez and went down as an own goal.

Roma leveled 10 minutes later after a corner was flicked on and came off the arm of Lecce forward Gabriel Strefezza. Paulo Dybala struck the resulting penalty into the bottom right corner.

Home goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone preserved his side a point with fine saves as Lecce inched to 10 points above the relegation zone.

Emanuel Vignato had a debut to remember for Empoli as he netted a stoppage-time equalizer to snatch a 2-2 draw against relegation-threatened Spezia in an action-packed match.

Vignato, who joined on loan from Bologna last month, went on with only five minutes remaining.

Spezia raced into an two-goal lead after Empoli defender Fabiano Parisi was sent off in the 21st minute for clearing the ball off the line with his hand.

Guglielmo Vicario parried Daniele Verde’s penalty and his follow-up but the referee ordered it to be retaken. On the third attempt, Verde beat the Empoli goalkeeper and he did so again six minutes later with a screamer into the top corner.

The teams were down to 10 on 10 after the break when Spezia midfielder Salvatore Esposito was issued a second yellow card.

Nicolo Cambiaghi pulled one back for Empoli in the 71st before Vignato’s late heroics.

Spezia was five points above the bottom three while Empoli moved to within three points of the European places.