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Lazio stroll past Spezia, Sassuolo cruise in first match with woman referee

By AFP - Oct 02,2022 - Last updated at Oct 02,2022

ROME — Lazio ensured they would stay in Serie A's top four on Sunday after beating Spezia 4-0 in Rome, while Maria Sole Ferrieri Caputi made history in Sassuolo's 5-0 thumping of Salernitana as the first woman referee in Italy's top flight.

Early goals from Mattia Zaccagni and boyhood Lazio fan Alessio Romagnoli and a brace in the second half from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at the Stadio Olimpico put Lazio three points behind league leaders Napoli in third.

Maurizio Sarri's team are level on 17 points with AC Milan and second-placed Atalanta after making short work of Spezia, who are three points above the relegation zone, and claiming their third straight league win.

However, Lazio will drop back down to fourth should Atalanta not lose to Fiorentina later on Sunday and Udinese win at Verona on Monday.

"It could have been an ugly goal as far as I'm concerned, all that matters is that it went in," said Romagnoli after scoring his first Lazio goal since his summer move from Milan with a well-taken volley.

"It was really great today because the team played really well... I've only just got here but the group has been working together for 14 months [on Sarri's style of play] and I think you can see the results."

Lazio's dominance over their opponents was evident from kick-off, and they would have been ahead in the second minute had Ciro Immobile not blasted over a penalty he won just 39 seconds into the match — the earliest ever in a Serie A match.

The hosts were soon in the lead, however, thanks to Zaccagni, who started and finished the move which ended with him tapping home in the 12th minute after exchanging passes with Felipe Anderson.

And 12 minutes later Romagnoli was kissing the Lazio badge under the Curva Nord end of the stadium where he went to watch the Roman team as a boy.

Milinkovic-Savic hit the bar with a header eight minutes before half-time, but the Serbia midfielder rolled home from Danilo Cataldi's pass to make it three just after the hour mark.

The 27-year-old then dinked in his 50th Serie A goal in stoppage time which gave the match a scoreline that reflected the balance of play.

Ferrieri Caputi had one moment of controversy in her Serie A officiating debut, giving Sassuolo the penalty from which Andrea Pinamonti put the hosts two goals ahead six minutes before half-time.

Armand Lauriente had already put Sassuolo in the lead in the 12th minute with his first Serie A goal when she whistled for what Salernitana thought was a soft foul on Emil Ceide by Giulio Maggiore.

Kristian Thorstvedt, who had laid on Lauriente's opener, then swept home the third in the 53rd minute after rapid counter led by Agustin Alvarez Martinez.

Abdou Harroui made it four with 14 minutes remaining before Janis Antiste rolled in a low finish to complete the rout in stoppage time.

Alessio Dionisi's side are now seventh, level on 12 points with Inter Milan who were beaten by Roma at the San Siro on Saturday and drop down a place to eighth.

Monza moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a 3-0 win at the league's bottom side Sampdoria, their second straight victory after beating Juventus before the international break.

Matteo Pessina and Gianluca Caprari both scored their first goals for the club owned by Silvio Berlusconi, who now sit 16th, before Stefano Sensi scored against his former club, whose team were loudly booed by fans after the final whistle.

Samp have lost their last four and are four points behind 17th-placed Bologna, who take on Juve in Turin on Sunday night.

Lecce drew 1-1 with Cremonese with penalties from Daniel Ciofani and Gabriel Strefezza leaving each side with a point.

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