A rejuvenated Inter Milan are right back in the running for a place in next season's Champions League after winning 3-1 at Udinese on Wednesday thanks to an inspired performance by Wesley Sneijder.
The Dutchman scored twice as the nerazzurri came from behind at the Stadio Friuli to make it three wins and two draws in five games since former youth coach Andrea Stramaccioni replaced Claudio Ranieri in the dugout.
Inter capitalised fully on a slip-up by Lazio, whose grip on third place -- the final Champions League qualifying position -- was weakened by a 2-1 defeat at struggling Novara earlier in the day.
With the sides around them all dropping points, Inter are suddenly looking well-placed to salvage a top-three finish from a season overshadowed by coaching changes and a failure to impress in Europe.
Sneijder then put Inter in front after excellent build-up play from Diego Milito and the 3-1 victory was complete before half time as Argentine midfielder Ricardo Alvarez turned the home defence inside out before slotting home.
Lazio are now three games without a win after substitute Giuseppe Mascara scored a delightful free-kick 11 minutes from time to give Novara a win that is likely to only delay their return to the second tier.
Lazio now face a crunch clash with Udinese on Sunday.
However, Andrea Lazzari struck two minutes into injury time to inflict another damaging defeat on the giallorossi.
Wednesday's matches are those rescheduled from April 14, when the entire Italian football league programme was cancelled after Livorno's Piermario Morosini collapsed and died during a second division game at Pescara.
Source: AFP Global Edition