The race for the Serie A top goalscorer award is heating up with leading candidates Ciro Immobile and Mauro Icardi both scoring twice on Saturday. Icardi’s goals helped Inter Milan reaffirm its return to form with a 3-0 win over Hellas Verona, while Immobile helped Lazio beat 10-man Benevento 6-2. Immobile leads with 26 goals, two more than Icardi.
All 10 matches are being played on Saturday because of Easter. Later, Leonardo Bonucci returns to his former club for the first time as Serie A leader Juventus hosts AC Milan. Napoli, which trails Juventus by two points, visits relegation-threatened Sassuolo.
Icardi scored four in Inter’s 5-0 win at Sampdoria before the international break and he resumed where he left off, firing his side in front after just 38 seconds. Ivan Perisic set up that goal with a throw in and he got on the scoresheet 12 minutes later, chesting down a Marcelo Brozovic ball and firing in off the left post.
Perisic also set up Icardi’s second, four minutes into the second half. Both sides also hit the post while Verona goalkeeper Nicolas was sent off in the final minute for bringing down Eder. Inter remained in fourth spot, the final Champions League qualifying place. It leads Lazio by one point and has eight more than AC Milan, which it faces in the derby on Wednesday.
Lazio appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory over bottom side Benevento. Visiting goalkeeper Christian Puggioni was sent off in the seventh minute for handling the ball outside his area and Immobile gave Lazio the lead 12 minutes later. However, former Lazio midfielder Danilo Cataldi leveled in the 23rd and 10-man Benevento incredibly took the lead early in the second half through Guilherme after some great work by Cristiano Lombardi.
But it was to prove false hope for the visitors as Felipe Caicedo equalized on the hour, then Stefan de Vrij headed Lazio back into the lead, Immobile doubled his tally, and Lucas Leiva sealed the victory.
Luis Alberto, who set up two goals, converted a penalty in stoppage time.
Last year’s top goalscorer, Edin Dzeko, came off the bench to help Roma rescue a 1-1 draw at Bologna. Midfielder Radja Nainggolan limped off after just 16 minutes, and is a serious doubt to face Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Genoa missed a penalty but netted another in a controversial 1-1 draw against Spal, which moved two points above the relegation zone after 10-man Crotone lost at Fiorentina 2-0.
Torino won at Cagliari 4-0, and Atalanta beat Udinese 2-0. Chievo Verona hosts Sampdoria later.