Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Lazio used three first-half goals to roll to a 4-0 win over Empoli at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, allowing the club to jump over rivals Roma and into second place.
Stefano Mauri's goal inside of four minutes put Lazio on its way, and Miroslav Klose doubled the advantage in the 31st minute. Antonio Candreva's goal just before halftime handed Lazio a commanding lead, and there was no way back for Empoli after Felipe Anderson scored in the 53rd, even though Lazio played the final 32 minutes with 10 men after a 58th-minute red card to Diego Novaretti.
Lazio entered the day two points back of Roma in the race for second place. But after Roma was held to a 1-1 draw at Torino, Lazio took advantage with an eighth straight win to go one point clear with eight matches remaining.
The hosts wasted little time in grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck as Mauri headed home Luis Cavanda's cross inside of four minutes.
Cavanda played provider once again in the 31st with another delivery that resulted in Klose turning a header past Empoli goalkeeper Luigi Sepe and inside the left post.
Sepe was merely an observer in the 44th when Candreva beat his man and hammered a shot into the top corner from 30 yards with the goalkeeper simply rooted to his spot.
Anderson then tallied his 10th goal of the season in the 53rd minute when he unleashed a powerful shot that Sepe failed to handle, allowing the Brazilian to follow up the shot and score on the rebound.
The only blemish on the day for Lazio was in the 58th minute when Novaretti received a second yellow card for a late tackle on Empoli's Mario Rui. However, the hosts still managed to see the game out and keep their fifth clean sheet in the past six games.
Roma falls to third after the 1-1 draw with Torino despite the capital club taking a 1-0 lead in the 58th minute through a penalty kick from Alessandro Florenzi. However, Torino equalized only six minutes later behind a goal from Maxi Lopez.
Napoli jumped Fiorentina with a 3-0 win over the Viola on Sunday that saw Napoli get second-half goals from Marek Hamsik and Jose Maria Callejon, while Sampdoria and AC Milan battled to a 1-1 draw, allowing Napoli to take over fourth place.
Atalanta got two goals from German Denis in a 2-1 win over Sassuolo that moves the club seven points clear of the bottom three, while Cesena's 1-0 defeat to Chievo only deepened their relegation fears as Sergio Pellisier's goal in the 83rd minute separated the sides.
Sunday's other contest saw Palermo cruise to a 3-1 win at Udinese with goals from Achraf Lazaar and Luca Rigoni in the opening 20 minutes setting the tone for Palermo.