Atalanta and Lazio warm up for Champions League with wins in Serie A

Atalanta defeats visiting Spezia 3-1 with two goals from Mario Pasalic; Lazio beats last-placed Crotone 3-2.

Atalanta’s Luis Muriel (right) celebrates after scoring during against Spezia on Friday.   -  AP

Atalanta and Lazio warmed up for Champions League games with victories in Serie A on Friday. Atalanta defeated visiting Spezia 3-1 with two goals from Mario Pašalić, while substitute Felipe Caicedo scored a late winner for Lazio to beat last-placed Crotone 3-2.

Atalanta moved into fourth place and the final Champions League spot while Lazio remained seventh. Atalanta will try to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit when it visits Real Madrid in the round of 16 on Tuesday. Then Lazio needs to make up for a 4-1 first-leg loss when it plays at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Luis Muriel also scored for Atalanta, which got all of its goals in the second half.

Roberto Piccoli, who is on loan from Atalanta, pulled one back for Spezia nine minutes from time. Sergej Milinković-Savić and Luis Alberto also scored for Lazio, while Simy Nwankwo had a brace for Crotone.

‘A lot of points still up for grabs’

“This victory gives us motivation,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “We have a game in hand and if we can keep winning we can get back into the top four. There are a lot of points still up for grabs in terms of achieving our goal — getting back into the Champions League.”

With his 10th and 11th goals of the season, Simy matched Obafemi Martins for most goals by a Nigerian in a single Serie A campaign. Martins also scored 11 for Inter Milan in 2004-05.

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