Icardi double helps Inter see off Lazio

Inter Milan brought the year to a close with a convincing 3-0 victory over Lazio on Wednesday to make it five league wins in a row at the San Siro.

After a goalless first half, Ever Banega broke the deadlock nine minutes after the restart and a brace from Mauro Icardi sealed a third successive win for the Nerazzurri, who moved within three points of the European places in seventh position.

Simone Inzaghi's side saw a two-match winning streak come to an end as they missed out on the chance to climb up to second spot in the standings to remain fourth.

The visitors almost got off to a flying start, though, when Felipe Anderson got away down the right in the opening minute and squared the ball for Ciro Immobile, whose shot was saved by Samir Handanovic, and Senad Lulic failed to convert on the rebound.

Immobile was again denied by Handanovic on 20 minutes as he keeper push away the striker's effort from the edge of the box, before Anderson went on a mazy run, which ended in a weak shot from six yards out that was easily saved.

Inter managed to settled down, however, and brought the half to a close with long-range shots from Marcelo Brozovic and Banega that was dealt with comfortably enough by Federico Marchetti.

The hosts came out of the break flying, though, and took the lead through Banega nine minutes into the second half. The Argentine scored a cracker as he took the ball off Lulic before sending a 25-yard shot arrowing into the top corner of the net.

Stefano Pioli's men quickly doubled their advantage two minutes later when Icardi headed home a Danilo D'Ambrosio cross at the near post.

The in-form Icardi then wrapped up the points on 65 minutes from a training-ground routine, Banega playing the Argentine in from a free-kick to fire past Marchetti for his 14th goal of the season in Serie A.

He was denied a hat-trick by Marchetti, who pulled off a super save at the death to deny the striker the match-ball.