Rocchi double keeps Lazio in contention

Stalwart striker Tommaso Rocchi scored twice to help Lazio to a 3-0 win over lowly Novara on Monday as his side kept in touch with the leading pack in Serie A.

Lazio, who had failed to find the target in their previous three matches in all competitions and managed only two goals in the two games before that, quickly forgot their scoring problems as they went 2-0 ahead in only 23 minutes.

Giuseppe Biavi headed the opener from a corner in the 16th minute and 34-year-old Rocchi, in his eighth season with the club, scored with another header from Cristian Ledesma's free-kick seven minutes later.

Germany striker Miroslav Klose missed an astonishing open goal after the break, rounding goalkeeper Samir Ujkani only to shoot wide from six metres out under pressure from a defender.

Klose complained to the referee about a possible foul but it seemed he had only himself to blame.

However, Rocchi spared his blushes with the third goal in the 72nd minute, the shaven-headed captain volleying in Alvaro Gonzalez's cross from close range.

Lazio are fourth in the table with 25 points from 13 games, four behind leaders Juventus and two adrift of AC Milan and Udinese.

Promoted Novara are stuck in the relegation zone in 18th place with 10 points.