Lazio nearly threw away a 3-0 lead, but further added to Milan’s misery with a 3-2 victory at the Olimpico.
The Aquile were flying high in third place and welcomed a Rossoneri side in crisis who were only in 11th position. Alexandre Pato was on the bench for the first time this season, but Christian Abbiati, Robinho, Cristian Zapata, Sulley Muntari and the suspended Massimo Ambrosini missed out. It meant Daniele Bonera took the captain’s armband.
Lazio had to do without Ederson, Marius Stankevicius and Stefan Radu. Federico Marchetti pulled out in the warm-up with a muscular problem, so made way for Albano Bizzarri.
Nigel De Jong drilled just wide from distance and there were timid penalty appeals for a Kevin-Prince Boateng handling offence, but it seemed to skim off his head and on to his shoulder. Antonio Nocerino’s curler whistled off target, as Milan were pushing forward with very little effect.
It was Lazio who took the lead on 25 minutes thanks to a Hernanes solo effort. The Brazilian went forward through the middle, turned Bonera inside out and the shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off the Milan captain to loop over a helpless Marco Amelia.
It was so nearly 1-1 just 20 seconds after the restart, as El Shaarawy ran on to an Antonio Nocerino through ball and prodded it past the on-rushing Bizzarri, but Andre Dias managed a decisive goalline clearance. The defender celebrated by pumping his fists in the air as if he had scored.
Bizzarri completely missed a corner, but fortunately for him so did the head of Mario Yepes from six yards.
Lazio needed no deflection for their second of the match, as Antonio Candreva unleashed a blockbuster from distance that looped over Amelia’s flailing hands under the bar. The midfielder, who last week earned his Italy recall after three years, hit the unstoppable right-foot strike from 20 metres into the far top corner, as it seemed to swerve in the air.
Luca Antonini tried to dribble through the entire Lazio defence, but was eventually stopped cleanly in the box by Giuseppe Biava.
Urby Emanuelson came on for the second half, replacing the disappointing Boateng. It made little difference, as Lazio added a third to their tally within four minutes.
A Candreva cross was chipped to the left side of the penalty area where Miroslav Klose had peeled off Bonera and was totally unmarked to volley in from eight yards.
Allegri threw on Pato for his first Serie A appearance since February and Pazzini nodded wide, then Bizzarri had to fingertip another Pazzo header out from under the bar. From that corner, Pato’s glancing finish was off target.
Antonini was livid with Alvaro Gonzalez for going down too easily in the box and both were booked for their blazing row.
Milan got one back on the hour mark with De Jong, as Emanuelson’s free kick was rolled across the face of goal where everyone missed it except for the former Manchester City midfielder to get the slightest touch into the far corner.
Amelia parried a Hernanes snapshot and Gonzalez saw the follow-up deflected out for a corner. El Shaarawy’s header was straight into the arms of Bizzarri, as was a Hernanes effort, as Lazio seemed to settle into their lead.
However, Milan made it 3-2 with 12 minutes left on the clock, as El Shaarawy got away from Abdoulay Konko down the left and placed a precise right-foot daisy-cutter into the far bottom corner.
Cristian Brocchi made his comeback with his first game of the season after a career-threatening foot injury and did so against his former teammates.
The Rossoneri were pouring forward in the final minutes, as Mario Yepes only glanced an Ignazio Abate cross with his head and Lazio clung to a suddenly slender lead.