Icardi hits four as Inter, Roma fight for Champions League spots

Rome (AFP) - Captain Mauro Icardi scored four times to break through the 100-goal mark in Serie A as Inter Milan returned to the top four with a 5-0 rout of Sampdoria on Sunday, while AS Roma consolidated third place with a 2-0 win over Crotone.

Icardi, the 25-year-old Argentina international, who had been sidelined for a month with injury, broke the century after scoring his first goals since January.

His four-goal haul included three in 14 minutes against his former club.

Icardi now has 103 goals in Serie A -- 93 with Inter and ten with Sampdoria.

"I really wanted to reach 100 goals and then I just kept going," said Icardi.

"It was a fine performance from the whole team and we got three very important points, which are more important than the goals."

After holding title-chasing Napoli to a goalless draw, Luciano Spalletti's side showed they were back in the race for a Champions League spot.

Inter are now four points behind AS Roma whose third was consolidated by a 2-0 win at Crotone thanks to goals in either half from Stephan El Shaarawy and Radja Nainggolan.

But Lazio could move back into fourth place, the final spot for elite European football next season, when they host Bologna later on Sunday.

"It was very important to get points," said Icardi.

"We showed a lot of sacrifice and team spirit to get a draw against Napoli, but with this win we can rest over the break and prepare to begin again with the right attitude."

Ivan Perisic headed in the first after 26 minutes in Genoa before Icardi stole the show, slotting in a penalty for a century of Serie A goals after half an hour.

Just a minute later he grabbed a second with a back-heel kick which caught Sampdoria goalkeeper Viviano off guard and added a third just before half-time.

The fourth goal came after the restart, bouncing off the ground to fly over a helpless Viviano.

Despite missing four games through injury this season, he has scored 22 goals in the Italian league.

Sampdoria -- who were beaten 4-1 by Crotone last week -- drop to eighth place six points off the Europa League berths.

In Calabria, Roma followed on their from a 4-2 win over Napoli and booking their spot in the Champions League quarter-finals with a third league win on the trot.

El Shaarawy latched onto an Aleksandar Kolarov cross to open the scoring after 39 minutes with Nainggolan sealing on 70 minutes to condemn Crotone to their third loss in four matches.

- AC Milan bounce back -

AC Milan extended their unbeaten league run to ten games with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Chievo in the San Siro to consolidate sixth position -- five points off the Champions League spots.

After their Europa League exit to Arsenal, Gennaro Gattuso's side were in battling mood opening their account after ten minutes when Hakan Calhanoglu finished off a Franck Kessie cross.

But Chievo pulled ahead with two quick fire goals from Mariusz Stepinski and Roberto Inglese just after the half hour mark.

Rising star Patrick Cutrone -- who has just earned his first senior call-up for Italy -- hit Milan's second when he finished off a rebound on 54 minutes with Portuguese Andre Silva again scoring the winner after Genoa last week eight minutes from time.

Kessie missed a chance for a fourth from the spot.

"At the moment we can't make any mistakes. If we want to fight for a Champions League place, draws don't do us any good," said Gattuso.

Behind AC Milan, Atalanta move seventh with a 5-0 win over Verona, while ninth-placed Fiorentina, won 2-1 at Torino just two weeks after the death of the captain Davide Astori.

Cagliari snatched a 2-1 win at Benevento with two injury time goals.

Napoli meanwhile will bid to close the gap on leaders Juventus later Sunday when they host Genoa.

The champions' march towards a seventh consecutive Serie A championship was stalled on Saturday by a goalless draw at struggling SPAL.