Rome - Felipe Caicedo scored from the spot as Lazio moved fourth and into the Champions League places on Thursday with a 1-0 win over struggling Empoli in Serie A.
Ecuadorian international Caicedo forced a penalty just before the break and converted from the spot for his second goal in as many games, as Lazio warm-up for their Europa League tie against Sevilla and a Coppa Italia semi-final against AC Milan.
The Roman side had lost ground after back-to-back defeats to Juventus and Napoli but after last week's win over Frosinone have now 38 points from 23 games, overtaking AC Milan who drop two points behind in fifth before they play Cagliari on Sunday.
Eusebio Di Francesco's Roma head for Chievo on Friday looking to build momentum before their Champions League clash against Porto.
Behind runaway leaders Juventus, who have 60 points from 22 games, and second-placed Napoli, nine points behind, the remaining two tickets for the Champions League and the Europa League berths remain up for grabs with 10 teams in the running.
Inter Milan, in third, are still looking for their first win of 2019 after being held by Sassuolo and defeats against Torino and Bologna with no goals scored.
Luciano Spalletti's side have 40 points, but are now just two ahead of Lazio.