MILAN — Inter Milan started the new year in much the same fashion as it ended 2011, with a 5-0 victory over Parma in Serie A on Saturday.
Diego Milito scored both of his goals in the first half, either side of Thiago Motta's strike. Giampaolo Pazzini added a fourth in the 56th minute before Marco Faraoni grabbed his first Serie A goal.
It was Inter's fifth win on the trot, a run that has propelled Claudio Ranieri's team up to fifth in the standings — and the best possible way to prepare for next weekend's derby against AC Milan.
Also significant was Milito's apparent return to form. The Argentine faced a barrage of criticism this season while missing several easy chances, before breaking his goalscoring drought in the last match before the winter break.
Parma coach Franco Colomba will be sweating on his position after a sixth game without a win.
Earlier, struggling Siena recorded its first victory since October with a 4-0 win over 10-man Lazio, which started the year in fourth place, four points off Serie A leaders Juventus and AC Milan.
It took Inter just 13 minutes to take the lead as Milito side-footed home a great cross from Ricardo Alvarez, who had his most impressive game since joining from Velez Sarsfield in the summer.
Motta doubled Inter's lead five minutes later. Milito made a dribbling run into the area, however the ball was cleared but only as far as Motta, who raced onto it and fired into the bottom left corner from 20 yards out.
Milito grabbed his second of the game four minutes from the break, heading in Maicon's cross from 12 yards.
Inter extended its lead in the 56th. Milito mazed his way through the Parma defense before slotting a delightful throughball for Pazzini to slot home.
Parma thought it had a consolation when Javier Zanetti fired into his own net but, fortunately for the Inter captain, the flag was up for offside.
Faraoni then scored his first league goal, three minutes after coming on for Milito. The defender unleashed a dipping 20-yard strike which just crept in under the crossbar, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Earlier, Lazio gave Siena too much space and paid dearly for its mistakes.
Lazio did not heed early warnings and fell behind in the 11th minute. Mattia Destro found himself in a lot of space and he raced unimpeded downfield into the area before shooting across Andrea Bizzarri and into the far left corner.
Lazio found itself further behind in the 35th minute after Lionel Scaloni and Marius Stankevicius tangled with Franco Brienza in the area and the Siena striker tumbled to the ground.
It was a somewhat soft penalty, but Emanuele Calaio stepped up and fired it past the outstretched arm of Bizzarri into the right corner.
Lazio was even more incensed in first-half stoppage time when Bizzarri brought down Destro in the area. The on-loan Genoa striker swiftly rose and managed to score as the referee initially seemed to play the advantage.
However, Andrea Gervasoni then bizarrely decided to cancel the goal, award a penalty and send Bizzarri off.
Substitute goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo dived the right way, like Bizzarri had done, but could not keep out an identical spot kick from Calaio.
Siena sealed a brilliant night when Cristiano Del Grosso put a perfect ball into the area for Destro to head home.