- Diego Milito scores twice as Inter Milan beat Parma 5-0 at the San Siro on Saturday
- Win puts Inter within a point of fourth-placed Lazio, who crashed 4-0 at Siena
- Inter won for the fifth successive match in Serie A to keep European hopes alive
- Title hopefuls Lazio face the prospect of dropping eight points off the lead
Inter Milan moved closer to a Champions League place after crushing Parma 5-0 on Saturday following fourth-placed Lazio's shock 4-0 defeat by Siena.
Claudio Ranieri's team closed to within a point of the Rome side after 17 games as Italy's Serie A program resumed following a winter break.
The win left Inter five points behind defending champions AC Milan and second-placed Juventus, who travel to mid-table Atalanta and bottom side Lecce respectively on Sunday.
Inter have been linked with a move for Carlos Tevez, who is widely expected to join local rivals Milan, but it was the Manchester City striker's fellow Argentine Diego Milito who hit the headlines with a first-half double at the San Siro.
Milito has failed to maintain the heights that saw him score both goals in the final of Europe's premier club competition in 2010, but the 32-year-old highlighted his value with a 13th-minute opener from compatriot Ricardo Alvarez's cross.
Midfielder Thiago Motta made it 2-0 with a low shot from distance five minutes later, and Milito headed his seventh goal in all competitions this season from Maicon's cross just before halftime.
Milito set up strike partner Giampaolo Pazzini in the 56th minute, and the South American's 76th-minute replacement Marcoo Faraoni sealed Inter's biggest win this season with his first touch of the ball, as the 20-year-old fired in a volley off the crossbar for his first goal in Serie A.
It is the first time Inter have won five league matches in a row since Jose Mourinho departed in May 2010, and continues the club's resurgent form after a poor start to this season.
The defeat left Parma in 13th, and followed 4-1 defeats by Juve and Milan earlier this season.
Title hopefuls Lazio could have moved up to third place above Udinese, but went 3-0 down by halftime against Siena after goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri was sent off.
Young striker Mattia Destro gave the Tuscany side the lead after only 11 minutes, and Emanuele Calaio doubled the lead on 35 with his first penalty after Franco Brienza went down in the box.
Destro put the ball in the net just before the break, but the referee had already awarded a penalty after Bizzarri made contact with the 20-year-old -- and substitute keeper Juan Pablo Carrizo's first job was to retrieve Calaio's spot-kick from the back of the net.
Destro, on loan from Genoa, sealed victory with nine minutes to play, heading in Cristiano Del Grosso's cross for his fifth Serie A goal this season as Siena moved up to 14th -- six points above the bottom three.