Lazio beat Inter Milan 3-1 but their efforts were in vain as Udinese's win at Catania denied the Roman outfit the third and final Champions League qualifying spot in Serie A.

Needing to prevail and for Udinese to lose, Lazio went behind on the stroke of half-time when Inter's Diego Milito scored from the penalty spot.

Libor Kozak equalised before the hour and team-mate Antonio Candreva put the hosts ahead four minutes later.

Inter almost drew level with nine minutes remaining after Lazio's Giuseppe Biava deflected visiting captain Javier Zanetti's cross towards the post.

Lazio made sure of victory when Stefano Mauri struck his team's third goal seconds from time.

The result at the Stadio Olimpico left Lazio on 62 points, two adrift of Udinese.

For the second consecutive year, Udinese took the last qualifying spot away from Lazio, this time with a 2-0 triumph in Sicily.

Lazio must settle for fourth place and a spot in the Europa League while Inter ended a disappointing campaign in sixth position. However, they have secured a place in the preliminary round of the Europa League.

The visitors went into the game on the back of a 4-2 triumph over AC Milan in last weekend's San Siro derby.

They had the first chance in the 26th minute when Freddy Guarin's hard drive forced Lazio goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri to fully stretch in order to clear.

Bizzarri denied Guarin again four minutes later when he kept out the midfielder's 12-yard shot.

After 30 minutes played, Biava's header from Lorik Cana's cross went wide.

Milito then wasted a good chance when he nodded Maicon's perfect cross just wide of the far post.

Inter took a deserved lead when the referee pointed to the spot after Cristian Ledesma brought down Maicon in the area.

Milito stepped up to take the penalty kick and struck the ball past Bizzarri and into the bottom-left corner of the goal.

The home side played with a greater sense of urgency after the re-start and equalised in the 58th minute.

Inter failed to clear Ledesma's corner kick in the area, leaving an unmarked Kozak to score easily.

Lazio struck again when Senad Lulic got past his marker before serving a low cross into the area where Candreva made no mistake and hit a right-footed shot past Inter goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi.

The Nerazzurri gave away a third goal in the dying seconds when Castellazzi cleared Kozak's goal-bound attempt but only as far as Mauri, who got the easy tap-in.