Inter held by Cagliari, Fiorentina climb
Inter Milan missed the chance to take a chunk out of Juventus' lead at the top of the Serie A standings after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by mid-table Cagliari.
With Juventus drawing 0-0 with Lazio on Saturday, second-placed Inter could have moved to within two points of the pacesetters with a victory.
However, they not only failed to win, but they needed an 82nd-minute Davide Astori own goal just to salvage a point after a Marco Sau brace had seen impressive Cagliari bounce back from an early deficit to take the lead.
Inter had seen their six-match Serie A winning streak ended by last week's 3-2 loss at Atalanta and their hopes of getting back on track looked good when Rodrigo Palacio headed them in front after just 10 minutes. However, Cagliari impressed thereafter and the Nerazzurri required a late own goal to earn a share of the spoils.
Raffaele Palladino ensured Parma would return home with a precious point from their visit to Udinese, as Roberto Donadoni's men twice fought back from a goal down at the Stadio Friuli to draw 2-2.
The bragging rights are back with Sampdoria for the first time since 2010 as Mauro Icardi's late strike sealed a 3-1 victory over Genoa in the Derby della Lanterna.
There was more at stake than usual in the showdown at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, with Samp on a run of seven straight defeats and Genoa having lost five in a row.
Andrea Poli certainly lightened the load on Doria boss Ciro Ferrara with a fine opener before Genoa's Cesare Bovo gifted the Blucerchiati a 2-0 lead in comical fashion.
A much improved Genoa hit back through Ciro Immobile after the break, but Icardi ensured an uncertain future for Grifone boss Luigi Del Neri with his strike at the death.
Antonio Di Natale made it eight Serie A goals for the season after nine minutes, with home goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic ensuring Parma would not get anywhere near an equaliser before the break.
But Marco Marchionni notched for the first time since returning to the Ducale club, only for Roberto Pereyra to nudge Udinese ahead once again. Donadoni was desperate to avoid a second consecutive away defeat, though, and his decision to throw Palladino on as a second-half substitute paid dividends.
Bologna picked up three vital Serie A points with a 3-0 victory in their relegation scrap with Palermo , which included four red cards.
Alberto Gilardino put Stefano Pioli's side in front in the 22nd minute with Manolo Gabbiadini making it two from the penalty spot just before half time. Another penalty scored by Alessandro Diamanti early in the second half completed the scoring, but the referee's work was only just beginning as he first sent of Samir Ujkani for giving away the penalty.
He was followed by Edgar Barreto, Saphir Taider and Carlos Labrin, in chronological order, with Bologna ending the game with 10 men and three points and Palermo finishing with eight and zero.
Alberto Aquilani scored twice and set up another as in-form Fiorentina brushed aside 10-man Atalanta with a 4-1 win to record their fifth successive Serie A victory.
Aquilani took centre-stage after Atalanta's Giacomo Bonaventura had cancelled out Gonzalo Rodriguez's early opener for Fiorentina. The former Roma and Liverpool midfielder put La Viola back in front with a brilliant free-kick in the 42nd minute and then just before the half-time whistle turned home a corner to make it 3-1.
In between those two goals Atalanta lost Luca Cigarini to a straight red card for a professional foul on Juan Cuadrado as their hopes of a fourth successive league win rapidly started to unravel.
Aquilani then turned provider at the start of the second half with a cross that Luca Toni headed home as Fiorentina joined third-placed Napoli on 27 points.
Sergio Almiron's second-half double earned Catania a 2-1 victory over Chievo at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.
Almiron opened the scoring six minutes into the second half and curled home a crucial second goal five minutes from time before Marco Andreolli's stoppage-time consolation.
The result was the Rossazzurri's fifth win in the league this term and lifted them to sixth in the standings, while Chievo remained precariously placed just above the relegation zone.
Siena are off the bottom of the Serie A table, for the time being, as Francesco Valiani's first-half goal settled a 1-0 victory over nine-man Pescara.
Serse Cosmi was the first dismissal on a fractious afternoon in Tuscany, the Bianconeri head coach seeing red after Ante Vukusic missed a penalty just moments before the break.
But Valiani's regulation finish on the half hour had already provisionally lifted the Robur out of 20th place for the first time this season.