Title-holders Inter Milan moved three points clear atop of the Italian Serie A on Sunday with a hard-fought 1-0 win over lowly visitors Reggina and an earlier loss by Palermo at Cagliari.
Hernan Crespo got the only goal of the game after four minutes for Inter, who now have 30 points from 12 outings, with Palermo remaining on 27 points after their 1-0 defeat on Saturday to end a five-game winning streak.
Inter ran several risks after Crespo's right-footer off an assist from Frenchman Patrick Vieira and were saved by defender Ramiro Cordoba as keeper Julio Cesar failed to grab a dangerous cross.
The young Rolando Bianchi came even closer for Reggina through a header that bounced off the post on 10 minutes, while an alleged handball by Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic and a disallowed goal triggered vehement protest by coach Walter Mazzarri, who received his marching orders on 36 minutes.
Good chances for Inter went begging from Crespo and fellow Argentinian Santiago Solari, but Reggina kept up the pressure, threatening again after the break through Luca Tognozzi.
No meaningful improvement for Inter came when Adriano came on for the injured Ricardo Cruz on 52 minutes. His coach, Roberto Mancini, said that the struggling Brazilian star "did his best but is still far from his best form."
Mancini said that Inter are having good moments, "even though every game is difficult, but it is important that the team don't give up. I don't think it is always possible to win without letting the opponents play. Reggina had good chances, and we also had some chances to score again."
Roma remain third on 26 points after a 7-0 hammering of nine-man guests Catania that saw Simone Perrotta and Christian Panucci score a brace each. Catania striker Giuseppe Mascara received his third red card this season on 14 minutes and Davide Baiocco was sent off in the dying minutes.
Tuscany side Livorno are fourth on 19 points, thanks to a 3-0 home win over 10-man Parma, who had Croat Igor Budan dismissed, while newcomers Atalanta trail on 17 points after clawing back a 2-2 draw at minnows Chievo Verona.
International Vincenzo Iaquinta notched a brace to help Udinese clinch a 3-0 beating of Siena to draw level with them on 16 points in a sixth position occupied jointly by Empoli, who drew 0-0 on Saturday with AC Milan, and Catania.