AC Milan seemed inspired by the presence of new loan signing David Beckham watching on from the stands as they blew away hapless Udinese 5-1 at the San Siro on Sunday night.
That ensured they moved into the three-week winter break, after which they will be able to call on the services of the former England captain, in third place in Serie A, nine points off leaders Inter.
In between the bitter city rivals stand Juventus, who cut Inter’s lead to six points earlier in the day as they won 3-1 at Atalanta.
Pato and Kaka both bagged a brace for AC Milan and Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf rounded things off, while Antonio Di Natale replied for Udinese.
Kaka said he hoped this would help Milan kick on in the title race in the New Year.
“We gave our fans a great Christmas present. A match as great as this should be the example for 2009,” he said.
Pato opened the scoring after just four minutes as he headed home a cross from Giuseppe Favalli. The teenage striker turned provider next for his international teammate Kaka on 13 minutes, before Di Natale reduced the deficit with a rasping drive. But a minute after Udinese’s strike, Pato pushed the lead out again as he converted a cross from Luca Antonini.
The fourth came a couple of minutes before the break as Andrea Pirlo hit the post with a free-kick and Seedorf followed up as Udinese’s hapless defense watched on.
Kaka rounded off the scoring after the ball broke to him kindly on 52 minutes, with Udinese’s defense again at sixes and sevens.
Udinese have now failed to win in eight matches since topping Serie A in October.
In Bergamo, goals from Alessandro Del Piero and Nicola Legrottaglie gave Juventus a 2-0 halftime lead against Atalanta, but a firm header from veteran Christian Vieri against his former club made things interesting after the break, until Amauri settled Juve’s nerves late on.
But it was a highly contentious goal that put the visitors in front on the half-hour.
Former Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko played a ball down the line to Marco Marchionni who was standing right in front of the linesman and a meter offside.
But play was allowed to carry on and the diminutive winger crossed into the box for Del Piero to prod home after Atalanta goalkeeper Ferdinando Coppola missed the ball.
Legrottaglie headed home a corner before Vieri got ahead of Giorgio Chiellini to also head home a corner that left the match on a knife edge until Amuri headed home his 11th Serie A goal of the season nine minutes from time.
AS Roma’s recent resurgence came to an end in Sicily as Catania beat them 3-2 thanks to a brace from Japan forward Takayuki Morimoto.
Roma, who came into the game on the back of a five-match winning streak in Serie A and an eight-game winning streak in all competitions, were out of sorts for an hour before they found their game.
But by then they were 3-0 down after Davide Biocco opened the scoring on 34 minutes and Morimoto struck on 40 minutes and 56 minutes. Montenegro forward Mirko Vucinic pulled a goal back with 16 minutes left and French winger Jeremy Menez set up a grandstand finish with a second four minutes after that.
Fiorentina kept up their charge for a Champions League place with a narrow 1-0 win at Sampdoria courtesy of a goal from Riccardo Montolivo. However, they were fortunate not to concede a goal in the first half when French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey parried a Gennaro Delvecchio header, seemingly from behind his goal line.