AC Milan took their time, but eventually eased past bottom side Novara Calcio 3-0 to stay on the tail of Serie A leaders Juventus on Sunday, as Udinese and Inter also won.
Champions Milan, who needed extra-time to beat Novara 2-1 in the Italian Cup last week, feared another difficult encounter at their near neighbors after having two efforts cleared off the line in the first half, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic emphatically broke the deadlock 12 minutes into the second period following Massimo Ambrosini’s assist, before Robinho doubled the advantage and Ibrahimovic rounded off the scoring late on.
Juve confirmed themselves as leaders at the halfway mark of the season with a 2-0 win at Atalanta BC on Saturday, but Milan remain just a point behind.
Surprise contenders Udinese are two points further back in third after a 2-1 home victory over Catania, with Pablo Armero and Antonio Di Natale on the scoresheet.
Inter, revived by Claudio Ranieri after a dreadful start, beat SS Lazio 2-1 at the San Siro to leapfrog the Romans into fourth spot.
Tommaso Rocchi gave the visitors the lead, but Diego Milito hit back just before the break after a neat interchange with Ricardo Alvarez.
Giampaolo Pazzini won it for Inter midway through the second half with a cool finish, although there were complaints he was offside from Lazio, who are now fifth.
Seventh-placed Napoli, an outside bet for the title for many when the season began, continued their inconsistent form with a 1-1 draw at lowly AC Siena, where in-form Goran Pandev again saved the Champions League round-of-16 qualifiers. Edinson Cavani also missed a penalty for Napoli.
In other results, Palermo overpowered Genoa 5-3, Alberto Paloschi put Chievo Verona 2-0 up, but Lecce grabbed a draw, while Bologna against Parma and Cagliari versus Fiorentina ended in 0-0 stalemates.