Juventus set up a rip-roaring Serie A finale by closing the gap on leaders AC Milan to two points with a 3-0 win over Napoli, while Andrea Stramaccioni’s new Inter charges and AS Roma scored five on Sunday.
An enthralling weekend of Italian action ended with -second-placed Juve prevailing in Turin thanks to defender Leonardo Bonucci using his knee to divert Mirko Vucinic’s shot into the net after 54 minutes.
Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella ended Napoli’s resolve.
After a shaky few weeks, Juve can again smell a first title since their 2006 match-fixing demotion after champions AC Milan drew 1-1 at Catania on Saturday amid more goal-line controversy when a Robinho effort was wrongly ruled not to have gone in.
Eight games remain in the best title-run many Italians can remember given the dominance of Inter from 2007 to 2010.
Seventh-placed Inter reignited their outside hopes of reaching third spot after Diego Milito bagged a hat-trick in a 5-4 thriller at home to Genoa to boost former youth coach Stramaccioni, who took over from Claudio Ranieri last week.
The hosts raced into a 3-0 lead with Argentine Milito scoring twice within the first half hour and his countryman Walter Samuel sliding home Lucio’s cross in the 38th minute.
Genoa refused to lie down and goals from Emiliano Moretti and Rodrigo Palacio gave 36-year-old Stramaccioni a fright.
A 74th-minute Mario Zarate goal looked to have sealed the win, but a frantic final 10 minutes, in which three penalties were scored including Milito’s third goal, almost led to a draw.
However, Inter ran out the winners despite having goalkeeper Julio Cesar sent off in the 79th minute and they are now seven points off third-placed SS Lazio, who occupy the Champions League qualifying round berth.
Goals also flowed at the Stadio Olimpico where Roma thrashed second-bottom Novara Calcio 5-2 to move four behind city rivals Lazio.
The visitors had taken the lead through Andrea Caracciolo’s deft header, but Roma hit back when Marquinho equalized with his first goal for the club via a header after 25 minutes.
The hosts went ahead nine minutes later when Osvaldo headed in Francesco Totti’s corner and three second-half goals from Simplicio, Bojan Krkic and Eric Lamela sealed the win, with Takayuki Morimoto scoring for Novara.
Roma remain sixth, but they are now only a point behind -Napoli and Udinese, whose poor form continued with a 1-0 loss at AC Siena.
Fiorentina’s recent slump went on as they lost 2-1 at home to Chievo Verona, leaving them in 17th, one place above the drop zone.
Lecce, in 18th, could not capitalize as they played out a drab 0-0 draw with bottom side Cesena to lie five points from the safety.
Mid-table Bologna lost 3-1 at home to Palermo, while Cagliari comfortably beat Atalanta BC 2-0.