A 2-0 home win over Atalanta BC boosted SS Lazio’s Serie A title ambitions after champions and leaders Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw away to Parma on Sunday.
Lazio began the second half of the season trailing Juve by five points, but sealed their 13th win of the campaign thanks to goals from Sergio Floccari and a Davide Brivio own goal.
With Juve settling for a share of the spoils after Nicola Sansone leveled Jonathan Biabiany’s earlier own goal, it left Vladimir Petkovic’s side just three points adrift in second with a two-point lead on SSC Napoli.
Inter had leapfrogged Napoli into third thanks to a 2-0 home win over Delfinio Pescara 1936 on Saturday, but Napoli re-established order with a convincing 3-0 home win over US Citta di Palermo.
Inter now sit fourth, seven points behind Juventus, but three clear of ACF Fiorentina after La Viola suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of on-form Udinese.
A week on from their 3-0 home rout over Inter, Antonio Di Natale scored his second consecutive league brace as Udinese claimed their seventh win of the campaign to move one place up to eighth.
Meanwhile, AC Milan were left in seventh place after escaping from UC Sampdoria with a scoreless draw instead of claiming the win that would have allowed them to leapfrog AS Roma into sixth.
The Rossoneri struggled to get into their stride at the Luigi Ferraris stadium, with the club’s top scorer, Stephan El Shaarawy replaced by Robinho halfway through the second period.
Elsewhere, Cagliari moved out of the bottom three at the expense of Genoa after sealing a 2-1 win over the visitors thanks to Daniele Conti’s 82nd-minute winner.
At Parma, both sides missed scoring chances before Pirlo’s free-kick from just outside the area took a deflection off the head of Biabiany and wrong-footed goalkeeper Antonio Mirante in the 52nd minute.
However, a dummy blunder by Mirko Vucinic gave Parma the chance to level, Argentine defender Gabriel Paletta pouncing to send Nicola Sansone through to outpace Juve defender Martin Caceres before beating Gianluigi Buffon with a low, well-placed strike.
In Naples, Christian Maggio broke the deadlock for the hosts after heading home Marek Hamsik’s cross from the left past Samir Ujkani on the half hour.
Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler made it two when he surged forward and sidestepped the Palermo defense before sending his shot just under the crossbar and into the net.