SS Lazio were lucky to escape with a share of the points from a lackluster scoreless draw away to Bologna which left them three points behind third-placed SSC Napoli in Serie A on Monday.
Lazio went into their 16th match of the campaign unbeaten in their last four fixtures and with a clean sheet in the last three away games.
However, their bid to edge closer to the top three and pull three points clear of city rivals Roma were undone by an enterprising Bologna side which dominated the second half and were unlucky not to secure all three points.
Midfielder Antonio Candreva had the best of Lazio’s chances in the first half, but his long-range drives failed to worry Federico Agliardi in the Bologna goal.
It was after the interval that the hosts began to trouble Vladimir Petkovic’s side, who remain in fourth, eight points behind leaders Juventus.
French midfielder Saphir Sliti Taider saw his well-worked shot blocked while under pressure in the Lazio area.
On the hour mark Bologna almost broke the deadlock when playmaker Alessandro Diamanti laid the ball off nicely for Tiberio Guarente, only for his first-time effort to creep wide.
At the other end, Agliardi had to look smart to collect Candreva’s near post header from a corner.
However, Bologna immediately carved open another great chance, only to be left frustrated when striker Alberto Gilardino and Greek Panagiotis Kone failed to connect from close in when Taider whipped in a probing cross from the right.
With no sign of goals, Petkovic replaced Candreva with veteran German striker Miroslav Klose with 13 minutes remaining, but it was Bologna who came closest, Gilardino seeing his angled left-foot drive parried by Federico Marchetti as Bologna threatened in Lazio’s area.
Lazio’s frustrations were growing and they were compounded when Czech striker Libor Kozak was red-carded for a vicious challenge on defender Archimede Morleo.
Bologna pressed on and were almost rewarded when second-half substitute Cristian Paquato unleashed a curling drive which Marchetti did well to parry with a spectacular dive on full-time.
Earlier, Udinese had Danilo and Antonio Di Natale to thank for a 2-0 away win away at UC Sampdoria which pushed them up to eighth in the table, just behind a resurgent AC Milan.
Brazilian defender Danilo headed home from a corner at the far post on 17 minutes and despite Sampdoria coming close, the hosts were stunned 11 minutes later when Di Natale finished off the good work of Emmanuel Badu.