Juventus eased to a 2-0 win at AS Livorno on Sunday to provisionally take over top spot in Serie A, while ACF Fiorentina fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at Udinese.
Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez scored in the second half for Juventus. The two-time defending champions moved two points above AS Roma, who were due to host Cagliari yesterday.
“I dedicate it to our fans, who always support us,” Llorente said. “We have to look at ourselves and continue doing everything the coach asks of us, as we are doing. I think we are a strong team.”
Tomas Heurtaux scored for Udinese, who had lost four of their past five matches.
Fourth-placed Inter missed the chance to draw level with third-placed SSC Napoli as they hit the crossbar twice, but drew 1-1 at relegation-threatened Bologna.
Elsewhere, a stoppage-time equalizer saw SS Lazio snatch a 1-1 draw at 10-man UC Sampdoria and spoil coach Sinisa Mihajlovic’s first match in charge.
“It’s never nice to concede right at the end, but the wheels keep on turning,” Mihajlovic said. “I’m disappointed for the lads, they proved to themselves and others how you have to play when you wear the Sampdoria shirt.”
Sampdoria played the entire second half with 10 men after Nenad Krsticic was sent off.
Also on Sunday, teenage forward Domenico Berardi struck again as US Sassuolo beat Atalanta BC 2-0, while Torino crushed Catania 4-1.
Juventus faced something of a crisis in defense, with Andrea Barzagli and Stephan Lichtsteiner injured, and Angelo Ogbonna and Leonardo Bonucci out suspended. Mauricio Isla, Sebastian Giovinco and Simone Pepe were also out with injuries.
The visitors broke the deadlock shortly after the hour mark when Llorente volleyed Paul Pogba’s cross into the top corner with a magnificent strike.
Llorente turned provider in the 75th minute to set up Tevez for a low drive into the bottom corner.
Andrea Coda almost scored an own-goal to extend Juventus’ lead when his diving header hit the post from Simone Padoin’s cross.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was rarely troubled on his 500th Serie A appearance.
Inter are eight points behind the leaders following their surprise draw.
Bologna took the lead in the 12th minute following a swift counterattack. Jonathan Cristaldo raced down the right flank, before rolling the ball across to Panagiotis Kone, who had not been picked up as he burst through the middle and side-footed home.
Inter’s former Bologna player Saphir Taider could have been sent off as he was fortunate not to receive a second yellow card in the buildup to the goal for a tug on Alessandro Diamanti. The referee played an advantage.
Inter came close to leveling on the stroke of halftime when Taider and Alvaro Pereira sent passes across goal, but nobody was able to tap in. Moments later, Fredy Guarin’s free-kick was deflected onto the crossbar.
It was back on level terms six minutes after the break when Jonathan’s shot was deflected into the bottom corner.
Bologna almost restored their lead five minutes later, but Samir Handanovic pulled off a great save to deny Rolando Bianchi.
Inter nearly snatched all three points in stoppage-time when Juan Jesus’ volley crashed off the crossbar.
Fiorentina are two points further back, in fifth, after losing at the Stadio Friuli, despite dominating for much of the match.
Udinese scored the only goal of the game against the run of play when Roberto Pereyra nodded on Antonio di Natale’s free-kick for Heurtaux to volley home at the far post in the 34th minute.
Goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic kept Udinese in the lead, while his counterpart Neto also made a number of saves.
It was Mihajlovic’s first match in charge since taking over at Sampdoria after failing to guide Serbia to the World Cup. Mihajlovic played for both Lazio and Sampdoria.
Sampdoria had lost their previous three matches and their hopes of ending that run took a blow when Krsticic was shown a second yellow card at the start of the second half.
However, they took the lead in the 67th minute.
Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti did brilliantly to parry Manolo Gabbiadini’s effort, before scrambling up to swat away another shot, but Roberto Soriano headed in the rebound.
Lazio leveled when Lorik Cana drilled into the bottom-left corner.
Catania are now level with bottom club AC Chievo Verona after a hefty defeat in Turin.
Sebastian Leto got Catania back into the game at the start of the second half following goals from Ciro Immobile and Omar El Kaddouri, but Emiliano Moretti and El Kaddouri sealed the match with two in as many minutes.
Sassuolo moved three points above the relegation zone with goals from Simone Zaza and Domenico Berardi against fellow strugglers Atalanta.