A bizarre own-goal gave Serie A leaders Juventus the jitters on Sunday, triggering memories of their dramatic collapse at Hellas Verona on Feb. 9, before they recovered to beat second-from-bottom AC Chievo Verona 3-1.
Elsewhere in the league, Mattia Destro grabbed a double and Miralem Pjanic capped an inspirational performance with a majestic free-kick goal to give AS Roma a 3-0 win at home to UC Sampdoria that keeps the Giallorossi nine points behind Juve in second spot.
At the Stadio Citta de Tricolore, third-placed SSC Napoli, who have been exasperatingly inconsistent all season, triumphed 2-0 at US Sassuolo, while there was plenty of drama lower down the league as AS Livorno won 2-1 at Cagliari despite having two players sent off, while Genoa hit back from 3-1 down to draw Udinese 3-3 and visiting Parma thumped Atalanta BC 4-0.
In Sunday’s other game, Catania moved off the bottom with a shock 3-1 win at home to SS Lazio. Stefano Mauri gave the visitors some solace by scoring his first goal since completing a six-month ban for failing to report match-fixing in 2011.
At Rome’s Juventus Stadium, the Bianconeri, who have proved unassailable at home, raced into a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes after Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah’s curling long-range shot and Claudio Marchisio snapped up a rebound from Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick.
Having infuriated coach Antonio Conte by squandering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Verona last week, Juve then gifted Chievo a goal just after the break.
Stefan Lichtsteiner fired an attempted clearance straight at Martin Caceres and the ball ricocheted off the stunned Uruguayan before going in.
Spain’s Fernando Llorente calmed Juve when he headed in a Pirlo cross just before the hour to restore their two-goal advantage.
Llorente’s 10th league goal of the season ensured that Juve, who have scored at least three goals in each of their past five home games, maintained their 100 percent home league record this season.
Juve are on course for a third successive title with 63 points from 24 games, while Roma have 54 and Rafael Benitez’s Napoli are on 50.
Roma created a hatful of first-half chances against Sampdoria, but had to wait until one minute before halftime to score when Destro headed in a corner.
Pjanic curled in a free-kick in the 54th minute and Destro completed the scoring three minutes later.
In Sassuolo, Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili gave Napoli a half-time lead and Lorenzo Insigne sealed the win with a superb finish as he burst into the penalty area to bend his shot past Gianluca Pegolo.
In Sardinia, Brazilian pair Emerson and Paulinho put Livorno 2-0 ahead with a 30m strike and penalty respectively, before compatriot Nene pulled one back for Cagliari.
Livorno held on for the points despite having Federico Ceccherini sent off on 85 minutes and Marco Benassi dismissed in extra time.
Daniele Conti was also sent off for the hosts in the 71st minute.
In Genoa, Alberto Gilardino netted twice in the final 21 minutes to save a draw with Udinese.