ROME: Record Italian champions Juventus stepped with reach of a fifth successive Serie A title after pulling nine points clear at the top with a 4-0 beating of Palermo in Turin.
Napoli’s 2-0 defeat at Inter Milan on Saturday evening left the door wide open for Juve to secure a huge advantage heading into the five-game run-in, and Massimiliano Allegri’s reigning champions made no mistake in doing so.
Sami Khedira’s goal ensured the Bianconeri edged a difficult first half before Paul Pogba, Juan Cuadrado and Simone Padoin made it a chastening return to the Palermo bench for recalled boss Davide Ballardini.
Lucas Digne and Radja Nainggolan gave the third-placed Giallorossi control of the match until Marco D’Alessandro and Marco Borriello dragged Atalanta back into the tie.
Borriello’s second gave the hosts a shock lead until 39-year-old striker Totti, a late replacement for Daniele De Rossi, salvaged a point for Roma.
A 2-0 win over Empoli at the Stadio Olimpico meant Simone Inzaghi was able to celebrate victory in his first home game as Lazio boss.
The former Biancocelesti striker replaced Stefano Pioli as head coach two weeks ago, soon leading the Romans to a 3-0 triumph at Palermo.
A sixth-minute penalty from Antonio Candreva, coupled with Ogenyi Onazi’s close-range finish just before half-time, made it two wins from two for Inzaghi, who had his older brother Filippo supporting him from the stands.
Andrea Consigli’s comical own goal helped Fiorentina secure a 3-1 victory over Sassuolo at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Domenico Berardi’s second-half response to Gonzalo Rodriguez’s opener for Fiorentina forced Josip Ilicic to restore the lead, ensuring a tense finale.
That tension was broken by laughter at the end as Consigli improbably clipped the ball over his own goal-line to reinforce Fiorentina’s grip on fifth place.
In the battle to avoid the drop, Alessandro Frara’s last-gasp winner boosted Frosinone closer to survival while pushing Hellas Verona towards the trapdoor.
Promoted Frosinone, who took the lead at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi through Adriano Russo, are now one point behind 17th-placed Carpi after Frara’s stoppage-time effort clinched a 2-1 victory.
Matteo Bianchetti looked to have rescued a point for basement boys Verona by equalising midway through the second half, but Frara’s goal leaves Hellas nine points from safety with only five games remaining.
Elsewhere, both Udinese and Chievo had a player sent off – Felipe and Riccardo Meggiorini respectively – as the Stadio Friuli played host to a goalless draw.
Inter Milan left Napoli‘s title hopes hanging by a thread on Saturday after a 2-0 home victory, with a controversial opener from Mauro Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic’s excellent chipped effort.
Inter took only four minutes to open the scoring through Icardi, who continued his recent hot streak with his 15th league goal of the season and seventh in his last 10 outings.
The Argentine forward appeared to be in an offside position, but the flag stayed down as he controlled a high ball exquisitely before lobbing the isolated Pepe Reina.
Napoli, missing suspended top scorer Gonzalo Higuain, lacked the offensive conviction of their hosts but went close in the 30th minute when Allan’s long-range effort was tipped away by the outstanding Samir Handanovic.
Inter doubled their lead in the 44th minute when Stevan Jovetic picked out Icardi with a delightful pass over the top and the Inter skipper found Brozovic, who calmly lifted the ball over Reina.
Napoli introduced Dries Mertens early in the second half, and moments later the Belgian forward sent a volley wide, but it was Roberto Mancini’s side who went closest in the second period when a lofted effort from Jovetic forced Kalidou Koulibaly into a clearance off the line.
Andrea Belotti’s penalty deep into stoppage time gave Torino a 1-0 win over Bologna.
Toro recovered from back-to-back defeats to climb to 10th in the table after Belotti picked himself off the floor to calmly stroke home his 10th goal of the season.
Bologna, who are now without a win in their last eight games, could have taken the lead as Emanuele Giacherini hit a post and Juan Camilo Zuniga forced a save out of Daniele Padelli.
However the visitors claimed the win in the third minute of time added on when Domenico Maietta was adjudged to have dragged Belotti down and the striker made no mistake from the spot.
Carpi grabbed a vital win in their relegation battle as they came from behind to beat 10-man Genoa 4-1.
The Biancorossi had suffered back-to-back defeats in the league, leaving them level on points with 18th-placed Palermo, but three goals in the space of five minutes moved them clear of the bottom three.
Leonardo Pavoletti opened the scoring in the 34th minute, but Armando Izzo’s sending-off in the 45th minute proved the catalyst for a turnaround in first-half stoppage time.
After Izzo was dismissed for a second yellow card Antonio Di Gaudio’s acrobatic strike and Lorenzo Lollo’s goal put Carpi 2-1 in front before the break.
Lorenzo Pasciuti slotted home four minutes into the second half before Stefano Sabelli rounded off an impressive win from close-range late on.