Alexis Sanchez hit four and Antonio Di Natale three as Udinese hammered nine-man Palermo 7-0 in Sicily on a day that saw Lazio drop precious points on the leaders in Serie A. Udinese's attackers were in sensational form, hitting poor Palermo for five before half-time before letting off the gas after the hour mark with the home side reduced to nine men.
After Juventus's 2-0 defeat at home to Bologna yesterday, Lazio failed to keep pace with the leaders after a 1-0 loss at Cagliari, while Roma's woes continued after being pulled back to 2-2 at home to Parma.
In Palermo, Udinese, who were four points ahead of the home side going into the game, were irrepressible from the kick-off. There were ten minutes gone when Di Natale met Pablo Armero's perfect centre from the left with an equally clinical header to guide the ball into the far corner.
Nine minutes later and home goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu allowed an innocuous near-post corner to get away from him, and the alert Sanchez pounced to slam the ball high into the roof of the net. With Palermo throwing men forward, the livewire Chilean was then sent clean through by Di Natale on 28 minutes and finished with style, selling Sirigu two stepovers before finishing.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sicilian side when they were reduced to ten men after Armin Bacinovic was handed a second yellow card for pulling back Asamoah. From the free-kick, Sirigu failed to hold the Ghanaian's shot from distance and Di Natale followed up to make it 4-0. A minute later and the scintillating Sanchez hit the fifth, cutting inside from the left before cleverly firing home at the near post for his hat-trick.
Udinese, who were already topscorers away from home, were not finished though as the young Palermo side came back after half-time. Given acres of space inside the box, Sanchez poked home his fourth on 48min before the home side were reduced to nine men after Matteo Damian tugged down the marauding Armero on the hour mark. Di Natale sent Sirigu the wrong way with the penalty for his own hat-trick, and number seven for the day and their 28th on the road this season.
Cagliari edge Lazio, Amauri denies Roma
In Sardinia, fourth-placed Lazio dropped points on the leaders after an own goal from Andre Dias five minutes before half-time settled a tight contest in Cagliari's favour. Roberto Donadoni's side climb to ninth, while Lazio are now just a point above fifth-placed Udinese.
Meanwhile back in Rome, a second-half brace from Amauri helped struggling Parma to a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. Am 18th-minute Francesco Totti penalty and 36th-minute Juan strike appeared to hand Vincenzo Montella's Roma a second successive victory, but the former Juventus striker had other ideas, cleverly finishing on 74 minutes before firing in the equaliser five minutes later.
It was a similar story in the battle at the bottom of the table with in-form Lecce coming back from two goals down to snatch a point at Brescia, who remain second from bottom.
Cesena leaped a place above Brescia thanks to a last-gasp penalty from Luis Jimenez that saw them past Chievo 1-0, while rock-bottom Bari grabbed a point with a 1-1 draw at home to Fiorentina.
Earlier on Sunday, Catania came from behind to beat in-form Genoa 2-1 and send Diego Simeone's side three place clear of the drop zone.
In the late match, second-half goals from Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o helped Inter Milan defeat Sampdoria 2-0 in Genoa and move second. Ahead of Monday's clash between leaders AC Milan and Napoli at the San Siro, Sneijder opened the scoring with a 73rd-minute free kick in a bruising game with chances at both ends before Eto'o settled the matter with the final kick to take Inter one point above Napoli and within two of Milan.