Juventus and AC Milan's thrilling tussle for the Serie A title continued on Wednesday as they both scraped 1-0 wins against struggling sides Cesena and Genoa respectively.
Juventus maintained their three-point lead over Milan as a late goal by Marco Borriello, his first in 17 games for the club, was enough to defeat Cesena and consign the strugglers to Serie B for next season. It was just as well Borriello popped up to score as Juve were off colour with Andrea Pirlo missing a ninth-minute penalty.
"It's a goal that brings us three points," said Borriello. "But there are still four games remaining and it won't be easy, as we saw today against Cesena, who were all but relegated. We don't have time to celebrate this win as we have Novara this weekend."
Milan too made heavy weather against relegation-threatened Genoa before Ghanaian star Kevin-Prince Boateng pounced to score the winner four minutes from time to ease the nerves of the San Siro home crowd. Defeat leaves Genoa just one place above the drop.
The title contenders continue their battle on Sunday when Juventus are away to second from bottom Novara, while Milan have the tougher task away to mid-table Siena.
Sneijder boosts Inter hopes
A rejuvenated Inter Milan are right back in the running for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League after winning 3-1 at Udinese earlier on Wednesday thanks to an inspired performance by Wesley Sneijder.
The Dutchman scored twice as the Nerazzurri came from behind at the Stadio Friuli to make it three wins and two draws in five games since former youth coach Andrea Stramaccioni replaced Claudio Ranieri in the dugout.
Inter capitalised fully on a slip-up by Lazio, whose grip on third place, the final Champions League qualifying position, was weakened by a 2-1 defeat at struggling Novara earlier in the day. Lazio are a point clear of Napoli, who won 2-0 at Lecce, while Inter and Udinese are a further two points behind in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Roma slip to seventh
Meanwhile, Roma lost 2-1 at home to Fiorentina and slipped down to seventh. With the sides around them all dropping points, Inter are suddenly looking well-placed to salvage a top-three finish from a season overshadowed by coaching changes and a failure to impress in Europe.
Lazio are now three games without a win after substitute Giuseppe Mascara scored a delightful free-kick 11 minutes from time to give Novara a win that is likely to only delay their return to the second tier. Lazio now face a crunch clash with Udinese on Sunday.
Marek Hamsik and the prolific Edinson Cavani, with his 100th goal in Italian football, netted for Napoli at Lecce, and Walter Mazzarri's side will now face Roma this weekend in a strong position.
Having lost 4-0 to Juventus on Sunday, Luis Enrique's Roma looked set for a draw against Fiorentina when Francesco Totti cancelled out Stevan Jovetic's opener. However, Andrea Lazzari struck two minutes into injury time to inflict another damaging defeat on the Giallorossi.
Elsewhere, Parma won 2-1 at Palermo, while Siena and Bologna drew 1-1. Wednesday's matches are those rescheduled from 14 April, when the entire Italian football league programme was cancelled after Livorno's Piermario Morosini collapsed and died during a second division game at Pescara.