Côte d'Ivoire international Gervinho scored his maiden goal for Roma as they beat Sampdoria 2-0 and moved two points clear of stumbling Napoli to stay top of Italy's Serie A on Wednesday.
Roma started their fifth match of the campaign at the top of the table thanks to a one-goal difference over Rafael Benitez's title challengers Napoli.
And as Napoli failed miserably at the San Paolo to put league new boys Sassuolo to the sword -- days after a 7-0 mauling by Inter Milan -- Roma took full advantage to pull clear at the top.
Roma now have 15 points after five wins in as many games while Napoli sit two points adrift after a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo.
"I'm happy with the win but what interests me more is seeing Roma succeed at the end of the season, not now," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said.
"It's far too early to be predicting. But I'm happy with the team, we have a fantastic group of players and this is crucial for our future hopes."
Champions Juventus moved up to third with a fortuitous 2-1 win away to feisty Chievo while Lazio outclassed second-from-bottom Catania 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium to sit sixth.
Injury-hit AC Milan, without the suspended Mario Balotelli, faced a tough trip away to Bologna and Massimiliano Allegri's men slipped badly before recovering in the final two minutes.
Two weeks after securing a late draw away to Torino, Robinho reduced arrears in the 89th minute before Ignazio Abate levelled in injury time to secure the visitors a lucky 3-3 draw.
Thankful for the draw, Allegri expressed his frustration at the officiating.
"After we scored our third the match stopped 90 seconds earlier than it was supposed to. And during that time we could have grabbed a fourth," Allegri said.
Inter host Fiorentina on Thursday although with both sides five points adrift of Roma neither can trouble Garcia's men.
Garcia was sent to the stands early in the second half for dissent following a heated discussion with the referee.
But the Frenchman, who has already won plenty of fans among Italy's discerning football pundits, was soon given reason for cheer.
Roma took the lead in stunning fashion when Mehdi Benatia feinted his way into the area and beat 'keeper Angelo Da Costa with a shot he unleashed with his left foot despite being tripped and falling to the ground.
The points were virtually assured when Gervinho latched on to Francesco Totti's delivery to beat Da Costa with a low, angled shot moments before the final whistle.
Sampdoria's woes deepened at the death when Antonio Barilla saw red after being cautioned a second time.
Blermi Dzemaili gave the hosts a 14th minute lead with a first-time drive from 25 metres after a poor clearance which beat Gianluca Pegolo in the Sassuolo net.
If the 'keeper thought that was the beginning of the onslaught, he was mistaken.
Napoli's early hopes of launching a rout were extinguished six minutes later when Simone Zaza stunned Pepe Reina in the Napoli net with a wicked snap shot that went past the 'keeper's shoulder and into the roof of the net.
Napoli battled, but lacked the spark and punch required to get past a team which, after their weekend humiliation, looked determined to make amends.
Chievo stunned Juventus in the 28th minute, but the Flying Donkeys were fully deserving of their opener after Gennaro Sardo pounced on a poor clearance by Juve 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
When Cyril Thereau showed Sardo where he wanted the ball, the midfielder obliged and the French striker beat Buffon with a well-struck first-timer.
Juve were back on level terms two minutes after half-time thanks to Fabio Quagliarella, and despite labouring throughout, sealed the points thanks to Alessandro Bernardini turning Paul Pogba's cross towards the far post into his own net.