Juventus reclaim top spot, Udinese held
Juventus returned to the top of Serie A following a 2-0 victory at home to Novara on Sunday, while Inter Milan's revival continued as they won 1-0 at Cesena to climb up to fifth place. Juve's win enabled them to leapfrog AC Milan, who had taken over at the top with a 2-0 victory over Siena yesterday.
Udinese, meanwhile, missed the chance to draw level with Antonio Conte's men when they were held to a 2-2 draw at Lazio and remain in third place, two points off the pace.
Juve laboured to impose themselves against their Piedmont rivals Novara, promoted from Serie B at the end of last season after a 55-year absence from the top flight. Novara defended valiantly, but were always chasing the game after Simone Pepe converted a low cross in the fourth minute to claim his fifth goal of the season.
Fabio Quagliarella, preferred in attack to Alessandro Matri, made the game safe with Juve's second goal in the 75th minute. "We're good at creating chances, but not as good at taking them," reflected Juve coach Conte.
Defending champions Milan had enjoyed a straightforward outing against Siena, prevailing through goals from Antonio Nocerino and a contentious Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty - his tenth goal of the season.
Udinese, Lazio settle for point
Udinese, on the other hand, were made to settle for a point with Lazio. Udinese were in front after 28 minutes thanks to a diving header from Antonio Floro Flores, but Lazio drew level two minutes before the interval when Senad Lulic found the net.
Veteran German striker Miroslav Klose then put Lazio ahead with a crisp volley in the 51st minute for his ninth goal of the season. But Udinese were rewarded for their positive approach when Giampiero Pinzi equalised in the 73rd minute.
Inter may be outside the title picture right now, but they appear to have put their early-season miseries behind them following their third straight victory. A header goal from Andrea Ranocchia was enough to take the 2010 champions into the European places, however, they are still ten points off Juve's pace.
"I've never seen my team misplace as many passes as they did today," Inter coach Claudio Ranieri told Sky Sport. "The only thing we'll take from this match is the points. If you wanted spectacle, you needed to be watching the TV at half-past 11," he added, in reference to Barcelona's 4-0 defeat of Santos in the FIFA Club World Cup final.
Roma impress at Napoli
Napoli remained in sixth place after losing 3-1 at home to Roma, who are now seventh, but also on 21 points. The hosts went a goal down after just three minutes when Morgan De Sanctis put through his own net after an Erik Lamela cross. Pablo Osvaldo, in the 59th minute, and Fabio Simplicio, in the last minute, added to Roma's total, easing the pressure on coach Luis Enrique. Marek Hamsik had briefly given Napoli hope with an 82nd-minute strike.
"Tonight it was a great Roma performance," said captain Francesco Totti. "We showed our competitiveness in this championship. If we play like this again, and like we did in the 1-1 draw against Juve, we can go a long way."
Earlier, a superb free-kick from Francesco Lodi set Catania on their way to a 2-0 victory over Palermo in the season's first Sicilian derby. The win took Catania up to ninth, one place behind Genoa, who defeated Bologna 2-1.
Bottom side Lecce let two precious points slip away in injury time, drawing 3-3 at Parma despite having led 3-1 with only five minutes to play.