Wins for top trio open gap
Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng kept AC Milan at the Serie A summit with a 2-0 victory at Atalanta. The Sweden striker scored a first-half penalty, after Alexandre Pato was fouled, and then set up Boateng's clincher in the closing stages.
With Juventus, level on points with Milan, winning at Lecce, and Udinese having done so against Cesena earlier in the day to temporarily nudge ahead, the victory was vital to keep the Rossoneri on top of the pile. Alessandro Matri scored the only goal of the game for Juve to see off bottom side Lecce. Matri headed home from close range after 27 minutes to settle a game in which neither side made the most of plenty of chances.
Udinese kept the pressure on the top two with a convincing 4-1 win over struggling Cesena at the Stadio Friuli. Antonio Di Natale started and finished the scoring for the Bianconeri, with Citadin Eder giving the visitors hope with an equaliser in the 39th minute. Kwadwo Asamoah and Dusan Basta scored the home side's other goals in the second half as Cesena struggled with 10 men following the dismissal of Maurizio Lauro on the hour mark.
Roma, Napoli chase Europa spots
Francesco Totti struck twice from the penalty spot to end his goalscoring drought and fire Roma to a 2-0 victory over Chievo at the Stadio Olimpico while Napoli were 3-1 winners away to Palermo in the evening game. Goran Pandev gave Walter Mazzarri's side the lead ten minutes before half-time and Napoli extended their lead with second-half goals from Edinson Cavani (54) and Marek Hamsik (60). Fabrizio Miccoli (89) grabbed a late consolation for the Sicilians.
Cagliari moved above Genoa on goal difference after beating them 3-0 at the Stadio Sant Elia, in Pasquale Marino's first game as Genoa boss. Joaquin Larrivey put Cagliari ahead from the penalty spot in the 12th minute and Victor Ibarbo doubled their lead early in the second half. An own goal from Andreas Granqvist in the 72nd minute compounded a miserable day for the visitors.
Stevan Jovetic bagged a brace as Fiorentina cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Novara. The Montenegrin was on target in either half to take his tally for the season to nine while Riccardo Montolivo also weighed in with his first of the campaign as Novara meekly surrendered at Stadio Silvio Piola.
Bologna were 2-0 victors over Catania. Substitute Nicolo Cherubin put the hosts ahead early in the second half before Catania lost Marco Biagianti to a red card 12 minutes from time and Marco Di Vaio sealed victory at the death with Bologna's second of the match.