Juventus overcame the earliest of setbacks to beat 10-man AC Milan 3-2 and join Napoli in keeping runaway Serie A leaders Roma in check.
The capital club shocked Inter Milan 3-0 at San Siro on Saturday night to leave Juve and Napoli both five points adrift and, after the Azzurri narrowed the gap by beating Livorno, the Turin club's mission to catch up started poorly.
Sulley Muntari gave Milan the lead after only 19 seconds of play at the Juventus Stadium but Andrea Pirlo soon levelled with a free-kick against his former club.
For a while the game seemed to be heading towards a bad-tempered draw, until Sebastian Giovinco scored from the bench with Giorgio Chiellini compounding Milan's misery after visiting defender Philippe Mexes was sent off.
Muntari would double his personal tally on the stroke of full time but it was too little, too late for Milan.
Earlier in the day four different goalscorers had helped Napoli trounce plucky Livorno 4-0 at the Stadio San Paolo.
Goran Pandev made the early breakthrough in Naples before Gokhan Inler, Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik helped Rafael Benitez's men close to within two points of Roma.
Juve's first appointment after the international break takes them to Fiorentina, and they will hope Roma and Napoli cancel each other out in their meeting at the Stadio Olimpico.
In the other evening kick-off, Lazio were denied a leap up to fifth place by Fiorentina, who remain one point ahead after a goalless draw in the capital.
Hellas Verona claimed their first away win in style with an emphatic 4-1 victory at struggling Bologna.
Goals from Fabrizio Cacciatore and Juan Iturbe gave the visitors a commanding 2-0 half-time lead at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.
Alessandro Diamanti pulled a goal back from the penalty spot but Luca Toni swiftly restored Verona's two-goal cushion before Jorginho sealed matters in stoppage time.
Parma heaped further misery on rock-bottom Sassuolo with a 3-1 victory in a match which saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Domenico Berardi stroked home a penalty in first-half stoppage time - following the dismissal of Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante - to get the visitors back on level terms after Raffaele Palladino's opener.
However, Parma bagged two more goals through Aleandro Rosi and Antonio Cassano before Francesco Magnanelli's late red card rubbed salt into Sassuolo's wounds.
Winless Sampdoria rescued a point at the end to stun Torino and clinch a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
The visitors were seconds away from their third win of the campaign when Samp substitute Eder was fouled in the area. The Brazilian readily converted the penalty.
Ciro Immobile had previously cancelled out Gianluca Sansone's opener before Alessio Cerci scored from the spot to put Torino ahead.
A late own goal from Nicola Legrottaglie handed Genoa a valuable point from a 1-1 draw at Catania on Gian Piero Gasperini's comeback as Rossoblu coach.
The Sicilians led through Pablo Barrientos' goal on the hour mark but former Juventus defender Legrottaglie headed the ball into his own net with time running out.
Elsewhere, Udinese climbed into seventh place with a 2-0 victory over Cagliari.
Goals from Danilo and Antonio Di Natale secured a third win of the season on home turf, where Udinese last suffered a league defeat in September 2012.
Cagliari, however, are 14th and only four points above the relegation zone.