League leaders Inter Milan slipped up on the road, while AC Milan strengthened their grip on second spot.
Genoa's hops of securing a UEFA Champions League place were dealt a blow and Juventus endured a frustrating afternoon's work.
AC Milan put in Sunday's most eye-catching display as they saw off European-chasing Palermo 3-0 at Giuseppe Meazza.
Brazilian superstar Kaka converted from the spot after just 10 minutes to put the Rossoneri in control, before Filippo Inzaghi (19) doubled their lead soon after.
Palermo's cause then became virtually impossible three minutes after the interval when Cesare Bovo was given his marching orders.
It did not take Milan long to make their numerical advantage count as on 55 minutes Kaka grabbed his second of the game, also from the penalty spot, to wrap up the points.
AC are seven points behind city rivals Inter Milan after Jose Mourinho's men crashed to an unexpected 1-0 defeat at Napoli.
The hosts had gone 14 games without a win heading into the crunch clash, but claimed a memorable scalp courtesy of substitute Marcelo Zalayeta's winner after 73 minutes.
Genoa remain fifth in the Serie A standings after they were beaten 2-0 on the road at Bologna.
Marco Di Vaio (pen 14) and Claudio Terzi (24) were on target for the hosts as they claimed a much-needed success in their battle to avoid the drop.
The biggest shock of the day came in the capital, where Lazio were beaten 1-0 by out-of-sorts Atalanta.
Leonardo Talamonti grabbed the only goal of the game after 23 minutes to hand Luigi Del Neri's side a first win in five outings.
Lecce continue to sit second from bottom with time running out, but they claimed a crucial 2-1 success over Catania this weekend.
Gianni Munari (10) and Simone Tiribocchi (25) saw the hosts make a flying start in their pursuit of priceless points.
They did allow Fabio Sciacca to pull one back seconds after the restart, but Catania were unable to find an equaliser and saw their goalscorer dismissed in stoppage time after collecting a second yellow card.
Juventus' woes continued as their winless run was stretched to four games with a 2-2 draw at rock-bottom Reggina.
Claudio Ranieri's men twice had to come from behind as Antonio Barilla (26) and Emil Halfredson (69) made a mockery of the two clubs' respective standings.
Fortunately for Juve, an Alessandro Del Piero penalty on 47 minutes and a Cristiano Zanetti effort 18 minutes from time saw them emerge with their dignity intact.
Sampdoria continue to be infuriatingly inconsistent and were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Cagliari this time out.
A first half brace from Guido Marilungo (26 & 43) appeared to have the home side well on course for a comfortable victory.
However, a remarkable second 45 saw the game turned on its head as Alessandro Matri (47), Robert Acquafresca (pen 67) and Daniele Conti (81) fired the visitors in front.
They were unable to hold onto that lead, though, as the in-form Antonio Cassano snatched an equaliser with four minutes remaining.
Torino are precariously perched just one point above the drop zone, but will take heart from a 1-0 win over Siena.
Former Manchester City striker Rolando Biachi was the hero for the Bulls as his solitary strike after 10 minutes proved to be enough to take the spoils.