Milan, Dec 19: Unbeaten Juventus broke clear at the top of the Italian league with a 2-0 victory over struggling Novara on Sunday as Udinese was held to a 2-2 draw at Lazio.
Simone Pepe gave Juventus the perfect start when he scored in the fourth minute but the result flattered Juventus with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulling off a string of impressive saves.
Fabio Quagliarella secured the win 15 minutes from time.
Juventus is two points clear of AC Milan and Udinese, which it faces on Wednesday.
Inter Milan's revival gathered pace as Andrea Ranocchia helped it win 1-0 at struggling Cesena. Inter's fifth win in six games moves it up to fifth spot — 10 points behind Juventus.
After Milan had gone provisionally top with victory on Saturday the pressure was on Juventus and it didn't disappoint. Antonio Conte's team got off to the perfect start when Paolo De Ceglie crossed for Pepe to tap home from close range.
Juventus sealed the points when Quaglierella headed in Andrea Pirlo's corner for his first goal in more than a year.
"We were very good in creating opportunities, but less so in finishing them off," Conte said. "They're risking giving us heart attacks on the bench."
In Rome, Udinese took the lead in the 27th minute when Giampiero Pinzi released Giovanni Pasquale down the left flank and he crossed for Antonio Floro Flores to score with a diving header.
Lazio went in front with goals from Senad Lulic and Miroslav Klose either side of the interval before Pinzi leveled in the 73rd minute.
"They equalized during our best period and then went in front but fortunately we managed to react," Pinzi said. "Now we're just thinking of Juve because that's a fascinating top of the table clash."
In a game of few chances at Cesena, Inter made it three wins in a row thanks to Ranocchia's second-half goal as he headed home Maicon's freekick.
"I've never seen my team miss so many passes like today," Inter coach Claudio Ranieri said. "This is a game from which we have to just take the points. For entertainment, you had to turn on the TV today at 1130 to watch Barcelona."
Napoli slipped further down the table with a 3-1 loss to Roma. Walter Mazzarri's team has now only won once in seven Serie A games.
It got off to a terrible start when goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis turned Erik Lamela's cross into his own net in the third minute.
Napoli should have been level before halftime as Marek Hamsik missed an open goal from six yards out, blazing over the bar when he seemed certain to score. Ezequiel Lavezzi also hit the post.
Roma extended its lead on the hour mark, Pablo Osvaldo slotting home Francesco Totti's cross from close range.
Hamsik got Napoli back into the game when he fired home from a tight angle eight minutes from time but it was too little too late. Fabio Simplicio sealed the victory in stoppage time.
"Well done to (Roma coach) Luis Enrique for saying they were lucky because in Italy, when we win, we don't normally say the other team deserved to instead," Mazzarri said.
"Napoli was unlucky with everything. I couldn't ask more from the team. We'll have to accept this bitter defeat and move on."
Lecce could have given its survival hopes a big boost as it looked to be on course for a 3-1 victory at Parma before letting the lead slip.
Sergio Floccari gave Parma the lead from the spot. But two rapid David Di Michele goals and a Juan Cuadrado strike eight minutes from time seemed to have won the match for Lecce.
However, Graziano Pelle got Parma back in the game four minutes later and Daniele Galloppa grabbed the equalizer in stoppage time.
Catania beat Palermo 2-0 in what is likely to be Maxi Lopez's last home game for Catania, thanks to a penalty from the Argentine after Francesco Lodi had put the home side in front.
Maxi Lopez is likely to leave Catania in the winter transfer window — with a touted move to AC Milan — and the striker left the field in tears when he was substituted midway through the second half.
"I got emotional today because it's been a tough week," Maxi Lopez said. "I didn't know if I would play and then it was important for me to score because you don't know what may happen. I left everything to come to this city, for this club and for my teammates."
Elsewhere, Bologna is further in trouble after losing 2-1 at Genoa. Gaston Ramirez leveled for Bologna after Marco Rossi had put Genoa in front. But Lucas Pratto scored his first Serie A goal five minutes from time.