Champion Juventus overcame conceding a first-minute goal at home to AC Milan to stun its rival 3-2 and move to within two points of Serie A leader Roma on Sunday.
Title contender Napoli had heaped the pressure on Juventus after a 4-0 rout of Livorno which moved Rafael Benitez’s men up to second place in the table.
But after being stunned by Sulley Muntari’s first-minute opener in Turin, Antonio Conte’s men were soon level thanks to Andrea Pirlo’s sublime free-kick.
In a pulsating encounter played in torrential rain, Juve upped the pace after the interval when Sebastian Giovinco gave the host a 2-1 lead and Giorgio Chiellini added a third following the expulsion of Milan defender Phillip Mexes.
The shine was taken off a convincing win, however, when Muntari struck his second of the match and Juve escaped dropping two precious points when Cristian Zapata saw a bullet header go just over at the death.
It was a combative and at times bad tempered affair and after Mexes was red-carded for manhandling Chiellini in the box at a corner, the Italy defender called for the Frenchman to be harshly sanctioned.
“This kind of thing needs a heavy sanction,” said the Italy defender.
“Some people just won’t learn. When you’re tough and determined, that’s fair enough because at the end of the day you get up from a hard tackle and shake hands. But that is just not football.”
With Roma comfortably on top with 21 points from seven games, Napoli and Juventus are both two points adrift in second and third respectively and Inter in fourth.
Roma hosts Napoli in two weeks’ time following a break for World Cup qualifiers, and Benitez was clearly buoyant with his side’s performance following a 2-0 Champions League defeat to Arsenal last week.
Verona’s surprise presence among the top five was partly down to the goalless draw between Lazio and Fiorentina at the Olympic Stadium, which left it seventh and sixth respectively.
Injury-ravaged Milan, which is still without playmaker Kaka and suspended striker Mario Balotelli, is now languishing in 12th place with a 13-point deficit to Roma.
Juventus 3 (Pirlo 16, Giovinco 69, Chiellini 75) bt Milan 2 (Muntari 1, 90); Lazio 0 drew with Fiorentina 0.