Palermo lost their 100% home record on Saturday night as Cesena secured a surprise 1-0 victory at La Favorita.
The home side, who had won all six of their previous Serie A games in Sicily, fell behind to an Adrian Mutu goal after 63 minutes and their chances of finding an equaliser were hampered almost immediately when Ezequiel Munoz was sent-off.
Cesena, beaten 2-0 at Juventus last time out, started with promise, Mutu coming close after six minutes, while at the other end, Edgar Barreto saw a shot well saved by Nicola Ravaglia.
Mutu was twice denied by Francesco Benussi in the Palermo goal while Citadin Eder also had two efforts, neither of which hit the target.
Benussi saved from Marco Parolo after 32 minutes as Cesena continued to pose the greater threat.
Palermo did improve towards the break but Fabrizio Miccoli shot wide when well placed, and Munoz’s header was saved by Ravaglia who also denied Miccoli after good work from Afriyie Acquah.
Devis Mangia’s men conjured up the first chance of the second period as well, Nicolas Bertolo nodding just wide.
But it was Cesena who grabbed the vital opener when Mutu headed in Antonio Candreva’s corner.
Palermo barely had time to regroup when Munoz was dismissed for a foul on Eder.
The 10 men did, at least, keep fighting and they could have equalised with 18 minutes to go, only a fine save from Ravaglia keeping out a Miccoli effort following good work from Josip Ilicic.
Ilicic then came close himself with another effort which drew a save from the Cesena goalkeeper.
Cesena gradually worked their way back on to the front foot and finished strongly, Parolo’s late shot bringing a fine save from Benussi.