Fiorentina, Sampdoria pick up important victories in Serie A
Fiorentina resisted a spirited fightback from Palermo to secure a frenetic 4-3 Serie A victory at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
It looked like Palermo were there for the taking after captain Manuel Pasqual's goal gave dominant Fiorentina the lead heading into half-time on Sunday afternoon.
Jose Maria Basanta nudged the Tuscans further ahead following the restart but Palermo suddenly sprang to life and restored parity through a smash-and-grab brace from substitute Robin Quaison.
Juan Cuadrado then scored to quell the visitors' celebrations and Joaquin added a goal of real quality to earn Fiorentina all three points, even though Palermo had time to grab a third thanks to Andrea Belotti and his penalty.
A late goal from Chievo substitute Dejan Lazarevic denied Atalanta victory as Sunday's match finished in a 1-1 draw in Bergamo.
Davide Zappacosta gave Atalanta the lead in the 72nd minute.
Atalanta lost Gianpaolo Bellini to a second yellow card in the 89th minute when the Italian defender brought down Chievo's Sergio Pellissier just outside the area.
Chievo made Atalanta pay with Lazarevic scoring with the resulting free-kick to earn a valuable Serie A point in their battle to avoid the drop.
The outcome, Atalanta's third-straight draw, has lifted the Bergamaschi to 17th place, two points clear of the relegation zone.
Chievo, who have not lost on the road since October 29, are one place and one point above Atalanta.
Sampdoria 1, Empoli 0
A single second-half goal from Eder was enough to boost Sampdoria to a 1-0 Serie A victory over Empoli at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
The Brazilian striker broke the deadlock shortly after half-time and while 15th-placed Empoli did well to resist conceding another goal, they were toothless in attack and left the Marassi empty-handed.
A fifth home victory of the season steered Samp onto 40 points and into a share of fourth place with Rafael Benitez's Napoli, who host reigning champions and current league leaders Juventus later on Sunday.
Promoted Empoli, meanwhile, are without a win in six games having only mustered three goals during that run.
Hellas Verona 3, Parma 1
Hellas Verona beat Parma 3-1 on Sunday afternoon to clinch their first win at home since October 4.
Jacopo Sala put the hosts ahead in the 39th minute before Parma's Francesco Lodi leveled with a free-kick in the 63rd minute.
Luca Toni gave Hellas the lead again nine minutes later and substitute Mattia Valoti sealed the win in injury time.
The victory, Hellas' fifth of the campaign, has lifted the Verona outfit to 13th place, while Parma remain in 19th position, eight points from safety.
The visitors went into the contest looking to pick up where they left off after last week's 1-0 triumph over Fiorentina.
Hellas, who had won just one of their previous 11 league games, were without the services of suspended midfielders Emil Hallfredsson and Hugo Campanharo.
Cagliari 2, Cesena 1
Cagliari finally won at home this season and gave Gianfranco Zola his first win as their coach with a 2-1 triumph over bottom side Cesena on Sunday.
Joao Pedro and Godfred Donsah struck in the first half for the Sardinian outfit.
Cesena's Franco Brienza reduced the arrears one minute from the end but the home side held on for their third victory of the season.
The outcome at the Sant' Elia stadium has allowed 18th-place Cagliari to close the gap to just two points on Atalanta, who hold the last position of safety.
Cesena, winless since the opening day of the campaign, remain rooted at the foot of the standings.
Cagliari went into the contest looking to make amends for last week's 5-0 defeat at Palermo in Zola's first game in charge.