Inter Milan lead Serie A heading into the Christmas break but a 2-1 defeat to Lazio means their advantage is slight.
Roberto Mancini’s men – one point clear at the top – might have opened a four-point gap on Scudetto rivals Fiorentina and Napoli had they beaten struggling Lazio at San Siro on Sunday night.
But Antonio Candreva opened the scoring to ensure Inter would fight an uphill battle and Mauro Icardi’s second-half leveller was rendered redundant when Candreva stuck away the rebound from his own saved penalty with three minutes remaining.
Felipe Melo conceded that spot-kick and later saw red for a dangerous challenge on Lucas Biglia, with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic following him down the tunnel for dissent in stoppage time.
Troubled Lazio can head into the festive period with cause to be cheerful having claimed a first league win in eight attempts while Inter can begin to look at the transfer window and consider how they might strengthen their title bid.
Fiorentina and Napoli are still in the hunt after claiming respective wins over Atalanta and Chievo.
Gonzalo Higuain’s brace helped the Azzurri to a 3-1 victory in Bergamo, with Marek Hamsik scoring a penalty and Alejandro Gomez notching for the hosts. Both sides lost a player – Jorginho and Gabriel Paletta were dismissed.
Fiorentina beat Chievo 2-0 through goals from Nikola Kalinic and Josip Ilicic, dislodging Juventus from the Champions League places following the reigning champions’ earlier 3-2 triumph at Carpi.
Mario Mandzukic scored twice and Paul Pogba once as Juve rallied from behind against the promoted side, who took an early lead through Marco Borriello and witnessed a stoppage-time own goal by Leonardo Bonucci.
Rudi Garcia’s Roma returned to winning ways, the 10-man Giallorossi snapping a four-game winless run by downing lowly Genoa 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
The capital club lost Edin Dzeko to a red card but won the match thanks to Alessandro Florenzi and Sadiq Umar.
Underachieving AC Milan ended the year on a high by edging out plucky Frosinone 4-2 at the Stadio Matusa.
The Rossoneri will enjoy their break from sixth place thanks to goals from Ignazio Abate, Carlos Bacca, Alex and Giacomo Bonaventura. Daniel Ciofani had put the hosts ahead, with Federico Dionisi notching in the final stages.
Elsewhere, Sampdoria claimed a first win under Vincenzo Montella as Palermo were beaten 2-0 by goals from Roberto Soriano and David Ivan, basement boys Hellas Verona were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Sassuolo as Luca Toni’s goal cancelled out Sergio Floccari’s opener, and Stipe Perica’s strike saw Udinese win 1-0 at Torino.
On Saturday, Massimo Maccarone scored twice as in-form Empoli beat Bologna 3-2 to make it four Serie A wins in a row .
Manuel Pucciarelli also scored for the visitors as Bologna were left empty-handed despite twice coming from behind through goals from Franco Brienza and Mattia Destro.