Inter Milan spurned a chance to go top of Serie A for a second week running after a pulsating 1-1 draw at Palermo on Saturday left them just short of leaders Fiorentina.
The result left Inter second on 18 points, only trailing Fiorentina on goal difference.
The leaders host third-placed Roma (17 points) in a showdown on Sunday to see who ends the weekend top in Italy.
Inter began the season with five straight wins, but their latest draw means they have only taken three points from their last four games.
The visitors broke the deadlock with a rapid counter-attack on the hour which culminated with a deft finish from Ivan Perisic at the far post.
Veteran Italy international Alberto Gilardino didn’t know much about his equaliser six minutes later, sticking out a shin as the ball arrived at speed through a forest of legs.
But he poked the ball home from close range via a touch from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic’s outstretched hand.
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Palermo then defended in numbers even after the late dismissal of Inter defender Jeison Murillo and the Nerazzurri have now failed to win in Palermo since 2010.
Roberto Mancini made several changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Juventus last week but was frustrated at not winning this game.
“In the first half, Palermo created a few problems and we were too stretched out,” Mancini said.
“We suffered in defence and attack. We were unlucky on the Murillo sending off too. But we are really not satisfied because we wanted to win. Unfortunately we didn’t achieve it.”
Elsewhere, first ever Serie A goals either side of half time from Rade Krunic and Piotr Zielinski lifted Empoli away from the drop zone with a much needed 2-0 victory over Genoa.
“We didn’t have as much energy as Empoli and were often second to the ball,” Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia.
Krunic, a 22-year-old Bosnian, fired low and hard into the bottom corner from the edge of the six yard box when getting to a loose ball first to break the deadlock just ahead of the interval.
Then Poland international Zielinski, 21, kept a cool head for his goal, nodding home unmarked after the defence watched Massimo Maccarone’s effort come back off the crossbar.
Bologna climbed off the bottom when they came from behind against 10-man Carpi to clinch a 2-1 win.
Gaetano Letizia turned in from six yards out to give the minnows the lead midway through the first half, but Lorenzo Lollo was soon sent off for a second bookable offence.
Bologna captain Daniele Gastaldello pegged a goal back just after the restart, while Adam Masina tapped home deep into injury time for the clincher over their fellow promoted side.
“I hope this can be the turning point of the season. It is our duty to fight for safety,” said Bologna coach Delio Rossi.
Juventus have won the title four years in succession but changes to personnel during the summer have slowed the Turin giants who have yet to show their championship mettle.
Before they host Atalanta on Sunday, Massimiliano Allegri’s men sit in 15th place, three points above the drop zone and nine behind Fiorentina.
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