MILAN Edin Dzeko scored two first-half goals as AS Roma won 4-1 at AC Milan on Sunday to retake second spot in Serie A and keep their title hopes mathematically alive on another shocking day for the Milanese pair.
Earlier, midfielder Antonio Candreva missed an 87th minute penalty for Inter Milan in a 1-0 defeat at lowly Genoa, extending their winless run to seven league games.
Palermo, who have employed five different coaches this season, were finally relegated after drawing 1-1 at Chievo and Lazio continued their free-scoring run with a remarkable 7-3 win over Sampdoria.
With three games each to play, Roma moved up to 78 points, seven behind Juventus who were held 1-1 at home by Torino on Saturday, and set up a mouth-watering clash between the pair at the Stadio Olimpico next Sunday.
Napoli are a further point behind in the Champions League playoff spot after beating Cagliari 3-1 on Saturday.
Lazio and Atalanta, who drew 1-1 at Udinese, are fourth and fifth respectively and set to take the Europa League group stage spots leaving Milan, Inter and Fiorentina to scrap for sixth and a place in the qualifiers.
Serie A leading scorer Dzeko took his tally to 27 with his brace at San Siro. The Bosnian exchanged passes with Mohamed Salah to score after eight minutes and headed the second before the half hour.
In between, Milan's 18-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a brilliant save to turn Diego Perotti's shot onto the post.
Mario Pasalic pulled one back in the 76th minute but Stephan El Shaarawy restored Roma's two-goal lead two minutes later and Daniele De Rossi completed the scoring with a penalty in the 87th minute after Gabriel Paletta fouled Salah.
A red card for Paletta completed Milan's miserable evening.
Despite their defeat, Milan held on to sixth with 59 points, three clear of Inter and Fiorentina.
Inter were sunk by a 70th minute goal from their former forward Goran Pandev, who volleyed home from a rebound after Miguel Veloso’s long-range shot was tipped onto the bar by Samir Handanovic.
The visitors were gifted a late chance for an equaliser when Nicolas Burdisso was harshly ruled to have handled but Candreva's weak penalty was saved by Eugenio Lamanna.
Inter's misery was compounded with a red card for midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia for dissent.
The defeat left them seventh in the table, outside the Europa League places. Fiorentina pulled level with them on 56 points after Federico Bernardeschi scored in the fourth minute to stoppage time to give them a 2-2 draw at Sassuolo.
Palermo earned a stay of execution with a 2-0 win over Fiorentina last week but there was no escape this time even after Edoardo Goldaniga scored a late equaliser to cancel out Sergio Pellissier's penalty.
The Sicilians, who are one off the bottom with 20 points, were left 12 adrift of safety with three games to play after Empoli beat Bologna 3-1.
Keita Balde Diao gave Lazio a second-minute lead but the game turned when Sampdoria defender Milan Skriniar fouled the Senegalese, was sent off and conceded a penalty, converted by Ciro Immobile, in the 20th minute.
Although Karol Linetty pulled one back, further goals from Wesley Hoedt, a Felipe Anderson penalty and Stefan de Vrij made it 5-1 at halftime. Senad Lulic and Immobile made it 7-1 with 20 minutes left before Fabio Quagliarella pulled two back, one from a penalty.
(Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)