It was business as usual as Serie A resumed after the winter break, the top three all winning with AC Milan sounding a significant warning to leaders FC Internazionale Milano as they hit five against Genoa CFC.
The Nerazzurri started the day as they ended it, eight points clear of nearest rivals Milan, but any ideas of an easy stroll to their fifth successive title were soundly eliminated. Marco Borriello struck twice as the Rossoneri recovered from going 1-0 down to overwhelm Genoa 5-2, Ronaldinho and Klaas Jan Huntelaar both converting penalties as David Beckham enjoyed a rousing return to the starting XI at San Siro.
Inter also included a familiar new name in their lineup – though Goran Pandev never wore the famous blue and black first time round – as Mario Balotelli's 12th-minute strike earned a 1-0 victory against AC Chievo Verona. Juventus, kicking off a few hours later as part of a full programme of Epiphany holiday fixtures, also registered early through Hasan Salihamidžić at Parma FC. Former Bianconeri striker Nicola Amoruso equalised for the sixth-placed hosts midway through the first half, but parity proved short-lived as six minutes before the break Paolo Castellini put through his own net to inadvertently restore the visitors' lead. Juve played the final 17 minutes with ten men following Martín Cáceres's dismissal.
There was late drama in Sardinia as Cagliari Calcio scored twice in added time to draw 2-2 with AS Roma, a turn of events which allowed SSC Napoli, 2-0 victors at lowly Atalanta BC, to rise to fourth. Alberto Gilardino struck two as UEFA Champions League contenders ACF Fiorentina also won away, 5-1 against struggling AC Siena. With UC Sampdoria and US Città di Palermo sharing the spoils with a 1-1 draw, the result propelled the Viola ahead of both and into seventh, a place above an AS Bari team which beat Udinese Calcio 2-0. Elsewhere, S.S Lazio debutant Sergio Floccari scored two in the capital club's 4-1 home win against AS Livorno Calcio, while fourth-from-bottom Bologna FC lost 1-0 to the team directly below them, Calcio Catania.
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