Roma kept the suspense bubbling in Italian football on Saturday as they breezed to a 3-1 win over Atalanta and to within just five points of leaders Juventus.
First half goals from versatile Brazilian Rodrigo Taddei and Serbia’s Adem Ljajic put Rudi Garcia’s side in charge at the Olympic Stadium before former Arsenal striker Gervinho sealed the victory with 27 minutes left.
The Ivory Coast international picked up his eighth league goal of the season before Giulio Migliaccio pulled back a consolation goal for the away side with 12 minutes left.
Roma also strengthened their grip on second place and the final automatic Champions League spot by extending their lead over Napoli to 15 points.
One more victory for Frenchman Garcia’s high flying side will guarantee them a place in the continent’s showpiece tournament next season as they hold a better head-to-head record against Napoli in the unlikely case of the teams finishing level.
Juventus can restore their eight-point lead over Roma on Monday when they travel to lower table Udinese.
In the only other game on Saturday, second-from-bottom Sassuolo blew a chance to pick up a much needed victory as they were pegged back 1-1 by Cagliari.
Simone Zaza put them in a winning position with the opening goal nine minutes before half-time before the home side conceded a penalty shortly after the break.
Macedonian international Agim Ibraimi made no mistake from the spot just two minutes after the restart as the visitors earned a point to keep them seven points above the relegation zone.
On Sunday, Napoli can edge closer towards a qualifying place for next season’s Champions League as Rafa Benitez’s side host Lazio.
Their closest rivals Fiorentina are nine points back in fourth and on the road at Verona.
Inter Milan and Parma are tied for fifth and the final Europa League spot as they travel to Sampdoria and Bologna respectively.
In a key game at the bottom, Livorno go into their home tie against Chievo, knowing a win will lift them out of the relegation zone at the expense of their guests.