AC Milan dropped two crucial points as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Catania in Serie A on Saturday, while Lazio lost again.
A first-half Robinho strike was cancelled out by an equaliser from Nicolas Spolli as hosts Catania claimed a deserved point, denying Massimiliano Allegri’s men a seven-point advantage at the top.
Catania started brightly, and fired an early warning shot after just four minutes when Gonzalo Bergessio hit the side-netting.
Both sides created opportunities at Stadio Angelo Massimino, and it was the visitors who took a 34th-minute lead thanks to superb work from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
A series of crisp passes led to the Sweden striker receiving the ball with his back to goal.
Showing incredible strength, he held off Nicola Legrottaglie, turned, and slipped Robinho behind the defence, with the Brazilian firing home from close range.
Catania nearly drew level moments after the restart when a loose ball in the area was attacked by Alejandro Gomez, who rattled the crossbar with a ferocious effort.
Gomez thought he had equalised barely a minute into the second half after turning in a flick by Bergessio.
The goal was ruled out for offside, but replays suggested the Argentine may have kept himself onside.
Catania would not be denied again though, and deservedly drew level just before the hour mark.
Allegri’s side failed to deal with a corner, leaving Legrottaglie to knock down the ball to Spolli, who swept home.
Robinho came within inches of putting Milan back in front on 64 minutes, but his shot was cleared off the line by Giovanni Marchese.
AC Milan were forced to settle for a point despite Ibrahimovic going close on several occasions late on, with the reigning champions going five points clear of Juventus at the top.
Meanwhile, Lazio were dealt a blow in their quest for a Champions League spot after suffering a shock 3-1 loss to Parma at Stadio Ennio Tardini.
McDonald Mariga opened the scoring with a neat finish on six minutes and Sergio Floccari added a second for the hosts with a powerful header.
Lionel Scaloni, who replaced the injured Andre Dias midway through the first half, was fortunate to pull a goal back with a deflected strike on 37 minutes.
Floccari, however, restored his team’s two-goal advantage in the 72nd minute, striking home a Sebastian Giovinco cross as third-placed Lazio slumped to their third loss in four league matches.