Slovenia striker Josip Ilicic hit a brace and late substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski added the trimmings as Fiorentina replaced Inter Milan at the top of Serie A on Wednesday with a 3-1 win at Palermo.

Inter have the chance to go back on top if they beat Empoli away later in the day, but on the first round of matches following a two-week break there was no let up for Roberto Mancini’s title challengers.

Champions Juventus consigned their poor start to the campaign to distant memory with a commanding 3-0 win over Verona in Turin to move up to third at the expense of Napoli ahead of their later match at home to Torino.

Napoli are unbeaten at home this season and a draw could be enough to see Maurizio Sarri’s men reclaim third place in Wednesday’s late match at the San Paolo.

Roma remain in fifth place but Rudi Garcia’s men dropped two precious points after letting a two-goal lead slip in a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Bentegodi stadium.

Sassuolo’s 2-2 draw with Frosinone was enough to see them move up to sixth spot at the expense of AC Milan, who dominated Bologna at the San Siro only to lose 1-0 after a late winner by Emanuele Giaccherini.

Fiorentina remain among the favourites for the Serie A title glory this season and much of that has been down to Croatian international Nikola Kalinic, who has found the 10 times so far.

But at a packed Stadio Franchi, Ililic showed why he is a target for a number of top clubs in Europe with a finely-taken opener that sneaked past Stefano Sorrentino and inside the ‘keeper’s near post on 13 minutes.

The 27-year-old Slovenian doubled his and Fiorentina’s tally two minutes before the interval when he collected Kalinic’s pass to beat Sorrentino with a seemingly effortless curling effort from the edge of the area.

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Alberto Gilardino reduced arrears for Davide Ballardini’s men with a close-range header on 77 minutes but Blaszczykowski, returning from a three-month injury lay-off, put the match beyond reach in injury time when he beat the offside trap to beat Sorrentino down low at his far post.

Juventus have been on the ascendancy since late October and Massimiliano Allegri’s men made it eight wins on the trot against a Verona side sorely lacking the goalscoring of veteran striker Luca Toni.

Toni only recently returned from injury but was a late exclusion in Turin, where Argentina international Dybala put the hosts ahead after eight minutes.

Defender Leonardo Bonucci rose to power a header past Pierluigi Gollini on the stroke of half-time and Simone Zaza, who replaced Alvaro Morata with 10 minutes on the clock, beat the offside trap to hit Juve’s third only two minutes later.

Roma looked to be in command at Chievo after Umar Sadiq broke the deadlock on seven minutes, the lanky Nigerian starlet hitting his second successive Serie A goal on his second successive appearance.

Alessandro Florenzi doubled Roma’s lead in clinical fashion when he intercepted a pass inside his own half and powered down the midfield to beat Albano Bizzarri at his far post.

Roma’s penchant for letting leads slip this season, however, came back to haunt them. Alberto Paloschi reduced arrears on the stroke of half-time and pulled Chievo level just before the hour when his toe-poke on the volley found its way past Wojciech Szczesny following a corner from the right.

Iago Falque looked to have secured the points for Roma with a 71st minute strike, but a free kick from Simone Pepe pulled Chievo level in dramatic fashion five minutes from the whistle.

Initially ruled out, officials used goalline technology for the first time to ascertain the ball had fully crossed the line before Szczesny scrambled it to safety.

By AFP