Inter Milan stunned by Lazio; Juve extend winning run, Roma end slump

Inter Milan lead Serie A heading into the Christmas break, but a 2-1 defeat to Lazio means their advantage is slight.

Antonio Candreva opened the scoring to ensure Inter would fight an uphill battle and Mauro Icardi's second-half leveller was rendered redundant when Candreva stuck away his own saved penalty with three minutes remaining.

Felipe Melo conceded that spot-kick and later saw red for a moment of madness, with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic following him down the tunnel in stoppage time.

Troubled Lazio can head into the festive period with cause to be cheerful, having claimed a first league win in eight attempts, while Inter can begin to look at the transfer window and consider how they might strengthen their title bid.

Mario Mandzukic scored twice as Juventus survived a late scare in a 3-2 win at Carpi to extend their winning run to seven games.

Strugglers Carpi took a surprise lead at the Stadio Alberto Braglia after 15 minutes through Marco Borriello, but Mandzukic quickly levelled for Juve three minutes later.

The Croatia striker put Massimiliano Allegri's side ahead 41 minutes in, with Paul Pogba netting five minutes after the restart to put the Bianconeri in firm control of the game.

Leonardo Bonucci then put through his own net in injury time to set up a tense finale, but Serie A champions Juve held on for a seventh consecutive league win to climb to second in the table -- at least until Fiorentina (third) and Napoli (fourth) play their games in hand later on Sunday.

Roma ended their winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Genoa to relieve some of the pressure on coach Rudi Garcia.

Alessandro Florenzi opened the scoring just before half-time and the whole Roma team ran over to hug Garcia.

Edin Dzeko was sent off 16 minutes before the end but teenager Sadiq Umar sealed the match late on to end a seven-match winless streak that included Wednesday's Italian Cup exit against Spezia.

Fiorentina sit just behind leaders Inter Milan heading into the winter break after beating Chievo 2-0.

Paulo Sousa's men were briefly dislodged from second place by resurgent Juventus but they wasted no time forcing their way back into title contention with goals from Nikola Kalinic and Josip Ilicic.

The margin of victory might have been greater had Chievo goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri not pulled off a succession of fine stops to ensure his Gialloblu colleagues were not roundly trounced at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Gonzalo Higuain's brace helped Napoli to a 3-1 win over Atalanta and back up to third.

The Argentina striker now leads the scoring charts with 16 goals and Marek Hamsik's penalty ensured Maurizio Sarri's side took all three points at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.

Jorginho's sending off gave hope to the hosts, whose goal came from Alejandro Gomez, but it could have been worse had Hamsik netted a second spot-kick after Gabriel Paletta was shown red late on.

Hellas Verona were again thwarted in their quest for a first win of the season as Sassuolo claimed a 1-1 draw.

The Serie A basement boys have only eight points from eight draws and looked like losing for the 10th time when Sergio Floccari fired high-flying Sassuolo ahead in the 34th minute of play at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Veteran striker Luca Toni pegged the Neroverde back five minutes later as he turned Pawel Wszolek's through-ball beyond Andrea Consigli, but Luigi Delneri's men could not find a second goal and sit eight points from safety.

Moving on to the late games, underachieving AC Milan ended the year on a high by edging out plucky Frosinone 4-2 at the Stadio Matusa.

The Rossoneri have spent most of 2015 in the Serie A wilderness, but will enjoy Christmas in sixth place thanks to goals from Ignazio Abate, Carlos Bacca, Alex and Giacomo Bonaventura.

Although Daniel Ciofani put Sinisa Mihajlovic's men on the back foot with an early opener, with Federico Dionisi setting some nerves jangling with his late goal, Frosinone could not avoid defeat and remain in the relegation zone.

Sampdoria pulled away from the relegation zone with an overdue 2-0 victory over Palermo.

Vincenzo Montella had presided over three defeats and a draw since replacing Walter Zenga, but goals from Roberto Soriano and David Ivan snapped the winless run and boosted Samp six points clear of the bottom three.

Elsewhere, Stipe Perica's first-half goal was enough to steer 10-man Udinese to a nervy 1-0 victory at Torino.