Rome: Udinese and Lazio kept up the pressure on leaders Juventus by recording victories over Palermo and Cagliari respectively on Sunday.
Udinese edged out Palermo 1-0 to stay second while Lazio won 3-0 at Cagliari leaving both just a point behind the Old Lady of Turin.
Captain and talisman Antonio Di Natale made a heroic return from injury by notching the only goal of the game in Udine.
Senad Lulic and former Bayern Munich hot-shot Miroslav Klose and Tommaso Rocchi scored the goals in Sardinia, leaving the German just one goal behind Di Natale in the top scorers charts.
Udinese could have won more comfortably but in particular wasted a rash of late chances to kill the game on the counter attack.
They now trail Juventus by just one point and are joined by Lazio on 18 points.
Coach Francesco Guidolin said his team had bounced back following the midweek defeat at Napoli that cost them their unbeaten start to the season.
"It was a great game, Palermo played well, we did a bit more than them and deserved to win," he said.
"Unfortunately it remained in the balance until the end, we created many chances but didn't manage to put them away.
"I told the lads that when we're not at 100 percent we can lose to anyone.
"We got our tempo back and when we do that we're a good team; potent, generous, enterprising and fast."
Udinese first opened up Palermo when Mauricio Isla picked out Kwadwo Asamoah from the right but the Ghana midfielder's shot was well saved by goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas.
The goal came on 38 minutes when Dusan Basta picked out Di Natale, who was right on the limit of offside but scored with a volley as he fell sideways.
Udinese played cleverly on the counter after the break and Di Natale's volley from Isla's cross went just past the upright.
Armero then picked out Di Natale, who shot into the side-netting before returning the favour only for the Colombian wing-back to crash his effort off the post.
Palermo's best chance fell to Israeli forward Eran Zehavi but his finish was weak and Samir Handanovic saved easily.
Almen Abdi was the chief culprit for Udinese late on, blazing high when one-on-one with Tzorvas and then firing into the side-netting having rounded the keeper.
Lazio effectively secured their victory with two goals in five minutes at the end of the first half with Djibril Cisse involved in both.
It was his lay off on 39 minutes that was curled home by Lulic around goalkeeper Michael Agazzi from 25 yards.
Then a minute from the break he crossed from the right and Klose was left in yards of space in the box to send a forceful stooping header past Agazzi.
Thiago Riberio should have pulled a goal back 12 minutes from time but somehow headed Alessandro Agostini's cross from the left wide from six yards, meaning Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti's net remained unbreached on his return to the club that left him out in the cold for the whole of last season over a contract dispute.
Rocchi came off the bench to score with two minutes left, volleying home from close in after Agazzi had tipped his header onto the bar.
It was his 100th goal for Lazio.
"It was a huge joy to score given how long I've waited for this goal, I needed to play whole game," he told SkySport.
"I'm delighted we won, it was very difficult and scoring gives me great satisfaction.
"We need to keep going like this, it's not an easy place to come, we won, we're in a great position in the table and what's fundamental is continuity because we're playing twice a week."
In other games Andrea Lazzari earnt his Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihjlovic some respite by scoring the only goal in the 1-0 defeat of Genoa.
Cesena remain rock bottom after losing 2-0 at Parma, after which coach Marco Giampaolo was sacked.