Juventus pulled away from Napoli at the top of Italy's Serie A with a 4-1 thrashing of Roma as hosts Parma held a seemingly resurgent AC Milan to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Roma coach Zdenek Zeman had helped stoke the fires in the days leading up to the Juve match with comments on an autobiography by former Serie A player Matias Almeyda which revived Juventus's murky doping past.
Juve responded by outclassing the visitors to go three points clear of Napoli ahead of their match Sunday away to third-placed Sampdoria, leaving Roma with two wins from six games.
Roma's second defeat of the season leaves the Giallorossi in seventh place, and in danger of dropping further depending on Sunday's results.
"We had a gameplan and we didn't manage to get it up and running," said Zeman. "Juventus were superior to us in every department.
"We worked hard for this but what can you do when you concede three goals in seven minutes?"
Fourteen years ago, Zeman's suspicions about the use of steroids by the Turin giants caused scandal and eventually led to sanctions being handed to a Juve official.
And after Almeyda's recently-published book carried similar claims -- notably that he believed he had been given drugs by former club Parma -- Zeman stood by his past comments.
"Years ago I said there was doping in football. I have not yet read the autobiography of Matias Almeyda, but I'm not surprised," Zeman said according to ANSA Thursday.
It set the scene for a potential clash of giants, but any hopes Roma had of causing an upset were virtually extinguished by the 19th minute.
Midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo put his early season woes behind him when he opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a sumptuous free kick that beat Dutch 'keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Roma's defence then went into panic mode and a handball by Brazilian Castan led the referee to point to the spot.
Chilean international Arturo Vidal stepped up to make it 2-0 in the 16th minute, and three minutes later provided the assist for Alessandro Matri to sneak in behind Roma's defence to put Juve 3-0 up in the 19th minute.
Roma's Pablo Osvaldo had voiced his hopes in midweek of taking all three points in Turin and the Argentine-born Italy international was on hand to reduce arrears from the spot in the 69th minute.
However Roma never seemed likely to reduce arrears further and second half substitute Sebastian Giovinco made it four for the hosts in the 90th minute.
Earlier, AC Milan, who lost several key players in the summer and have made a disastrous start to the season, produced a performance worthy of the 2012 league runners-up against Parma.
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri handed Bojan Krkic his starting debut and the Spanish international forward showed glimpses of his class as he linked well with fellow forward Stephan El Shaarawy.
El Shaarawy, an Italy under-21 international who has also made his senior debut for the Azzurri, was the star performer for Milan and scored a fine individual effort five minutes into the second half.
Despite Milan's domination, Parma scored a 66th minute equaliser from Daniele Galloppa's 66th minute free-kick.
While hailing El Shaarawy's "strength, stamina and pace", Allegri lamented the lost chance for three valuable points.
"It's a pity we didn't win because the three points were comfortably within our grasp. We didn't finish off the game and were punished on a set play."