Udinese went top of Serie A with a 2-1 home success against Siena on Sunday but champions AC Milan are now lurking ominously a point behind in third after thrashing Catania 4-0.
Lazio are level on points with Udinese after they beat Parma 1-0 at Rome's Stadio Olimpico but are second on goal-difference.
With previous leaders Juventus's match at Napoli called off due to the rain all three teams knew they had the opportunity to go top if they won.
And that prize went to Udinese thanks to goals from Dusan Basta and emblematic captain Antonio Di Natale.
Udinese wasted no time in going in front taking just 54 seconds to do so, although it was a scrappy goal.
Di Natale turned neatly on the left wing and although his low cross was poor it still landed at the feet of Antonio Floro Flores, whose shot was scuffed but went to Basta, who managed to prod it past Zeljko Brkic.
The hosts toiled in the first half but in the second they really started to turn the screw.
Floro Flores had a volley turned around the post by Brkic but then let fly from distance, beating the goalkeeper only to see the ball crash back off the upright and Di Natale miss the target with an open goal on the follow-up.
But Di Natale made no mistake on 64 minutes when released by a raking high ball from Pablo Armero, cutting inside a covering defender and finishing with the outside of his right foot.
Siena gave themselves a lifeline 13 minutes from time when Francesco Bolzoni caught Emanuele Calaio's cushioned header with a sweet half-volley.
Meanwhile, Lazio were made to wait until five minutes from time to snatch victory as German striker Miroslav Klose surged into the box and pulled the ball back for Libor Kozak.
His shot was blocked on the line but Giuseppe Sculli followed up to poke home from less than a yard out.
At the San Siro, Milan ran riot with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Gianluca Zambrotta getting on the scoresheet, alongside an own goal from the unfortunate Francesco Lodi.
The hosts were in total control early on as Ibrahimovic had a free-kick charged down and Thiago Silva's header went just wide.
But they went ahead after Davide Lanzafame was, perhaps harshly, adjudged to have brought down Robinho in the box.
Ibrahimovic's seventh minute penalty just about squeezed under goalkeeper Mariano Andujar.
Catania were then unlucky not to have a penalty of their own when Lanzafame's cross hit Zambrotta's hand in the area, but nothing was given.
The champions doubled their advantage on 24 minutes when Ibrahimovic sent Robinho scampering down the left, the Brazilian cutting inside Giuseppe Bellusci, who slipped, and then curling the ball around Andujar.
It could have been worse for Catania but Andujar stood up tall to block Clarence Seedorf when the Dutch veteran was through one-on-one.
The killer third came on 69 minutes as Robinho was played in by Ibrahimovic and although Andujar got a touch on the Brazilian's shot to slow it down, the back-tracking Lodi bundled the ball against the post and back off his thighs and in.
Three minutes later Andujar couldn't hold Alberto Aquilani's free-kick and Zambrotta fired home the follow-up.
Winless Cesena remain rock bottom after new coach Daniele Arrigoni began his reign since replacing the sacked Marco Giampaolo with a 1-0 defeat at home to Lecce.