Tenacious Torino held Roma to a 1-1 draw at home to stop the leaders’ all-time record of consecutive wins at the start of a Serie A season to 10 on Sunday.
Roma travelled to the Olympic Stadium with hopes of restoring their five-point lead over title rivals Napoli and Juventus, who closed the gap to two points with wins over Parma and Catania respectively on Saturday.
However, Alessio Cerci’s second half toe-poke was enough to secure a share of the spoils, and bring Torino some welcome headlines, when it levelled Kevin Strootman’s first-half opener for the visitors.
Roma, still unbeaten and having conceded only their second goal in 11 games, remain top on 31 points with a three-point lead on both Napoli and champions Juventus with Inter and Verona a further six points off the pace.
With Juventus hosting Napoli next weekend, Roma will be looking to capitalise on slip-ups by either side when they host newly-promoted Sassuolo.
Roma coach Rudi Garcia, meanwhile, had only praise for his players.
“I liked the fact that for the whole 90 minutes we went out and played to win,” said the Frenchman.
“Even when we were sitting level, we kept on pressing for the winner. But that’s football. You can’t always win, and away from home a 1-1 draw is not a negative result.”
Roma have become the team to watch so far this season following the appointment of Garcia, who is still without Ivorian striker Gervinho and captain Francesco Totti due to their respective injuries.
But while in with the chance of claiming an 11th consecutive win to match the best ever start to a season by any team, namely Tottenham in the 1960-61 season, in the top five European leagues, Torino had other ideas.
Dutch midfielder Strootman gave Roma a 28th-minute lead when he beat Daniele Padelli in the hosts’ goal with a curling left-foot strike.
However Torino launched wave after wave of attack, and their efforts finally paid off just after the hour when Cerci poked the ball into the net from close range after Riccardo Meggiorini had done well on the left to keep possession under pressure from Mehdi Benatia.
Earlier Sunday Lazio’s recent revival came to a grinding halt with a 2-0 defeat by Genoa at the Olympic Stadium, while Inter Milan put three unanswered goals past Udinese on a rain-hit trip north.
Vladimir Petkovic’s men looked to have put a recent slump behind them with a home win over Cagliari and a draw away to Milan in the past 10 days.
However the Biancocelesti paid the price for missing several chances in the first half when Juraj Kucka broke the deadlock on the hour and Alberto Gilardino doubled the visitors’ lead 12 minutes later from the spot.
Lazio’s fourth reverse left them in seventh, 16 points behind Roma and seven adrift of Verona.
“We failed to score so we can only compliment Genoa,” said a pragmatic Petkovic.
“If we had put even one of our chances away it would have changed the course of the match, but I can’t fault the lads’ effort.”
Inter, meanwhile, handed Udinese their second consecutive defeat at their notoriously difficult Friuli Stadium, which recently witnessed a 1-0 defeat by Roma.
Inter opened the scoring through Rodrigo Palacio in the 25th minute when the Argentine flashed a header past goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic from close range following Saphir Taider’s precision free kick.
Four minutes later Brkic dashed out of his goal in wild fashion to intercept a corner kick that was out of his reach and Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia volleyed the ball through traffic and into a virtually empty net.
“It’s the best I’ve seen Inter play all season, given who we were playing,” Inter coach Walter Mazzarri told Sky Sport Italia.
“We wanted to come to the Friuli stadium and impose our own game. That is something I always try to impress upon my players whether we’re playing home or away.”