Irrepressible striker Antonio Di Natale, Serie A's leading scorer in the last two seasons, scored twice to help Udinese to a 4-1 win over struggling Cesena on Sunday.
The 34-year-old's brace made him joint top scorer this term with 12 goals, alongside Atalanta's German Denis and one ahead of AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Udinese's eighth win in nine home games took them to 35 points, one ahead of AC Milan and Juventus who began the weekend level at the top of Serie A and were playing later on Sunday.
Milan are at Atalanta and Juventus, still unbeaten, visit Lecce (both 1400 GMT)
Di Natale opened his account after only 48 seconds when he slid the ball home after Antonio Floro Flores sprang the offside trap and broke down the right.
Although Udinese were dominant, Brazilian forward Eder equalised for Cesena out of the blue in the 39th minute and it took a blunder from their goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli to put the hosts back in front.
The hapless Antonioli allowed Kwadwo Asamoah's low, swerving shot to slip under him in the 54th minute in what proved to be the game's turning point.
Cesena had Maurizio Lauro sent off on the hour for a second bookable offence, then Dusan Basta scored with a long-range drive before Di Natale added a superb fourth with a shot on the turn in the 82nd minute.