|Inter's woes continue as Parma score their first goal [GALLO/GETTY]
Serie A leaders AC Milan took another confident step towards the Italian title with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria on Saturday in Italy's top flight league.
Clarence Seedorf led the way for AC Milan and striker Antonio Cassano and Robinho sealed the win.
It was a miserable day however for defending champions and rivals Inter Milan who, after a midweek loss to German side Schalke knocked them out of the European Champions League, lost to lowly Parma 2-0.
Inter now find themselves eight points adrift of Milan with only five games left to play and their hopes of a sixth straight domestic title are all but over.
Sixth-placed AS Roma, taken over by a US consortium on Friday, suffered a late 3-2 home defeat by Palermo to dent their Champions League chances.
If Milan can hold on to the top spot they will lift their first crown since 2004.
Milan were in the driving seat once Seedorf fired them into a 20th-minute lead from a free-kick, banishing any doubts about the effect of the absence of Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is suspended for three matches for swearing at a linesman.
Milan also had to overcome further challenges as goalkeeper Christian Abbiati went off injured on 19 minutes, Marco Amelia coming on in his place.
Then forward Alexandre Pato also had to leave the fray, with Cassano coming on. The latter promptly netted from the spot nine minutes after the break after a handball by Daniele Gastaldello following a Mario Yepes header.
Cassano was also at the heart of the build-up for Robinho's headed third on the hour.
Inter twice went close to scoring early on through Dejan Stankovic. First, he hit the bar with a long-range free kick, then he drew an acrobatic save from Parma keeper Antonio Mirante.
From then on though, Inter lacked inspiration and appeared fatigued by their recent efforts in the Champions League.
Giovinco put Parma ahead when he swept home Francesco Modesto's pull back.
With five minutes to go Amauri was left unmarked in the box to add the second.
The treble-winning era of Jose Mourinho now seems a long time in the past as the side now coached by former Milan coach Leonardo limply went down at Parma in the absence of the dropped Maicon and Thiago Motta.
All that can save Inter now is to rescue a crumb of comfort via the Coppa Italia. They have a semi-final first leg on Tuesday against Roma.
"We have five games to go and 15 points to play for,'' Leonardo said.
"Eight points is a lot to get back, but it is still our objective and we have to worry about how we are playing.''
Palermo striker Abel Hernandez scored twice in the last six minutes to give his side a 3-2 win at Roma.
Roma took the lead through a penalty kick from Francesco Totti, and Mauricio Pinilla equalised from the spot before the interval.
Jeremy Menez and Mirko Vucinic wasted chances that would have wrapped the game up for Roma.
After Hernandez's brace, Vucinic hit his ninth goal of the season before Palermo came close to adding a fourth goal through a fierce shot from Javier Pastore.