Napoli's Champions League chances were dealt a potentially mortal blow when they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Bologna in Serie A on Sunday while Udinese took advantage as they beat nine-man Genoa.
Lazio stayed in the hunt by winning 2-0 at Atalanta and Fabrizio Miccoli scored a hat-trick as Palermo were held 4-4 at home by Chievo in a match during which both sides squandered two-goal leads.
With one match each to play, Udinese moved into third place, which would earn them a place in the final round of the
Champions League qualifying competition, with 61 points from 37 games, one ahead of Lazio and three ahead of Napoli.
Napoli dominated their game and, after they hit the woodwork three times, their frustration boiled over in the last minute as the two teams became involved in a brawl.
Most players were involved and red cards were shown to Bologna's Archimede Morleo and Napoli's Blerim Dzemaili.
Paolo Cannovaro and Edison Cavani both hit the crossbar for Napoli in the first half, the Uruguayan also missing another gilt-edged chance when he shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Alessandro Diamanti took advantage by scoring in the 17th minute with Bologna's first attack.
In the second half Matteo Rubin finished off a counter-attack for Bologna's second just after the hour while Napoli's Ezequiel Lavezzi hit the post with a free-kick.
Antonio Di Natale and Antonio Floro Flores scored in each half for Udinese against opponents who had Juraj Kucka and Rodrigo Palacio sent off before halftime.
Kucka was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 30th minute and Di Natale floated in the resulting free-kick
from the edge of the area, his 22nd goal Serie A goal of the seasons.
Palacio was sent off for dissent seven minutes before the break.
Libor Kozan and Lorik Cana gave Lazio the points at Atalanta, who had Guglielmo Stendardo sent off late in the game
for ironically applauding referee who had upset the hosts early on by refusing a German Denis penalty appeal.
Leaders Juventus (78 points) are away to Cagliari later on Sunday (1845) with second-placed AC Milan (77) involved in the derby against Inter.
Miccoli scored twice for Palermo in the opening 20 minutes but Sergio Pellisier and Fernando Uribe brought Chievo level before halftime. Luciano and Pellisier put them 4-2 ahead before Miccoli and Matias Silvestre gave the Sicilians a draw.
Marco Rigoni scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, to give Novara a 3-0 win over Cesena in a meeting of two teams who have already been relegated.