Record-setting Roma restore five-point cushion
League leaders Roma beat Udinese 1-0 away on Sunday to set a new all-time record of nine consecutive wins at the start of a Serie A season and restore their five-point cushion.
Roma, who have conceded just one goal in their nine wins under French coach Rudi Garcia, were reduced to 10 men in the second half after Brazilian Maicon saw red for a second bookable offence.
However the setback failed to shake the leaders, who virtually sealed the points when American Michael Bradley scored with a precise first-time shot in the 82nd minute.
Udinese were unlucky to see one goalbound shot cleared off the line in the first half and coach Francesco Guidolin said: "Roma are a great side, they showed that when they were reduced to 10 men, but in the first half they rode their luck a little."
Garcia said if there was good fortune, Roma had created it themselves.
"You make your own luck," Garcia told Sky Sport Italia. "Especially when you give everything, week in week out."
Defending champions Juventus had set a record of nine successive wins at the start of the 2005-2006 campaign, although that feat no longer stands after the Turin giants were stripped of that season's crown, as well as the previous year's, due to their role in the 'Calciopoli' match-fixing scandal.
Title challengers Napoli had piled the pressure on Garcia's side before what was always going to be a tough away trip to Udinese by dominating Torino 2-0 at the San Paolo.
And for much of what was a balanced encounter, Roma finally looked as if they would fail to take all three points for the first time in the league this season.
Both sides saw several chances go amiss but Udinese were denied a near certain opener on 38 minutes when Leandro Castan peformed heroics, his overhead kick on the goalline keeping out Gabriel Silva's goalbound effort.
Eight minutes after the restart Maicon's drive from 15 metres sailed just over the Udinese crossbar, but 13 minutes later he marched off after an unnecessary foul on Emmanuel Badu in midfield.
Roma, to their credit, kept their calm and Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman held up play at the edge of the area before squaring for Bradley to beat Kevala with a coolly-taken first-timer.
Roma now lead Napoli by five points with Juventus remaining in third, also five points adrift, after a 2-0 home win over Genoa.
Arturo Vidal, who had hit the crossbar with an angled drive early in the first half, opened the scoring with a 23rd minute penalty, although Juve midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah appeared to have been fouled outside the box.
Asamoah was pivotal in Juve's second, his dribbling on the left mesmerising the Genoa defence before Tevez collected his pass, feinted past one defender and beat Mattia Perrin in the visitors' net.
Juve coach Antonio Conte was pleased with his side's performance, especially the emerging pairing of Tevez and Spain international Fernando Llorente: "I liked what I saw from Tevez and Llorente, they are beginning to play well together."
Days after an impressive performance which earned a 1-1 draw at home to Champions League group opponents Barcelona, AC Milan dropped precious points in a 3-2 defeat at Parma.
Parma stunned Massimiliano Allegri's side when Marco Parolo grabbed his second in the fourth minute of injury time to send his side up to seventh in the table.
In Sunday's late match Miroslav Klose scored with a header shortly after the restart and Antonio Candreva added a second from the spot for Lazio two minutes later to seal a 2-0 win at home to Cagliari.
It ended a sorry run of results for Vladimir Petkovic's side, whose fourth win moved then up to seventh albeit 13 points adrift of city rivals Roma.