Roma were forced to come from behind to earn an impressive 3-1 win over Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico, to keep them top of the Serie A table.

The result gave Roma 42 points – a new half-season record in Serie A.

Fabio Bazzani gave the visitors the lead after just five minutes only for John Carew to head home the equaliser moments later. A second half brace from captain Francesco Totti put Roma firmly in charge until keeper Carlo Zotti brought down Francesco Flachi in the area for a penalty. The Sampdoria striker picked himself up to take the spot kick only for Zotti to pull off a fine save.

A bad day then got worse for the away team when substitute Morris Carrozzieri was shown a red card for pulling back Totti four minutes into stoppage time.

Alessandro Del Piero bagged a hat-trick as Juventus remain three points adrift of the leaders with a 4-2 win over Siena at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

Frenchman David Trezeguet got the other one while Nicola Ventola scored twice for the visitors.

Milan kept themselves in the hunt for the title beating Brescia 1-0 away from home to stay level on points with Juve. An 81st minute header from defender Giuseppe Pancaro enough to take the three points.

Meanwhile local rivals Inter fell further behind with a 1-0 defeat away at strugglers Empoli.

Veteran striker Guiseppe Signori scored the opening goal to help Bologna to a 3-1home win over Chievo.

Lowly Ancona and Perugia fought out a goalless draw, the home side earning just their fifth point of the season. That allowed Lecce to move above Perugia after they took all the points away at 10-man Reggina.

Goals from Valeri Boijinov and Javier Chevanton in the opening 3 minutes gave the visitors a dream start before Francesco Cozza pulled one back. Boijinov grabbed his second to secure the win following the sending off of Reggina’s Andrea Sottil.