Summary of the football matches played in the Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 on Sunday
Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain again showed his killer instinct with two expertly-taken goals in a late 3-1 win at Torino after their less illustrious neighbours had scored first and dominated the Serie A game on Sunday.
Substitute Miralem Pjanic scored the third goal as the Italian champions opened up a seven-point lead over AS Roma and AC Milan, who clash in the capital on Monday.
Napoli's Dries Mertens scored a hat-trick to lead the revitalised team to a 5-0 rout at leaky Cagliari, while bottom club Palermo slumped to their ninth league defeat in a row, losing 2-0 at home to Chievo.
Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic scored twice to earn a 2-0 win over Genoa, leaving Stefano Pioli's side in eighth place.
The Croatian midfielder volleyed the ball in from a corner seven minutes before halftime and tapped home the second after a surging run by Joao Mario midway through the second period.
Torino, a respectable seventh under Sinisa Mihajlovic, made a bright start at home to Juve and went ahead after 16 minutes when Andrea Belotti headed in Daniele Baselli's cross for his 11th goal of the season.
Juve were on the ropes but levelled 12 minutes later when Higuain collected Mario Mandzukic's flicked pass in his stride and burst through the defence to place his shot past Joe Hart.
Torino had the better of the second half and Adem Ljajic could have put them back in front but his shot clipped the far post.
Juventus, though, have made a habit of grinding out results and they did it again with two goals in the final 10 minutes.
A long ball forward found Higuain and, although the Argentine was closely marked, he turned past Antonio Barreca and fired an unstoppable shot past Hart for his ninth league goal of the season.
Paulo Dybala set up the third with a run down the touchline and Hart did well to save shots by Higuain and Pjanic before the Bosnia midfielder scored at the third attempt.
Napoli are fourth in the table with 31 points from 16 games while Cagliari are 14th but have shipped 37 goals, the worst defensive record in the league.
Surprise package Atalanta suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at home to Udinese while Bologna and Empoli played out a 0-0 draw.
Valter Birsa gave Chievo an early lead at Palermo and Sergio Pellissier wrapped up the points for the Flying Donkeys with his 100th Serie A goal early in the second half after he pounced on a dreadful back pass by Edoardo Goldaniga.
Naldo sent off in cruel Schalke defeat, Gladbach win
Schalke 04 had defender Naldo sent off after four minutes and then almost held out until the very end before falling to a cruel 1-0 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen after Stefan Kiessling's late winner in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
There was also drama in the day's other game where Mainz 05 had what appeared to be a perfectly good goal disallowed in the 88th minute of their 1-0 loss at Borussia Moenchengladbach, who led through Andreas Christensen's second-half goal.
Tenth-placed Schalke were quickly in trouble when Naldo tripped Javier Hernandez to deny the Mexican a clear run on goal and was dismissed for a professional foul, the seventh red card of the weekend in the German top flight.
Leverkusen's one-man advantage was barely noticeable for the next 85 minutes, however, as Schalke gave as good as they got.
Leverkusen were then awarded a free kick, Hakan Calhanolgu's pinpoint delivery found Kiessling unmarked and the veteran forward headed home an 89th minute winner.
The victory took Leverkusen up to eighth place with 20 points, three more than their opponents.
Gladbach ended an eight-match run without a win in all competitions since the end of September with victory over Mainz, although the frustrated home fans jeered them off at halftime.
The breakthrough came after 76 minutes when Lars Stindl's shot was deflected into Christensen's path and the defender stabbed the ball home.
Mainz thought they had equalised with two minutes left when Pablo de Blasis managed to prod the ball into the net as Yann Sommer tried to collect it but the effort was disallowed, apparently for a foul on the Gladbach goalkeeper
De Blasis ran along the goal-line celebrating wildly before realising that his effort had been disallowed.
Mainz then had Jean-Philippe Gbamin sent off for a second bookable offence in the last minute of the mid-table clash.
Nice back on top of Ligue 1 with 2-2 draw at PSG
Nice reclaimed top spot in Ligue 1 with a 2-2 draw at champions Paris St Germain on Sunday as the title race remained wide open almost halfway through the season.
Lucien Favre's Nice were 2-0 up at halftime with goals by Wylan Cyprien and Alassane Plea but Edinson Cavani struck twice as PSG avoided a first home league loss in almost nine months.
Nice have 40 points from 17 games and lead Monaco, who had a 4-0 win at Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday, by a point.
Third-placed PSG are four points off the pace.
Olympique Lyonnais are fourth on 28 points after Mathieu Valbuena's first-half strike gave them a 1-0 home win against Stade Rennes, who had Rami Bensebaini sent off late on.
PSG, whose previous Ligue 1 outing ended in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Montpellier, had the first big chance when Layvin Kurzawa struck a powerful 20-metre shot that was tipped away by Yoan Cardinale at the end of a sharp counter attack.
Nice were on the back foot as the hosts pressed high up the pitch, but there were no other clear opportunities for PSG.
Nice went ahead after 32 minutes when Cyprien curled a superb 25-metre free kick past Alphonse Areola - only the second league goal PSG had conceded at the Parc des Princes this season.
Five minutes before the break, Cavani beat the offside trap to collect a superb cross from Marco Verratti but the Uruguay striker fluffed his half-volley.
Plea doubled the Nice tally on the stroke of halftime when he benefited from a misunderstanding between centre backs Marquinhos and Thiago Silva and beat Areola from close range.
PSG pulled a goal back one minute into the second half, Cavani tapping in from Serge Aurier's pinpoint cross after yet another impressive rush down the flank by the Ivory Coast fullback.
Cavani then equalised on the hour, poking the ball home after Cardinale's save had bounced onto Dante and into the path of the PSG striker, who netted his 16th league goal this season.
With both coaches not wanting to settle for a draw, Nice's Italian striker Mario Balotelli came on for Plea while PSG's Hatem Ben Arfa took Verratti's place 15 minutes from time.
Cavani was close to giving the hosts victory in the closing stages but his attempt from Ben Arfa's cross went just wide.