Gianfranca Zola's Serie A coaching career got off to a miserable start when his Cagliari side were thumped 5-0 at Palermo on Tuesday.
Germany forward Mario Gomez missed a penalty and Fiorentina had two men sent off in a 1-0 defeat at bottom club Parma while a spectacular goal by Simone Zaza, who met a corner with a full-blooded volley, gave Sassuolo a shock 2-1 win at AC Milan.
AS Roma kept up their title challenge with a 1-0 win at Udinese, although the hosts claimed that Davide Astori's header never crossed the line after it bounced down off the crossbar.
Zola, who replaced Zdenen Zeman after an eight-match winless run, barely had time to settle into his seat before Michel Morganella and Ezequiel Munoz put the Sicilians 2-0 ahead.
Cagliari then had Daniele Conti sent off for a second bookable offence in the 26th minute before Paulo Dybala made it 3-0 with a penalty just after the half hour.
Dybala and Edgar Barreto completed the rout after halftime, leaving Cagliari (12 points) firmly entrenched in the relegation zone. Palermo (25 points) are joint eighth with Milan.
Andrea Costa gave Parma an early lead with a close-range header before Gomez, plagued by injury since his move to Fiorentina, saw a weak penalty saved by Antonio Mirante in the 33rd minute.
The visitors had Gonzalo Rodriguez and Stefan Savic sent off in the last 15 minutes.
Earlier, AS Roma boosted their Serie A title challenge with a 1-0 win at Udinese on Tuesday amid controversy over whether Davide Astori's header had crossed the line for the game's only goal.
Astori's header from a Francesco Totti free kick bounced down off the underside of the crossbar and into the arms of Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezas in the 17th minute.
Referee Marco Guida initially appeared to wave play on but then seemed to change his mind and awarded the goal amid angry Udinese protests.
Goal-line technology is not used in Serie A, although the Italian league employs additional assistant referees, a system pioneered by UEFA featuring an extra official on each goal line.
Television replays were inconclusive because of a goal post obstructing the view of the ball.
There was more controversy in the second half when Panagiotis Kone appeared to be bundled over by Urby Emanuelson but the home team's appeals for a penalty were turned down.
The win drew Roma level on 39 points with Serie A leaders Juventus, who host Inter Milan later on Tuesday (2000 GMT).
Image: AS Roma players celebrate victory after defeating Udinese Calcio in their Serie A match at Stadio Friuli in Udine on Tuesday
Photograph: Dino Panato/Getty Images