Rome: Inter Milan beat Chievo 2-0 at the San Siro on Saturday to bounce back from their horror week with three points in Serie A.
The champions moved temporarily at least up to second, closing the gap on leaders and city rivals AC Milan to just two points ahead of Sunday's games.
And it was the old guard of Esteban Cambiasso and Maicon who proved decisive as the nerazzurri showed they could still have a say in the scudetto chase.
From before kick-off the pressure was on Inter, and in particular coach Leonardo, following the 3-0 defeat to AC Milan and a 5-2 humiliation at home to Schalke 04 in the past seven days that had seemingly left their season in tatters.
And Cambiasso was quick to remind everyone that Inter have earned more points than anyone else since the turn of the year, when they trailed Milan by 13 points.
"It was inconceivable in December to expect us to be where we are now and that's why we can't lose our heads after two defeats," he told SkySport.
And Leonardo even insisted that the club hadn't written off hopes of triumphing either in Serie A or Europe.
"We're thinking of everything, inside me I believe it's possible, I cannot not think it's possible," he said.
"I even believe that we can come back in the Champions League."
Leonardo sprang a surprise by leaving Wesley Sneijder, Diego Milito and Thaigo Motta on the bench but he could at least recall Lucio to the backline.
The hosts were soon pushing forward as Japan full-back Yuto Nagatomo got free down the left on 15 minutes and hit an inch-perfect cross into the box where Samuel Eto'o somehow failed to make contact.
A minute later and the other Inter full-back Maicon played in Giampaolo Pazzini behind the defence but he rushed his shot on the turn and dragged it wide of the far upright.
Chievo weren't just defending but Davide Moscardelli and Sergio Pellissier were both off target with decent chances.
Inter's chances were the clearer, though, and on 38 minutes Eto'o created half a yard of space with his pace but dragged his shot across the face of goal.
Leonardo realised he needed something extra and brought Sneijder on for Dejan Stankovic at half-time.
Pellissier gave Inter another warning soon after the restart when he headed over while Kevin Constant missed a sitter.
That, though, was when Inter struck from a half cleared corner as Lucio pulled the ball back to Maicon who crossed for Cambiasso to send a right-foot shot goalwards with a deflection off Marco Andreolli deceiving Stefano Sorrentino in goal.
Chievo should have been level 12 minutes from time as Bojan Jokic crossed for Pellissier but presented with an identical chance to Cambiasso's, the striker blazed over the bar.
Inter kept living dangerously as Fernando Uribe got behind the defence only to fire wide of the near post.
But Maicon made the points safe with the second six minutes from time with a poked finish after a scrappy goalmouth scramble.
In the late game Roma reignited their Champions League hopes with a crucial 2-1 victory at fourth-placed Udinese.
Francesco Totti scored both Roma goals, the third time in four games he's managed a brace, in a match that finished controversially.
Totti had given Roma the lead on 57 minutes from the spot after Giampiero Pinzi was adjudged to have brought down David Pizarro.
Serie A top scorer Antonio Di Natale equalised two minutes from time when he nipped in front of Juan to poke home.
Udinese looked to have won it when they netted deep into injury time but it was controversially disallowed for a handball by Kwadwo Asamoah, even though TV replays suggested he handled as a direct result of being fouled by Simone Perrotta.
Roma went straight up the other end and Totti prodded home Jon Arne Riise's cross with the last kick of the game.