(CNN) -- AS Roma set a new Serie A record with their ninth straight win from the start of the season after a 1-0 victory at Udinese Sunday.
United States international Michael Bradley made the vital breakthrough for the Italian league leaders with just eight minutes remaining.
Bradley, rapidly winning over the Roma faithful, scored with a first time shot to lift them to 27 points after nine games, five points clear of Napoli and two-time defending champions Juventus.
Their win was secured after playing with 10 men for much of the second half after Brazilian Maicon saw red for a second bookable offense.
Home coach Francesco Guidolin conceded: "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," he told AFP.
Juventus held the previous record of eight straight wins in 1930-31 and 1985-86. They also won nine straight at the start of the 2005-06 season but the Bianconeri were stripped of the title and the record due to the matchfixing scandal which engulfed Italian football.
Juve and Napoli kept pace with respective 2-0 home win over Genoa and Torino.
Arturo Vidal from the penalty spot and Carlos Teves scored for Juve, while a pair of Gonzalo Higuain penalties gave Napoli three points.
AC Milan were impressive in midweek with a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Champions League, but lost further ground in the domestic title race by losing 3-2 at Parma.
In the English Premier League, Fernando Torres provided a late twist as Chelsea beat fellow title contenders Manchester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
With time nearly up Torres chased down substitute Willian's hopeful through ball only to be presented with his chance as Matija Nastasic headed the ball over onrushing City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Torres, guilty earlier of a shocking miss before brilliantly setting up Andre Schurrle for Chelsea's opener, gratefully accepted to score from close range.
It was tough on City, who equalized in the second half through Sergio Aguero and had chances of their own to claim the three points.
It lifted Jose Mourinho's men to second place in the standings, two points adrift of Arsenal.
"I think we beat maybe the best team in the Premier League," Mourinho admitted after an enthralling match, full of quality.
In other games, Roberto Soldado scored a late penalty for Tottenham Hotspur in a 1-0 win over Hull City which lifted them to fourth place, while Sunderland moved off the bottom with a 2-1 derby victory over Newcastle.
Fabio Borini gave Gus Poyet's men a lifeline with a stunning late strike to claim three points. Swansea and West Ham drew 0-0 in the other match Sunday.