Inter Milan was surprisingly held to a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Sampdoria on Monday but consolidated the second spot in Serie A.
The Nerazzurri moved three points above Atalanta, Roma and AC Milan in a tight battle for the Champions League spots but saw its faint title hopes diminish further.
The result left Inter 15 points behind runaway leader Napoli, which looks set for its first Serie A crown since 1990.
Inter had the best of the opportunities at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and could be made to rue several wayward shots.
Francesco Acerbi went closest in stoppage time but saw Samp goalkeeper Emilio Audero push the ball onto the crossbar.
Hakan Çalhanoğlu had also almost snatched all three points for Inter seven minutes from time, but he curled an effort inches wide of the upright.
Sampdoria, which had lost five of its last six matches, remained second from last in the standings but inched to within eight points of safety.
Hellas Verona, which was also in the bottom three, continued to give itself hope of avoiding the drop as it beat fellow struggler Salernitana 1-0.
Cyril Ngonge, who joined last month, netted his second goal in as many starts as Verona extended its unbeaten run to four matches and moved to within two points of safety.
Salernitana is four points above the relegation zone.
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