Serie A review: Roma held, Sassuolo rampant
Rudi Garcia's side were looking to bounce back from their humiliating 7-1 UEFA Champions League defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich but were unable to breakdown a stubborn Sampdoria, for whom goalkeeper Sergio Romero impressed.
Former Arsenal forward Gervinho came closest to breaking the deadlock for Roma when he rounded the Argentina international but struck the bottom of the post from an acute angle.
Juventus will establish a three-point lead over Roma if they win at home to lowly Palermo on Sunday.
Sassuolo secured a 3-1 derby victory over bottom club Parma - their first three-point haul of the season.
Sergio Floccari headed the visitors into a 20th-minute lead and Francesco Acerbi touched home from a free-kick to double the advantage four minutes later.
Saphir Taider struck the post with a free-kick on the stroke of half time but the same player blasted emphatically into the top corner to put Sassuolo 3-0 ahead, rendering Antonio Cassano's opportunist strike a consolation.
Cagliari were similarly emphatic winners, leapfrogging Empoli with a 4-0 win - all the goals in their second win of the season coming in a frantic 16-minute period at the end of the first half.
Marco Sau scored the equaliser as Cagliari battled back from 2-0 down to claim a point against Sampdoria last week and he curled home a 31st minute opener before Danilo Avelar netted via the underside of the crossbar and the penalty spot in the space of three minutes.
Albin Ekdal won the spot-kick and completed Empoli's misery with a solo effort in first-half stoppage time.