Antonio Di Natale bagged a brace – one a magnificent volley, the other a shocking howler from the goalkeeper – as Udinese pushed past Chievo.
Francesco Guidolin and Eugenio Corini worked together at Palermo, but were now on opposite benches at the Stadio Friuli. Giampiero Pinzi was injured for the home side, but Chievo arrived with Marco Andreolli, Dario Dainelli, Isaac Cofie and Boukary Drame all suspended. Sergio Pellissier returned to the starting XI.
Udinese started more aggressively and Roberto Pereyra had the first shot on goal, then Cristian Puggioni got down well to push a fierce Allan strike round the base of the post.
Antonio Di Natale broke the deadlock when he pounced on an absolute howler from Puggioni. The goalkeeper was standing alone in his penalty area and tried some fancy footwork to take it away from the on-rushing striker, but missed the ball completely. It was child’s play for Di Natale to walk it into the empty net. Di Natale showed off a T-Shirt celebrating singer Franco Califano, who died last week.
There was nothing Puggioni could do about the second, as Di Natale hit an absolutely sensational left-foot volley from a tight angle that flashed across the goalkeeper into the far top corner. It was quite similar to the one Francesco Totti netted against Sampdoria.
Chievo got one back with a bizarre goal, as a free kick was whipped into the box, Paul Papp’s header hit the woodwork and Rigoni managed to put the rebound back in for Papp to finish it off. It was Papp’s debut Serie A goal.
Sergio Pellissier had a great chance to complete the comeback when he sprung the offside trap, but fired straight at a grateful Zeljko Brkic after a smart first touch.
Puggioni kept out Andrea Lazzari’s long-range screamer by flying to fingertip it out from under the crossbar.
Cyril Thereau’s free kick was charged down and Di Natale missed a hat-trick when his chip was just a little too high from Luis Muriel’s assist.
Brkic flew to beat away a Thereau snapshot from distance, but Udinese put the result under lock and key in the final minutes.
Di Natale sprung the offside trap down the right and chipped a perfect pass to the back post for Mehdi Benatia’s volley from point-blank range.