Danilo and Antonio Di Natale gave Udinese a much-needed 2-0 victory over Cagliari.
These teams went into the game locked together on seven points in mid-table. Luis Muriel was only fit for the bench with Maurizio Domizzi and Zeljko Brkic out, so Uruguay Under-20 starlet Nico Lopez had his first start in attack. The Sardinians held Inter to an impressive draw last week, but Albin Ekdal, Andrea Cossu and Francesco Pisano missed out with captain Daniele Conti suspended.
Cagliari have only conquered the Stadio Friuli once and famously lost here 6-2 in 2008.
Nicola Murru almost scored an extraordinary goal in the first minute, as his wayward cross-shot from the left floated over Ivan Kelava and thumped the top of the crossbar.
Ibraimi’s effort was deflected on to the roof of the net after a strong run from Victor Ibarbo, then Andrea Lazzari headed over against his former teammates.
Udinese eventually broke through on 33 minutes with defender Danilo. An Antonio Di Natale free kick was whipped in at the near post and knocked down by Thomas Heurtaux before Danilo volleyed in from point-blank range. Cagliari wanted an offside flag, but it was extremely close.
Di Natale made it 2-0 after the restart with a wonderful free kick, which curled over the wall and into the near top corner past a static Michael Agazzi.
Dusan Basta just failed to get on the end of a Di Natale cross, then the captain went on a classic counter-attack only to place his angled drive inches past the far post.
Mauricio Pinilla’s header drifted just wide from a corner, but Cagliari couldn’t find a way back in.