Inter scored twice early on to bag a precious 3-0 victory at the Stadio Friuli, Udinese’s second consecutive home defeat.
The Friulani had been unbeaten in 22 Serie A home games before last week’s defeat to Roma, so were eager to get back on track. Dusan Basta, Maicosuel and the suspended Giampiero Pinzi missed out, but Luis Muriel supported Antonio Di Natale. Inter were without Mauro Icardi, Diego Milito, Hugo Campagnaro, Cristian Chivu and the banned Ishak Belfodil, but Javier Zanetti was back on the bench for the first time since rupturing his Achilles tendon in April.
Fredy Guarin was used in a new more advanced role, moving Ricky Alvarez deeper in place of Mateo Kovacic.
Rodrigo Palacio ran on to an Alvarez through ball, but Naldo stuck with him like glue and the sliding tackle to block was crucial.
Esteban Cambiasso won back possession in midfield and immediately released a strike that Zeljko Brkic had to flap out from under the bar. Yuto Nagatomo should’ve scored, but fired wide from six yards after combining with Jonathan.
The pressure eventually paid off, as a free kick was curled in by Saphir Taider for Rodrigo Palacio’s precise header.
Udinese were all at sea and Brkic completely misjudged a Cambiasso corner, so Andrea Ranocchia was ready to volley in at the back post. The goalkeeper clattered into Guarin during that move and left the Colombian dazed. Ranocchia was also the first Italian to score for Inter this season.
The Friulani finally made an impact with Emmanuel Badu skipping past Walter Samuel, but the defence was able to scramble clear before Antonio Di Natale could turn in.
Luis Muriel should’ve scored on another Samuel error, a dreadful clearance, but his ball across the six-yard box was neither a shot nor an assist for Di Natale. Samuel picked up an injury in that move and asked to be replaced.
Straight after the restart Handanovic flew to palm away a dangerous strike from his former teammate Di Natale, as it was flying towards the far top corner. More bad news for Udinese, as they lost captain Di Natale to injury.
Palacio came sliding in and Brkic got enough on to the cross to turn it away from La Trenza. Guarin went even closer, as his fierce strike cracked against the base of the upright.
It wasn’t all good news for Inter, as they were forced into another substitution for Ranocchia’s injury.
Nonetheless, they got a third goal in stoppages when Palacio sprung the offside trap and rolled across for the totally unmarked Alvarez to fire into an empty net.