Antonio Di Natale and Nico Lopez revived Udinese’s fortunes with a 2-0 victory away to Bologna.
This was a surprise relegation dogfight, as only two points separated the teams going into this weekend and they were both hovering above the drop zone. Bologna were still unbeaten under Davide Ballardini, earning three draws, but the Friulani had lost their last four Serie A games.
There was a last-minute change, as Zeljko Brkic pulled out in the warm-up to give 17-year-old Simone Scuffet his Serie A debut in goal.
Antonio Di Natale rolled across from the left for Emmanuel Badu to come sliding in, but Archimede Morleo was decisive in his challenge to block from nine yards.
The referee pointed to the spot for a very soft penalty, as Andrea Lazzari had his back to goal just inside the box when he tried to chest down a ball and was nudged from behind by Michele Pazienza. Di Natale stepped up and fired hard into the near bottom corner, despite Gianluca Curci guessing the right angle.
Di Natale had broken away from defenders and was pulling the trigger when Antonsson flung himself at the veteran’s feet to block for a corner.
Alessandro Diamanti tried to surprise newcomer Scuffet with a dipping free kick, then another of his set-piece specials wreaked havoc in the box with Niccolo’ Cherubin knocking it down for Gyorgy Garcis to volley off target.
Cesare Natali ballooned over the bar from a promising position before half-time and another Diamanti free kick curled inches past the woodwork.
Bologna poured forward in the second half and a ricochet went wide off Kone, then Diamanti’s scorching strike was deflected for another corner as Udinese were pinned back.
Davide Moscardelli came off the bench and his piledriver skimmed the near post, but it should’ve been 2-0 on 75 minutes. Nico Lopez went on the counter-attack and fired straight at Gianluca Curci rather than passing to Di Natale and by the time it reached the legendary striker his angle was too narrow.
Bologna were furious at the 85th minute, as Moscardelli’s shirt was tugged by Dusan Basta to stop him getting on the end of the corner, but the referee waved play on.
Udinese put the result beyond doubt in stoppages with a classic counter-attack. Maicosuel rolled across for Nico Lopez, who only had to side-foot it past Curci.