Udinese rode their luck in the first half, but rallied behind Antonio Di Natale to crush Chievo 3-0.
The Friulani were having a Jekyll and Hyde 2014, beating Inter, Milan and Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia along with four consecutive Serie A defeats. They interrupted that streak with last week’s 2-0 win at Bologna, but this was still a battle to stay away from the relegation zone. Chievo were without a victory in seven, scoring only four goals in that period.
Algerian international Hassan Yebda made his debut in the Udinese midfield. An Andrea Lazzari pile-driver was not far off target, then Bostjan Cesar crucially intercepted an inspired Antonio Di Natale volleyed pass for Lazzari.
Zeljko Brkic was still not 100 per cent fit, so 17-year-old Simone Scuffet was in goal and smothered a long-range Adrian Stoian snapshot. Emmanuel Badu just failed to get his head to a Gabriel Silva cross.
Chievo had the best chance of the game so far on 30 minutes when Cyril Thereau’s back-heel flick thumped the base of the upright from a yard on Simone Bentivoglio’s cross.
Di Natale perhaps didn’t realise he was onside and the chip was straight into the goalkeeper’s arms. The veteran then saw his free kick clip the defensive wall.
Udinese finally broke through after the restart, as Di Natale trapped a bouncing Dusan Basta pass and kept the ball low on the half-volley to fly across Christian Puggioni into the far bottom corner.
Di Natale also had a hand in the second goal. His backheel flick sent Roberto Pereyra down the left and pulled across from the by-line for substitute Bruno Fernandes to tap in at the back post.
Chievo welcomed Victor Obinna back to the club after his spells in England, Spain and Russia.
Udinese put the final nail in the Chievo coffin with Badu, who drilled home after Luis Muriel had combined with Bruno Fernandes.