Udinese fought back from a surprise early Roland Sallai goal to flatten Palermo 4-1 at the Dacia Arena.
It was an injury crisis all round at the Dacia Arena, as the hosts lost Seko Fofana, Lucas Evangelista, Dias Felipe and above all goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, so promising youngster Simone Scuffet got a rare start. Palermo had Bruno Henrique banned with Andrea Rispoli, Sinisa Andelkovic and Slobodan Rajkovic sidelined.
The Sicilians were hoping to trade on their surprisingly good record in Udine, unbeaten here since October 2011 with a draw and two consecutive victories. Gigi Del Neri faced one of his former clubs, but had only defeated Palermo once, drawing six and losing seven.
In the opening minute there were already penalty appeals for Palermo, as Ilija Nestorovski’s strike from 10 yards was deflected over the bar by Samir’s arm.
Samir was up the other end too, his cross-shot fingertipped over by Josip Posavec, and Jakub Jankto’s angled drive went wide.
However, it was Palermo who took the lead when Haitam Aleesami turned a defender and rolled across for Roland Sallai, who anticipated everyone by prodding in at full stretch. It was the young Hungarian striker’s debut Serie A strike.
Posavec was dropped last week, but returned to the starting XI and showed why with a great reaction save on Duvan Zapata’s volley from a Rodrigo De Paul free kick.
Michel Morganella’s ferocious volley whistled wide, as did an Alessandro Diamanti counter-attack, but Udinese got back on level terms with a Cyril Thereau daisy-cutter from distance that flew into the near bottom corner from distance.
Emmanuel Badu’s glancing header whistled just wide from a set play and it was a practice run, as a corner was knocked down for Duvan Zapata to prod in from a couple of yards, as the Colombian reacted quickest.
The third goal was somewhat chaotic, as Duvan Zapata turned his marker to pull across from the left, it went past Stipe Perica and De Paul’s first attempt was brilliantly parried by Posavec, but the goalkeeper could do nothing on De Paul’s follow-up.
Diamanti’s trademark free kick was fingertipped over the bar by Scuffet, but Udinese were denied a pretty clear penalty when Edoardo Goldaniga dragged Duvan Zapata back by the shoulder as he was going clear on goal.
Duvan Zapata was wreaking havoc in the penalty area and Diamanti rather harshly saw a straight red card for holding his elbow up on De Paul. It seemed as if he was trying to hold De Paul off rather than actively elbow him.
Palermo folded and conceded the fourth on an entirely avoidable counter-attack, losing possession in midfield. Posavec did what he could to deny Thomas Heurtaux’s header from close range, but Jakub Jankto was there to follow up.
Sent off: Diamanti 74 (P)