Udinese were forced to fight hard for this slender victory over Chievo, their seventh consecutive home win.
The Friulani had a 100 per cent home record, but also a list of absentees including Maurizio Domizzi, Andrea Coda, Paulo Vitor Barreto and banned duo Damiano Ferronetti and Gianpiero Pinzi. Chievo’s only injury case was Rigoni, but they had a strong start with Sergio Pellissier’s header drifting just off target.
Mauricio Isla sprung the offside trap from Antonio Di Natale’s through ball, but his assist was inaccurate.
Luciano wasted a golden opportunity when he was totally unmarked from eight yards, but scuffed the volley wide from Paolo Sammarco’s cross.
Kwadwo Asamoah flashed an angled drive across the face of goal after a rapid Udinese counter-attack.
Pellissier was booked before the break for simulation, as he fell under a Mehdi Benatia challenge, but the replays suggest there may well have been some contact between their knees.
Stefano Sorrentino fingertipped a Benatia screamer out from under the bar and the resulting corner saw Michael Bradley charge down Di Natale’s attempt.
After the restart Isla sprung the offside trap on an Antonio Floro Flores through ball and Sorrentino fingertipped his shot into the path of Di Natale six yards in front of an open goal, but Drame’ came sliding in for a decisive tackle to prevent the tap-in.
Di Natale had another sensational scoring opportunity moments later with an audacious backheel flick, but Nicolas Frey performed a desperate goalline clearance from point-blank range.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 67 minutes after a siege on the Chievo goal. Cross and counter-cross finally found the net thanks to Di Natale’s looping header from an Isla assist.
Udinese doubled their tally with Dusan Basta’s brave diving header from a corner, but he didn’t have time to celebrate, as he immediately needed medication for a cut to his face from Drame’s studs.
Chievo got themselves back into the game, as Alberto Paloschi came off the bench and his finish from the edge of the area looped over a helpless Samir Handanovic into the top corner of the net.
Udinese threatened a third, as Pablo Armero got to the by-line and pulled across for Di Natale, but Cesar cleared off the line. On the other end, Davide Moscardelli’s looping header beat Handanovic to land on the roof of the net.