Bottom of the table Novara welcomed back Coach Attilio Tesser with a surprise victory over fourth-placed Udinese.
Novara welcomed back Tesser after just six games under Emiliano Mondonico. The tactician had to do without the suspended Andrea Caracciolo, plus injured Francesco Marianini and Carlalberto Ludi.
The Friulani are starting to feel the strain, dropping points, falling behind Lazio to fourth place and suffering a 2-0 Europa League defeat to AZ Alkmaar on Thursday evening. Dusan Basta, Emmanuel Badu, Damiano Ferronetti and Mauricio Isla were on the treatment table.
Novara had the first chance when Giuseppe Mascara ran on to a searching Simone Pesce pass, but the right-foot volley was off target when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
The home side threatened again moments later, as Samir Handanovic performed a stunning save to deny Marco Rigoni’s curler, then scrambled on to Maurizio Domizzi’s deflection.
Novara were dominating early on and took a thoroughly deserved lead on 16 minutes. A corner was whipped across the face of goal for a precise flicked Jeda header at the near post that went past everyone to slot into the far bottom corner.
There was a sore moment for Massimo Paci, who clattered stomach-first into the roof of the dug-out, but was able to continue.
Gabriel Torje’s deflected effort off Garcia was smothered and the same fate befell Kwadwo Asamoah’s snapshot. No deflection for Giampiero Pinzi, but his attempt was too central to trouble Samir Ujkani.
Rigoni dribbled past two men at the by-line only to have his finish deflected on to the base of the upright from the tightest of angles. However, from that corner Udinese went on the counter and Pablo Armero’s shot whistled over the bar.
Francesco Guidolin made two changes at the break, introducing Antonio Floro Flores and Michele Pazienza. Di Natale’s free kick hit the wall and later on the captain had penalty appeals, but seemed to fall too easily under pressure from Paci.
A Di Natale glancing header was well wide and Mehdi Benatia’s strike was smothered.
Udinese did have the ball in the net on 70 minutes when a set piece was nodded down, the shot parried and Danilo eventually tapped in from a yard, but the offside flag had been raised. It was a very complex and fast-paced move, so an extremely difficult decision.
Nobody was able to get the final touch to a Di Natale cross. Paulo Vitor Barreto came off the bench and immediately had a fantastic overhead kick that Garcia bravely charged down with his face. Di Natale had more penalty appeals when Santiago Garcia put a hand on his back, but there did not seem to be enough contact to knock him down.