Gabriel Torje wiped out a Fabrizio Miccoli strike for Udinese’s 1-1 draw in Sicily, but Palermo were furious with the referee.
The Sicilians wanted to avenge last season’s 7-0 home defeat, while Bortolo Mutti felt the pressure after one point from four games. He was without the banned Nicolas Bertolo and Ezequiel Munoz plus injured Matias Silvestre and Armin Bacinovic, but Fabrizio Miccoli returned from suspension.
Udinese trio Antonio Floro Flores, Diego Fabbrini and Maurizio Domizzi sat out bans with the injured Emmanuel Badu, Mehdi Benatia, Paulo Vitor Barreto, Damiano Ferronetti and Mauricio Isla. Dusan Basta passed a fitness test to start after a month out.
Miccoli almost opened the scoring after nine minutes with one of his trademark curling free kicks, but Samir Handanovic flew to palm it out of the near top corner.
At the other end, Antonio Di Natale was allowed to turn, but the shot was too close to Emiliano Viviano in the pouring rain. The Udinese veteran also volleyed well over from an implausible angle.
It was Palermo who took the lead with Miccoli, who sprung the offside trap down the left and smashed a precise angled drive across Handanovic into the far bottom corner of the net.
Di Natale ran on to a Kwadwo Asamoah through ball, but didn’t get enough power as he spun round, so Viviano was able to save.
Palermo had penalty appeals when a Miccoli free kick was charged down by Abdi’s arm in the wall, but the referee waved play on. Miccoli had another chance on the counter, but fired well wide from the edge of the box.
Just before half-time Miccoli threatened with a splendid volley practically from the by-line that flashed across the face of goal, but Abel Hernandez was a fraction too late to tap into an empty net. It was almost 1-1 in first half stoppages, but Asamoah rolled across for Abdi's daisy-cutter to skim the upright.
Francesco Guidolin made a double change for the second half, introducing Pablo Armero and Roberto Pereyra. Di Natale managed to turn his defender, but fired wide and Asamoah knocked down the ball for Armero’s fierce shot on the volley.
Joel Ekstrand risked a second yellow card for handball, but was given a final warning by the referee. Danilo had to nod a Miccoli free kick out for a corner before Giulio Migliaccio could pounce at the back post.
Udinese were far livelier in this second half and Di Natale flicked up an inspired pass over the defence, but Asamoah scuffed his volley when losing his footing.
Miccoli and Abdi both had shots off target, while Abdi ran on to a Gabriel Torje ball over the top only to be charged down for a corner. Udinese began piling on the pressure and a Di Natale volley into the ground whistled wide. A central Di Natale free kick was easily captured by Viviano.
There was immense controversy on 80 minutes, as Josip Ilicic went down on the edge of the box after Ekstrand tugged his shirt, but the referee instead booked the Palermo man for simulation. It would’ve been a second booking for Ekstrand if his foul had been spotted.
Di Natale sprung the offside trap from a smart ball over the top and trapped it for an angled drive that dribbled inches past the far post of an open goal.
At the other end of a frenetic finale to the match, Miccoli flashed a cross-shot along the six-yard box and Ilicic was just too late to get the tap-in.
Udinese did get their equaliser with substitute Torje’s second goal of the season. The Romanian took advantage of Andrea Mantovani’s error, then was left in acres of space when combining with Pereyra and smashed the angled strike into the far bottom corner past a helpless Viviano.