A Kwadwo Asamoah brace helped defeat plucky Parma in a rain-soaked Stadio Friuli to revive Udinese’s hopes of a Champions League spot.
The Friulani were rapidly running out of steam and failing to take advantage of Lazio and Napoli’s slip-ups in the race for third. Parma were fresh from a boost, ending their eight-match winless streak by beating Lazio 3-1 and hoped to cause another upset at the Friuli.
Francesco Guidolin had to do without Antonio Floro Flores, Diego Fabbrini, Emmanuel Badu, Damiano Ferronetti, Dusan Basta, Cristian Battocchio and Mauricio Isla. The only absentee for Parma was Stefano Ferrario.
There was extremely heavy rain in Udine that made it difficult to play. Samir Handanovic flew to palm away a MacDonald Mariga right-foot screamer, while there were penalty appeals for a potential Jonathan Biabiany handling offence.
A Di Natale free kick flashed across the face of goal, but neither Paulo Vitor Barreto nor Danilo could get the final touch.
Udinese went on a classic counter-attack with Pablo Armero, but Giampiero Pinzi blasted the finish just over the bar. Parma were furious when Sebastian Giovinco was brought down just past the centre-circle by Pereyra when there was nobody between them and the goal, but the referee only flashed the yellow card.
Di Natale’s header whistled wide from close range, but Udinese had to replace Mehdi Benatia due to fitness problems.
Udinese finally broke through on the stroke of half-time. Di Natale knocked down a cross for Kwadwo Asamoah’s left-foot strike with the aid of a deflection off Gabriel Paletta.
Di Natale broke his goal drought to double Udinese’s lead somewhat against the run of play. The captain trapped an Armero cross from the by-line and controlled it to smack a brilliant strike across the goalkeeper into the inside far side-netting.
Sergio Floccari horribly wasted the chance to get Parma back into the game by nodding Giovinco’s cross over the target.
Parma did get one back in the final minutes, as Asamoah’s poor clearance from a corner only got as far as Alessandro Lucarelli to fire home.
Mariga had the chance to draw Parma level when he nodded over from an inspirational Giovinco assist.
However, it was short-lived hope for the Ducali, as Asamoah completed his brace in stoppages when pouncing on Mirante’s save from Di Natale.