Udinese have secured third place and the Champions League preliminary round with a confident victory in Catania, despite a penalty scare.
The Friulani knew a point would be enough to secure a place in the Champions League preliminary round, but defeat could allow Lazio, Napoli or Inter to overtake them. Mauricio Isla and Damiano Ferronetti were out of action. Catania were already safe, but there were growing reports Vincenzo Montella was having his final game on the bench before a return to Roma. Francesco Lodi sat out a ban with the injured Gonzalo Bergessio, Davide Lanzafame, Davide Biagianti, Alessandro Potenza and Cristian Llama.
Antonio Di Natale nearly scored in the opening 30 seconds, as he sprinted past Nicola Legrottaglie and the angled drive skimmed the upright with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Juan Pablo Carrizo parried a Dusan Basta effort, but Di Natale made up for the earlier error. Giuseppe Bellusci slipped and he was able to sprint into the box on a Maurizio Domizzi pass, prodded it round the on-rushing Carrizo and chipped into the empty net from the tightest of angles.
Papu Gomez flashed a counter across the face of goal and Di Natale’s free kick was well held.
Catania were awarded a penalty when Roberto Pereyra mistimed his tackle on Andrea Catellani, clearly tripping him in the box. Samir Handanovic is something of a spot-kick specialist, but he didn’t have to do anything, as Gomez fired wide. It was evident the Sicilians were missing their set piece specialist Lodi.
Di Natale fired just wide from the edge of the box after the restart, but Diego Fabbrini got the second when he cut in from the left, dribbled past defenders and slipped a precise reverse finish into the near bottom corner.
David Suazo came off the bench and hit the side-netting after skipping past Domizzi. On 70 minutes Handanovic needed a stunning reaction save to palm Nicolas Spolli’s header off the line from a corner.
Fabbrini had penalty appeals waved away as he fell when shoulder-to-shoulder, then Handanovic smothered a Catellani angled drive and Suazo slipped as he turned off target. Kwadwo Asamoah should’ve added a third in stoppages, but came sliding in and hit the post from point-blank range.
Missed penalty: Gomez 39 (C)