Lorenzo Insigne came off the bench to score the only goal, as Napoli beat Udinese to book a Coppa Italia Quarter-Final against Atalanta or Sassuolo.
That one-off tie will be at the Stadio San Paolo on January 2.
Maurizio Sarri rested Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Raul Albiol, giving Adam Ounas, Emanuele Giaccherini, Marko Rog and Nikola Maksimovic rare starts. Jose Callejon was given a new centre-forward role. The Friulani were fresh from a shock 3-1 Serie A victory away to Inter, becoming the first side this season to beat the Nerazzurri, and were revitalised under new Coach Massimo Oddo.
The hosts absolutely dominated possession from the get-go, but only created their first genuine chance after 24 minutes. Piotr Zielinski sent Callejon clear with a through ball, but the Spaniard’s shot was straight at Simone Scuffet.
At the end of a well-worked passing move, Ounas saw his low drive clip the outside of the near post from just inside the penalty area.
Rog drilled wide from distance and Zielinski blasted over, as Udinese focused only on the counter-attack or set plays.
Callejon was denied by a double Scuffet save, but had strayed offside anyway, so after an hour Sarri threw on Mertens and Insigne. The Italian fired wide within 30 seconds of his introduction, then his lob didn’t surprise Scuffet, while Zielinski curled just past the far top corner. Ryder Matos had the first genuine shot on target, which was easily smothered by Luigi Sepe, on 65 minutes.
They found the breakthrough when Udinese lost possession in midfield and Mertens immediately threaded through for Insigne, whose precise angled drive found the far bottom corner.
A spectacular Mertens volley hit the side-netting, then Scuffet’s desperate reaction save denied the Belgian after a give-and-go in the box.
Napoli 1-0 Udinese
Insigne 71 (N)
Napoli: Sepe; Maggio, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Zielinski, Jorginho, Rog; Ounas (Allan 76), Callejon (Mertens 58), Giaccherini (Insigne 58)
Udinese: Scuffet; Nuytinck, Danilo, Bochniewicz, Stryger-Larsen; Balic, Hallfredsson, Jankto (De Paul 46), Pezzella (Widmer 70); Matos (Lasagna 78), Bajic
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