Jorginho saw his penalty saved, but turned in the rebound, and that proved enough to give Napoli a 1-0 victory on Massimo Oddo’s Udinese debut.
The Partenopei needed a victory to recapture first place after Inter beat Cagliari 3-1 last night, but missed Faouzi Ghoulam, Arkadiusz Milik and Mario Rui, so Christian Maggio stepped in, moving Elseid Hysaj over to the left. Udinese made their debut under new Coach Massimo Oddo after sacking Gigi Del Neri, but Albano Bizzarri was suspended with Emil Hallfredsson, Jens Stryger-Larsen and Valon Behrami injured.
Napoli had won four of their last previous meetings with Udinese, home and away, save for a 3-1 loss here in April 2016.
Marek Hamsik’s early effort was too weak to frighten Simone Scuffet and Dries Mertens saw his free kick hit the wall, but the pressure paid off when Maggio was brought down by Gabriele Angella, whose reckless sliding tackle felled both Maggio and Allan simultaneously.
Jorginho took a weak, central penalty that was easily parried by Scuffet, but he fumbled the ball and allowed the midfielder to turn in the rebound.
After the restart, Samir bravely flung himself in the way of both Mertens and the Hamsik follow-up, while Maggio tracked back to block Stipe Perica after a mazy run.
Pepe Reina finally had something to do with a double save on Barak’s scorcher from distance, while Callejon’s effort was too central to really trouble Scuffet.
With practically the last kick of the game, Barak tested Reina from distance.
Saved penalty: Jorginho 32 (N)