Crotone completed an extraordinary comeback to conquer the Dacia Arena, inflict an 11th straight Udinese defeat and shake up the relegation race completely.
This was a massive relegation battle, as the Friulani had lost 10 on the bounce – a club record – and risked being dragged back into the drop zone, whereas the Calabrese outfit was fresh from a surprise 1-1 draw with Juventus, yet still in the bottom three. Gabriele Angella was injured and Kevin Lasagna a very important return to the squad, while Ante Budimir and Ahmad Benali continued their spell on the Crotone treatment table.
Lasagna proved just how important he was by breaking the deadlock immediately. He controlled the Maxi Lopez pass right-footed with his back to goal, spun round and hit the half-volley with his left into the far bottom corner.
Barely a minute had passed before Crotone equalised, Simy sticking a long leg out in front of Samir to steer in Andrea Nalini’s cross from the left in at the near post. It was the Nigerian’s third goal in his last four Serie A appearances.
Marco Davide Faraoni threatened to turn the game around completely with a splendid curler that flashed just past the far top corner, while Antonin Barak’s counter was charged down.
Just before the break, Alex Cordaz tipped a Seko Fofana right-foot strike over the bar from the edge of the box, then was alert on a cheeky Lasagna back-heel flick.
Samir made a decisive interception to stop Marcus Rohden’s assist reaching Federico Ceccherini, but Crotone had a great chance on the hour mark when Simy soared above his marker on a corner only to nod wide.
Lasagna was in the thick of the action again, first forcing a tough save from Cordaz with a left-foot scorcher, then firing just wide from distance with his right.
With four minutes left on the clock, Crotone turned it around completely for a result that has shaken up the race to stay in Serie A this season – and doomed Benevento to the drop.
Simy’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected by Samir and former Udinese full-back Marco Davide Faraoni managed to steer the rebound in from the tightest of angles.
Udinese were desperate and tried to come back, but Lasagna tested Cordaz and Seko Fofana fired the follow-up wide.
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