Stefano Okaka scored on his Udinese debut, but Gervinho earned a penalty and conducted a classic counter to give Parma victory.
The Friulani immediately threw new signing Stefano Okaka into the starting XI after his move from Watford and had Rodrigo De Paul back from suspension, but missed Antonin Barak, Lukasz Teodorczyk, Emmanuel Badu, Samir and Svante Ingelsson, plus banned Rolando Mandragora and Ignacio Pussetto. New Ducali buy Juraj Kucka was only fit for the bench.
The referee opted for a Parma penalty after a VAR review, having originally waved play on when De Paul mistimed his tackle to stop a Gervinho slalom. Roberto Inglese sent Juan Musso the wrong way to convert the spot-kick.
Jens Stryger-Larsen controlled a floated De Paul pass over the top, but went for goal rather than an assist and only hit the side-netting.
Okaka blasted just wide of the near post from 12 yards, but he was also booked after twice venting his irritation at soft free kicks against him, perhaps getting accustomed to Serie A refereeing following a few years outside of Italy.
Udinese started to swarm towards half-time, De Paul’s curler just wide of the far post. It eventually paid off, as Okaka showed great persistence accompanied by Kevin Lasagna to batter down the Parma defences and nod in at the third attempt.
Gervinho burst forward to set up Jonathan Biabiany with a slide-rule pass, but the ex-Inter man horribly scuffed the finish.
Udinese had a huge double opportunity on 65 minutes, as first Luigi Sepe got down to palm away a diving Lasagna header, then De Paul hit the outside of the post on the rebound.
Moments later, Sepe flew to palm a De Paul lob out from under the bar, but all this attacking left a huge gap in defence and Gervinho took full advantage. The Ivorian veteran proved he’s still got remarkable pace by starting his run in midfield, surging past everyone and placing a precise finish into the empty net to restore Parma’s lead.
Udinese continued to fight back with added frustration, especially when De Paul’s daisy-cutter was fingertipped on to the upright by Sepe.
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