Udinese beat Lazio with a stunning Antonio Di Natale leaping volley and caught them in the Serie A table to keep their European dreams alive.
Di Natale and Mehdi Benatia for the hosts, Stefan Radu and Giuseppe Biava for Lazio returned from their bans, but Luis Muriel and Lorik Cana were now suspended. Senad Lulic and Stefan Radu joined the injury list with Bruno Pereirinha and Cristian Brocchi, though they switched to a three-man defence and dropped Hernanes.
Vladimir Petkovic’s men had lost four of the previous six Serie A games and were without a win at the Stadio Friuli since 2007. Only three points separated them from Udinese going into the game.
Zeljko Brkic has to come charging out of the area to clear from Miroslav Klose after 80 seconds, then the German was inches away from getting his foot to an Antonio Candreva ball across the face of goal.
Brkic did well to get behind a fierce Cristian Ledesma strike and Candreva had been clear on goal before accidentally treading on the ball.
Klose again just failed at full stretch to get the final touch to a Candreva cross, but it was Udinese who took the lead with their first genuine chance.
Gabriel Silva exchanged passes down the left to reach the by-line and chipped up a cross for Di Natale’s acrobatic leaping volley into the ground, across Federico Marchetti into the far bottom corner. It was a sensational strike, the 12th in his career past Lazio.
Klose’s solo effort was charged down by Maurizio Domizzi and Marchetti flapped at a corner, eventually plucking it off the head of Dusan Basta in front of an open goal.
Roberto Pereyra got past several defenders down the right and Andre Dias crucially intercepted his cross into the middle for Andrea Lazzari. Marchetti also smothered a cross at the feet of Basta.
Ledesma picked up a booking that rules him out of next week’s match with Parma and Basta’s angled drive flashed wide after some comical defending from the Biancocelesti. Petkovic had to make a change, so Ederson and Hernanes replaced Ledesma and Marius Stankevicius.
It was almost 2-0 though, as Piotr Zielinski combined beautifully with Di Natale to force a difficult point-blank range save from Marchetti’s feet at the near post.
Teenager Zielinski was again involved, bursting past Dias and setting up Di Natale for a curling shot off the outside of the boot that whistled just wide.
Hernanes scuffed off target from a very promising position, while Zielinski first and Di Natale then were clear on goal when the ball bobbled strangely, allowing Michael Ciani to close down the veteran.
Udinese wanted a straight red card for Alvaro Gonzalez, who was booked for cynically taking down Roberto Pereyra on the counter-attack. Lazio rarely managed to trouble the Friulani and fell to a fifth consecutive Serie A away defeat.
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