Roberto Pereyra gave Udinese their fourth win on the bounce, beating Cagliari in an ill-tempered Trieste match.
The Friulani were on a run of three consecutive victories and chasing a Europa League spot after flying into joint seventh place, while the Sardinians were smarting after a last-gasp defeat to Napoli. This game was hosted by the Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste due to on-going problems with the Is Arenas.
Luis Muriel returned from his ban, but was still benched in favour of teenage wonderkid Piotr Zielinski. Cagliari had Andrea Dessena and Albin Ekdal suspended with Andrea Cossu, Sebastian Eriksson and Francesco Pisano sidelined. Mauricio Pinilla and Daniele Conti returned from their bans.
Udinese rattled the woodwork in the opening 10 minutes, as Gabriel Silva’s shaky cross turned into an assist for Roberto Pereyra, who smashed the finish onto the underside of the bar.
Gabriel Silva curled over from outside the box on the counter, while Pinilla’s scuffed attempt was smothered and Michael Agazzi parried an Andrea Lazzari piledriver. Antonio Di Natale’s free kick was charged down, but Lazzari picked up an injury when he threw himself at Casarini to charge down the shot inside the area.
Maurizio Domizzi nodded over from a corner, while Emmanuel Badu’s strike was beaten away by Agazzi.
Udinese finally made the pressure count by taking the scoring after 56 minutes. Pereyra had hit the bar earlier and this time kept his shot down, curling with the inside of his right foot into the far bottom corner.
Zeljko Brkic flapped at a corner and Davide Astori turned the follow-up over. Thiago Ribeiro went down in the box and was booked for simulation, though it was a very clumsy Danilo challenge and he did well to jump over it.
Di Natale’s first touch let him down for once when he sprung the offside trap to go clear on goal. Pereyra and Radja Nainggolan got away with a warning when they had a scuffle following a tackle.
Brkic made a mess of a free kick in stoppages and was lucky Dusan Basta hoofed the loose ball clear. The game ended on an ugly note, as Pinilla – who was just returning from suspension – flew into the back of Giampiero Pinzi with his elbow raised. A brawl broke out on the touchline and the Cagliari striker was sent off.
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Sent off: Pinilla 94 (C)