Udinese hit the bar and forced a goalline clearance, but Michael Bradley gave 10-man Roma their ninth straight victory!
Something had to give, as the Giallorossi had a 100 per cent record and Udinese were unbeaten in 22 Serie A home games. It was also a real test of strength in depth, as Francesco Totti and Gervinho were out injured. The Friulani missed Maurizio Domizzi, but Antonio Di Natale had scored 13 goals past Roma in his career.
Udinese’s main shirt sponsor today was a local painter and decorator. Michael Nino won the opportunity as part of a new initiative at the club.
The hosts nearly took the lead after just three minutes, as Luis Muriel surged forward on the counter and his angled drive beat Morgan De Sanctis only to crack against the base of the far post.
Di Natale failed to get enough power on his shot smothered by De Sanctis, while Daniele De Rossi’s angled drive was deflected out for a corner.
Miralem Pjanic’s screamer flashed inches past the upright, then Ivan Kelava needed to flap away a Marco Borriello header.
Udinese had another fantastic scoring opportunity on 37 minutes when Gabriel Silva beat De Sanctis with a chip, but Leandro Castan’s acrobatic goalline clearance kept Roma on level terms.
Kelava’s palms were stung by a powerful long-range Pjanic free kick that was heading in at the near post.
After the break a good Adem Ljajic solo move was spoilt by a central finish, then Pjanic’s effort was deflected inches past the upright. There was a sweet moment when Di Natale was incorrectly flagged offside, but ‘forgave’ the linesman by kissing him on the forehead.
Douglas Maicon received a second yellow card for tripping Emmanuel Badu and left Roma with 10 men for the final 25 minutes in Udine. Di Natale almost took advantage of a defensive error with his shot deflected inches wide by Castan.
Despite being down to 10 men, Roma kept pushing and took the lead at the Stadio Friuli. Kevin Strootman waited for the right moment and rolled across for Michael Bradley to blast low into the near bottom corner from just outside the box.
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Sent off: Maicon 66 (R)