Verona fumbled a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Udinese, including an extraordinary Antonio Di Natale strike.
Hellas needed a victory in their final home game of the season to maintain Europa League ambitions, but Juan Manuel Iturbe and Michelangelo Albertazzi were suspended. Luca Toni lined up against fellow veteran hitman Antonio Di Natale, as the Friulani adopted an experimental 3-4-3 formation, but Dusan Basta, Maicosuel and Luis Muriel missed out.
Nico Lopez had an early shot charged down and Juanito Gomez Taleb was penalised for a push on his marker when going to head the ball.
Verona were awarded a penalty when full-back Agostini took advantage of a Nico Lopez error to go on a mazy run, weaving past two tackles before Allan tripped him at the third. Toni sent Simone Scuffet the wrong way to put Hellas in front from the spot with his 20th goal of the season.
Rafael smothered long-range strikes from Di Natale and Giampiero Pinzi, while Andrea Lazzari’s screamer was deflected over the bar.
Toni thought he had to have scored his second on the counter from seven yards when Scuffet rushed out, but Danilo got back for a decisive goalline clearance. As the move continued, Ivan Pillud’s snapshot whistled just wide.
Roberto Pereyra’s touch let him down on an Allan assist, then Rafael took the sting out of another Lazzari effort.
After the restart Vangelis Moras crucially intercepted a cross as Di Natale was lining up the volley at the back post. On the resulting corner, Thomas Heurtaux wasted a golden opportunity to equalise, as he shinned wide from six yards when totally unmarked.
Just as Udinese were pushing, Verona doubled their lead with a very strange goal. Gomez Taleb chipped up a cross for the unmarked Emil Hallfredsson at the back post, whose volley bounced in off Scuffet’s gloves, as the 17-year-old was surprised by the strike.
The Friulani immediately got back into it thanks to a moment of absolute magic from Di Natale. He had his back to goal when hooking a cross, spun round rapidly and hit it on the volley under the bar from 10 yards. It was one of his best ever strikes and took extraordinary technique to mark his 190th in Serie A.
Verona were again kept out by a goalline clearance, this time by Allan on Fabrizio Cacciatore’s header from a corner.
The game was suddenly wide open at the Bentegodi, as Rafael got down quickly for a crucial one-handed save on Heurtaux’s scuffed shot from point-blank range.
Heurtaux went on a slalom run until his shot was charged down, then Moras ran the huge risk of an own goal when Rafael deflected a cross on to his shin and it looped inches over the bar.
Udinese kept pushing and Di Natale peeled away from Fabrizio Cacciatore for a glancing header that skimmed the far upright. Maurizio Domizzi had a totally free header that he somehow steered wide moments later.
Verona were living dangerously and paid the price in stoppages, as a free kick was knocked down for substitute Emmanuel Badu’s angled drive, which surprise Rafael through a sea of legs.
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