A sensational piece of acrobatics from Thomas Heurtaux was the pick of the bunch at the Friuli, as Udinese were victorious in a 4-2 thriller against Parma.
The defender’s overhead kick on 56 minutes deserved to win any game of football, and this was no different.
An audacious Panenka penalty from Antonio Cassano seemed to have been worthy of a point for the Gialloblu, who now remain swamped in the relegation zone. Cyril Thereau’s late strike put the match beyond all reasonable doubt.
The Friuliani were boosted by the return of their captain prior to kick-off, while the Gialloblu opted to make two changes of their own, as shown by the selections of Cristobal Jorquera and Massimo Coda – the latter of whom was a protagonist in the side’s 3-2 victory over Chievo last weekend.
The match sprung into life a third of the way through the first half when 18-year-old Jose Mauri, making only his second start for Parma, snapped up a through-ball from Antonio Cassano on the edge of the box and fired it into the bottom-left corner of Orestis Karnezis’ goal.
It prompted Udinese to wake up from their slumber, as Di Natale was on hand to grab the equaliser a matter of minutes later. Profiting from an Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu knock-on, the former Italy international applied a deft finish to restore parity.
Parma looked to take inspiration from their hosts’ ability to bounce back, but Karnezis was on hand to deny Cassano, first from a close-range header, which the Greek goalkeeper had to parry away, before tipping the Bari native’s volley wide of the post.
Cassano then had another shooting chance with one minute of normal time remaining, which was again stopped by Karnezis. It allowed Udinese to break away and Di Natale the opening he grasped to add to his haul with another well-taken strike in the box.
The bipolar nature of the contest took another twist deep in first-half added time, when Silvan Widmer brought down Mauri to gift Cassano the opportunity to atone for his earlier misses thanks to a wonderful spot-kick, which he chipped down the middle of goal.
However, the points were finally in the bag from an Udinese perspective when Heurtaux, with his back to goal, met a floated cross and executed a superb scissor-like effort to leave Antonio Mirante statuesque on the cusp of the hour mark.
Parma quickly used up all of their substitutions, but they proved ineffective, and it was game over on 76 minutes. Afriyie Acquah’s late challenge on Luis Muriel was punished for a second bookable offence, and off went the Ghanaian down the tunnel.
Andrea Stramaccioni’s side then took full advantage of their extra man in the form of a fourth and final goal – Thereau netting a second in as many matches after cutting inside from the left and curling a low finish beyond Mirante.
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Acquah sent off 75 (Parma)