Udinese were pegged back by a soft stoppage-time Cesena penalty, losing the opportunity to go second.
The Friulani welcomed back Antonio Di Natale from compassionate leave following the death of his father on Wednesday. Udinese were the surprise packages of the season so far, sitting in third place with four victories and a single defeat to Juventus, while Cesena beat Parma and took points off Milan. Gabriel Silva, Simone Scuffet, Riccardo Cazzola, Nico Pulzetti, Andrea Tabanelli, Massimo Volta and Gabriele Perico missed out.
Cesena won here in 1981-82, but suffered only defeats at the Stadio Friuli ever since. Yet the visitors had the first chance, Guido Marilungo forcing Orestis Karnezis into a one-handed save at full-stretch.
At the other end, Silvan Widmer flicked on a corner for Cyril Thereau, but Capelli was decisive to prevent the tap-in.
Panagiotis Kone went off injured after just eight minutes, making way for Bruno Fernandes.
Giuseppe De Feudis bravely used his face to charge down a Di Natale volley, but Cesena were alert and Franco Brienza forced another tough save out of Karnezis.
Brienza then sent Marilungo through with a back-heel flick only to fire off target, while Brienza dribbled past two players and Karnezis rushed off the line to charge him down.
Udinese struggled to create any scoring opportunities, as Guilherme turned wide from a Di Natale assist.
They finally took the lead with their first genuine shot on goal, as Bruno Fernandes turned his marker inside out and flashed an angled drive across Nicola Leali.
That goal seemed to wake the Friulani up and moments later Cyril Thereau forced Leali into his first save of the match.
Alejandro Rodriguez ran on to an inspired Brienza through ball, but Karnezis made himself big to prevent the equaliser. Allan hit a screamer from distance that Leali flew to palm out of the far top corner.
Just as victory seemed certain, the referee awarded a soft penalty for Widmer’s apparent push on Rodriguez. Emmanuel Cascione stepped up and sent Karnezis the wrong way to earn a precious stoppage-time point.
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