Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Udinese beat Lazio 1-0 at the Stadio Friuli with a sensational goal from captain Antonio Di Natale as the hosts moved level on points with their opponents in the Serie A table.

Going into the game both sides had players returning from suspension with Di Natale and Mehdi Benatia returning to Udinese’s starting line up while Giuseppe Biava came back into a three man defence for the visitors who also dropped Brazilian playmaker Hernanes to the bench.

The two teams have had contrasting fortunes in recent weeks with Udinese recording back to back victories in their last two fixtures while Lazio have hit a bit of a slump suffering a defeat last week at the hands of  league leaders Juventus.

In a quick start to the game, Lazio had a few early chances most noteably after the minute mark when a poor header back gave Miroslav Klose sight at goal and Udinese keeper Zeljko Brkic had to be quick off his the line to clear the ball before the German striker could reach it. There was another chance for Klose soon after when inches away from connecting with a superb cross from Antonio Candreva. The striker went close again from an almost identical Candreva cross moments later.

Lazio had looked the better side in the early stages but the Zebrette took the lead in the 19th minute with their first serious attack of the game. Good work down the left flank allowed Gabriel Silva to get to the byline and he stood up a ball to the back post where Di Natale was waiting to strike a stunning volley low and hard into the bottom corner leaving Federico Marchetti in the Lazio goal with no chance.

In an attempt to equalize Klose escaped several challenges to get a shot away only to see it cleared by Maurizio Domizzi.

Roberto Pereyra was having a good game for Udinese and popping up on both wings and he skipped past some defenders down the right but his cross was intercepted by Andre Dias.

Both sides would have further chances in the match with Di Natale going close on a couple of occasions but the match ended in victory for the home side.

The Udine club now move level on points with Lazio and Roma in the hunt for Europa League places and while Lazio continue their recent slump which seems to be becoming a regular occurrence at this time of the season, Udinese look to be hitting form at the right time with three consecutive league victories now and on current form they will be the favourites to win the battle for a European place for next season.

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