They think it's all over ... but it's not. Although ten-man Udinese held on for a 2-1 victory over fellow Champions League hopefuls Lazio, they've still only got two points on them, with AS Roma two back as well. The Champions League qualification spot is not secure, no matter how many clothes captain Antonio Di Natale strips off at the end of the match (just so you're clear, he was down to his tighty whities and no, it wasn't pretty).
But Toto deserved his chance to celebrate. It was his brace that put Udinese ahead in the first half, with the first goal coming from a chipped shot over the head of Nando Muslera, and the second an easy finish to put away a cross by Mauricio Isla. Lazio were repeatedly sliced apart by the reunion of Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez, the tiny wonderduo springing the offside trap again and again.
Lazio came out fighting in the second half, however, determined to keep that coveted fourth spot. The zebrette defense stood firm, however -- at least until Tommaso Rocchi came on to replace Sergio Floccari. Within seconds, the captain drew a foul, Gabriele Angella shown the straight red for tripping Rocchi in the penalty area. Lazio failed to take advantage, however, and Samir Handanovic easily saved the resulting kick, making six out of eight saves in Serie A this season. Mauro Zárate could have made it a little more difficult for the Slovenian, however, rather than sending a mild shot straight down the middle.
After Udinese went down to ten men, it seemed only a matter of time before Lazio would score, so delighted were they in this strange turn of events that saw them take a man advantage. It was again a substitute that worked magic for the visitors, Libor Kozák getting his foot on the end of a Zárate cross to slot it into the net. The substitute then sent a ball off the post, while André Dias, surprisingly not a substitute, headed just over the bar.
For all the effort, though, Lazio couldn't find the second goal. Perhaps it was the atmosphere of the Stadio Friuli, the supporters being encouraged by Toto jumping up and down on the side lines, demanding them to make noise. Di Natale also took this opportunity to shout instructions at the players on the pitch, possibly causing Francesco Guidolin to fear for his job.