Udinese vs Lazio, Final Score 1-0: Di Natale downs out of sorts Lazio

Dino Panato

Antonio Di Natale’s 18th goal of the season gave Udinese a 1-0 win over Lazio. The Zebrette’s third successive victory moves them level with Lazio in the chase for a Europa league place next season.

Vladimir Petkovic's side are sliding down the Serie A standings at an alarming rate. This was their fifth loss in seven league games and fifth consecutive away defeat. Three of the Biancocelesti's final five league games are away from the Stadio Olimpico.

Di Natale and Mehdi Benatia returned from suspension to boost the home side, but Luis Muriel had to serve a one match ban. Lazio had Stefan Radu, Senad Lulic, Bruno Pereirinha and Cristian Brocchi in the treatment room, while Lorik Cana was suspended. Giuseppe Biava and Andre Dias returned to bolster an experimental three man backline, with Hernanes surprisingly left on the bench.

Miroslav Klose just missed getting on the end of two early Antonio Candreva crosses, before Udinese took the lead on 19 minutes. Di Natale got on the end of Gabriel Silva's chipped cross with an acrobatic scissors kick, which was hit hard and low across goal and into the bottom corner.

Moments later, Klose flashed a dangerous ball across goal, but no-one was on hand to get a vital touch. Federico Marchetti almost gifted Udinese a second when he flapped at a hanging cross underneath the bar. The ball bounced off the shoulder of Andre Dias and was caught at the second attempt by the relieved shotstopper. The Lazio custodian stopped the home side from doubling their lead in first half stoppage time, nicking the ball from Dusan Basta after Di Natale's clever pass.

Cristian Ledesma picked up a costly booking ten minutes into the second half and will be suspended for next week's trip to Parma.

On the hour, Marchetti fisted clear Di Natale's free kick, before being caught in no man's land by Basta. The Udinese man somehow rolled the ball wide of the post to let Lazio and Marchetti off the hook. The goalkeeper redeemed himself a minute later, blocking a point range stop with his feet after Piotr Zielinski unlocked the Lazio defence following a neat one-two with Di Natale.

Lazio made changes, but it was Udinese who continued to threaten. Zielinski burst through a weak Andre Dias challenge and laid off for Di Natale to shoot wide with the outside of his foot. The two combined once again, but a cruel bobble allowed Michael Ciani to get back and clear.

Stefano Mauri's deflected shot didn't trouble Brkic, while Hernanes saw a shot from distance deflect off Udinese traffic to safety. A frustrated Alvaro Gonzalez was lucky to stay on the field after hacking down Roberto Pereyra late on. His caution rules him out of the Parma game too.

Udinese: Brkic; Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Allan, Lazzari, Gabriel Silva; Zielinski, (Badu 85) Pereyra; Di Natale (Ranegie 80)

Lazio: Marchetti; Biava, Dias, Ciani; Gonzalez, Ledesma, (Hernanes 60) Onazi, Stankevicius; (Ederson 61) Candreva, Mauri; (Floccari 73) Klose

Goals: Di Natale 19 (U)

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