Udinese suffers first Serie A
SERIE A RESULTS
|Wednesday, October 26|
|More: Europe | Serie A|
Napoli inflicted a first league defeat of the season on Udinese to close the gap at the top of Serie A.
Ezequel Lavezzi put them in front in the 20th minute and Christian Maggio headed in a second a minute before half-time to claim the 2-0 win.
The result leaves Napoli in fourth, one point behind second-placed Udinese who surrendered top spot to Juventus on Tuesday night.
Napoli put pressure on from the start but Udinese had the first chance on the counter-attack, with Emanuel Agyemang Badu leading the charge to the other end, only to misplace his pass to Antonio Floro Flores as Paolo Cannavaro made a vital interception.
At the other end, Marek Hamsik fired narrowly wide before heading the ball into the net, only to see it chalked off for offside.
The opening goal was only a few minutes away, however, coming when Lavezzi headed home a superb ball from Edison Cavani.
Samir Handanovic almost gifted them a second when his clearance struck Larengeira Danilo and the ball fell to Lavezzi, but Handanovic redeemed himself with a fine save.
Lavezzi created the next chance for himself, cutting in from the right wing before shooting over the crossbar.
Morgan de Sanctis had had little to do but he made a great save in the 34th minute to keep out Floro Flores' close-range shot.
Five minutes later, the goalkeeper was needed again to deny Kwadwo Asamoah, who drilled a shot towards goal.
And Napoli then doubled their lead moments before half-time with Blerim Dzemaili crossing for Maggio to head in.
Diego Fabbrini sent a chance wide for Udinese early in the second half, but it was Napoli who went closer to scoring again in the 58th minute, with Hamsik setting up Lavezzi for a close-range effort which Handanovic did well to keep out.
De Sanctis made a routine stop to hold on to Pablo Armero's chance, while at the other end Hugo Campagnaro and Salvatore Aronica both failed to test the goalkeeper as they fired wide.
Juan Zuniga could have scored a late third after a mistake from Mehdi Benatia, but Handanovic bailed out his defender.