Udinese goes top with win over Chievo

Udinese moved to the top of Serie A with a 2-1 win over Chievo at the Stadio Friuli.

Antonio Di Natale put the home team in front midway through the second half and Dusan Basta doubled their lead 10 minutes from time.

Alberto Paloschi scored a consolation for Chievo in the 83rd minute, but Francesco Guidolin’s side held on to move a point ahead of Juventus, who have a game in hand, at the top of Serie A.

The first chance fell to Luciano in the 23rd minute when he latched onto Sammarco’s lofted pass and took the ball on the volley, shooting wide of the near post.

He immediately turned to see if the linesman’s flag had been raised and he would have realised by looking around that he had enough time to take the ball down.

Although Udinese enjoyed much of the possession, their first real chance of the game only came in the 33rd minute when Kwadwo Asamah dragged his shot wide of the far post just after entering the penalty area.

In the 41st minute, Medhi Benatia’s shot from 25 yards was tipped over the crossbar by Stefano Sorrentino as the home side came closer to opening the scoring.

The chances came more frequently in the second half as Udinese stepped up their search for a win.

Mauricio Isla nudged his shot past Sorrentino in the 57th minute and Di Natale was denied a tap-in by a lunging tackle from Boukary Drame.

Three minutes later, Di Natale backheeled Basta’s cross towards goal, but Nicolas Frey made the clearance just ahead of the goal line.

But it was third time lucky for Di Natale, who scored his 10th goal of the season in the 67th minute.

A corner was not cleared sufficiently by the Chievo defence and the ball came back to Isla whose cross was headed in by Di Natale from six yards, even though he was falling backwards an appeared to be off balance.

Di Natale then provided the second goal with another corner from the right.

His cross was met by Basta, who bravely headed tha ball low down from near the penalty spot, getting a kick to his face in the process as Dame tried to clear the ball.

Basta spent the next three minutes off the field of play receiving treatment for a wound on his face, but with the knowledge that he had scored a crucial goal.

Chievo sub Paloschi showed how important Basta’s goal was when he reduced the arrears in the 83rd minute with an inspired shot from the edge of the penalty area, curled beyond the reach of Samir Handanovic into the far corner.

His side could not get a second, though, and Udinese held on.