Udinese regain pole in Champions League fight

Last Updated: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 09:47

Rome: Udinese moved back into fourth spot in Serie A and the final Champions League qualification place with a 2-1 victory over Lazio.

Serie A top scorer Antonio Di Natale was once again the hero as he scored both goals yesterday to give the northerners a two-point lead over Lazio and Roma in the race for fourth with two games to play.

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin paid tribute to his young guns, in particular the returning Alexis Sanchez.

"This is the youngest team ever to be in a fight for a Champions League place," said a jubilant Guidolin.

"Apart from (Giampiero) Pinzi and Di Natale, look at their dates of birth. That`s a great satisfaction for everyone.”

"There`s still a lot of difficulties left but today we`re happy, in the first half we played like the great Udinese teams of the past.”

"Lazio are a great team who made life difficult for us, especially with high balls.”

"Whoever saw Sanchez today has seen quality and we hope to have him on fire for the last two games."

The result also meant that should Juventus beat Chievo on Monday, they will be only three points off fourth place.

With AC Milan securing the scudetto crown on Saturday night with a 0-0 draw at Roma, attentions on Sunday turned to the other matters still to be decided.

Di Natale timed his run in behind the defence perfectly on 35 minutes to collect Sanchez`s lofted pass, control it and volley home from an angle.

And it was two on 42 minutes as Sanchez played Mauricio Isla behind the defence this time and he opted to square to his captain for a simple tap-in.

Things were made more complicated in the second period when Gabrielle Angella was sent-off for bringing down Tommaso Rocchi in the box.

However, Mauro Zarate curled an awful spot-kick straight into goalkeeper Samir Handanovic`s arms and Udinese survived.

Fourteen minutes from time, Zarate crossed from the left and Libor Kozak stuck out a boot in a crowded penalty area to volley home and set up a tight finish.

PTI



First Published: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 09:47

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