Late goal ends Udinese's winless run
Mehdi Benatia's first goal in Serie A earned Udinese their first win of the season in stoppage time at the end of their one-sided game against Cesena.
Cesena goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli seemed to have earned his side a point from their visit to the Stadio Friuli tonight with a string of crucial saves, but Benatia struck in the second minute of stoppage-time to earn a 1-0 win for the hosts.
After a slow start, the home side finally found their gear towards the end of the first half. They hit the woodwork twice and were denied repeatedly by Antonioli as they struggled to find a way through, until Benatia struck.
The game took more than half an hour to get going and it was only the home team who ever looked like winning it. Giampiero Pinzi created the first chance for Antonio Di Natale with a delightful chip which the Italian international volleyed just inches wide of the post on the turn from 15 yards.
That was in the 38th minute and five minutes later Antonio Floro Flores almost scrambled the ball in from a corner, but Giuseppe Colucci made a goalline clearance to prevent him from giving Udinese the lead.
Cesena goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli has taken plenty of plaudits already this season and he was their star player once again. His save from Di Natale was unnecessary in the 48th minute since the offside flag was already raised, but it was a spectacular stop nonetheless from the 41-year-old.
The one time he was beaten in the 50th minute, his left-hand post came to his rescue to deny Mauricio Isla's stinging volley. Gokhan Inler's volley five minutes later did test the Cesena goalkeeper, but he punched the ball away at full stretch.
The woodwork game to Cesena's rescue again in the 62nd minute when Yuto Nagatomo inadvertently diverted Di Natale's cross towards his own goal and Pinzi lifted the rebound over the crossbar. Antonioli then completed his masterclass by denying Di Natale and then pouncing on the loose ball ahead of Pinzi, clutching the ball to his chest.
But he was beaten in the 92nd minute when Di Natale's shot bounced kindly for Benatia, who headed in from close range to seal Udinese's first win of the season.