Di Natale double downs Cesena
Udinese gave their European ambitions another lift today with a convincing 3-0 win at lowly Cesena.
Antonio Di Natale scored twice while Gokhan Inler also found the target as they extended their unbeaten run to eight matches. Cesena, however, remain deep in relegation trouble after their sixth home defeat of the Serie A season.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin admitted it would be difficult to finish in the top four. "We're aiming at a place in Europe but we don't know yet which competition," he said. "Inter, Milan and Napoli are better than us so we have to beat all the others to finish fourth. I think that's a difficult task but we'll see in a couple of months where we are."
Despite their precarious position, the hosts made a promising start and Emanuele Giaccherini forced an early save from Samir Handanovic with his header. Di Natale had Udinese's first glimpse of goal after 16 minutes with a 25-yard free-kick which he curled over the crossbar.
Cesena were producing the better chances, though, and Giaccherini hit a shot from distance just past the right post before visiting defender Maurizio Domizzi intervened to flick away a dangerous cross from Marco Parolo.
It was something of blow to the home crowd when Udinese scored the opener four minutes before the interval. Di Natale stepped up to take a free-kick which he smashed into the top-right corner from almost 30 yards.
And the Italy international almost added another two minutes later, hitting a half-volley which was turned away by the outstretched foot of home goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli. Fabio Caserta had two chances for Cesena at the start of the second half, but was denied by Handanovic on both occasions as Udinese hung onto their slender lead.
Giuseppe Colucci also pushed a shot wide as the home side searched for an equaliser, but the wind was eventually knocked out of their sails after 69 minutes when Pablo Armero supplied a pass which Inler knocked low into the goal from the edge of the area.
Udinese then wrapped up the scoring 15 minutes from time with Di Natale supplying the finish to a neat ball into the box from Alexis Sanchez.