Udinese pressure Juve with Palermo win
Udinese climbed up to second in Serie A after they claimed a slender 1-0 win over Palermo at the Stadio Friuli.
Antonio Di Natale scored the only goal of the game after Udinese completely dominated the first half. Palermo upped the pace after the break, but failed to beat goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to suffer their fourth away defeat of the season.
The result meant the Udine-based club moved to within a point of Serie A leaders Juventus in the overall standings with a superior goal difference over Lazio who could move level with victory over Cagliari in the day's later match. Palermo, however, slipped to ninth with the loss.
The home side were in complete control during the first half and were unlucky not to convert more of their chances.
Pablo Armero's cross-shot narrowly flew over the bar in the 11th minute before Kwadwo Asamoah tested Palermo keeper Alexandros Tzorvas with a good strike from the middle of the area, only to be denied by an excellent save.
Dusan Basta's right-footed shot then missed the post before Mauricio Isla's free-kick also went over the bar. However, with the pressure building and as Udinese dominated possession, it was only a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.
Striker Di Natale finally scored in the 38th minute when he blasted the ball into the back of the net from the middle of the area after latching on to the end of Basta's cross.
After the break Palermo took control, though, and had most of the early chances. Edgar Barreto squandered a great opportunity to draw level when his strike from just outside the box was saved by Handanovic in the 50th minute.
Fabrizio Miccoli's close-range header missed the right post six minutes later before Federico Balzaretti forced Handanovic to make a top quality save to deny the visitors again. Di Natale almost doubled the lead, but in the end Udinese were made to settle for a narrow victory.