Udinese ended their month-long winless streak with a crushing 4-1 victory over Cagliari.
Francesco Guidolin admitted the Friulani were in crisis after their European exit and a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Lazio on Tuesday. Their Serie A record in recent weeks has been four consecutive draws and that loss. Udinese also have an injury crisis, missing Maurizio Domizzi, Mehdi Benatia, Giampiero Pinzi, Andrea Lazzari, Luis Muriel and Dusan Basta. Cagliari were also without victory since late October, though they scared Inter with a 2-2 draw at San Siro and were unlucky to lose at home to Napoli last week.
There were also late additions to the absentee list, as Andrea Coda missed out with a calf problem and Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi had flu, so made way for Vlada Avramov.
Antonio Di Natale’s angled drive stung Avramov’s palms at the near post, then the captain ran rings round two defenders to test the goalkeeper from a similar position.
Diego Fabbrini’s cross-shot was deflected on to the roof of the net and Udinese’s increasing pressure paid off.
Robert Pereyra ran on to a loose ball in the D and smashed it into the net with a powerful finish for his first goal of the season. Daniele Conti had misplaced the clearance to give Pereyra that opportunity.
Avramov showed quick reactions to parry a Di Natale header from point-blank range.
Gabriele Angella doubled their advantage when a Di Natale corner was not dealt with properly and the defender bundled it over the line from six yards. Angella had never scored in Serie A before this season, but now has three to his name.
Straight after the restart it was 3-0 for the Friulani, as Danilo was allowed a header at the back post on Di Natale’s assist.
There was confusion on 53 minutes when the referee at first seemed to award a penalty for Albin Ekdal’s challenge, then changed his mind on advice from his assistants.
Giovanni Pasquale added to the rout with a fourth on the counter-attack. Diego Fabbirini was generous, winning a tackle in midfield to surge into the area, drew out the goalkeeper and rolled across for Pasquale’s tap-in.
Di Natale wanted to get in on the goal-fest, but was denied by Avramov and Emmanuel Badu fired the follow-up over the bar.
However, Cagliari got a consolation goal when Andrea Cossu crossed for a Daniele Dessena header.