German Denis and Luis Muriel wiped each other out for a draw at the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia.
The Orobici were coming off one win in five games, but the Friulani had steadied the ship with seven points from the last three rounds. Both sides were knocked out of the Coppa Italia this month and confidence was low. Ezequiel Schelotto, Ivan Radovanovic, Ferreira Pinto, Guido Marilungo and the suspended Tomas Manfredini missed out for the home side. Udinese came without Willians, Pablo Armero, Paulo Vitor Barreto and the banned duo Thomas Heurtaux and Allan. Antonio Di Natale was only fit for the bench.
Udinese’s last win here was in December 2006, followed by three 0-0 draws and a 3-0 defeat. Before kick-off, both sets of fans and players held up banners commemorating Piermario Morosini, who played for these two clubs before his tragic death during a Serie B game in April.
Atalanta had penalty appeals for a Giampiero Pinzi handling offence, but it was Udinese who took the lead in Bergamo.
Giovanni Pasquale’s cross found Luis Muriel at the back post for an acrobatic flying volley, as he launched himself off the ground with both feet to turn in from five yards. It was his first goal of the season after several months out following hip surgery.
A pass flashed all the way across the six-yard box with no Atalanta players able to get the final touch.
The referee pointed to the spot for a Gabriele Angella push on Federico Peluso, though the Friulani were furious with the decision. German Denis stepped up and sent Zeljko Brkic the wrong way to equalise.
Atalanta somehow failed to take the lead straight after the restart, as Pasquale was mugged for the ball just inside his own box, but Giuseppe De Luca’s shot was charged down and Denis’ follow-up was cleared off the line by Pablo Armero.
Giacomo Bonaventura made Brkic fly to palm his left-foot strike out of the top corner. Maxi Moralez went into the box and fell as the goalkeeper went to his feet, but was correctly booked for simulation.
Carlos Carmona had a good scoring opportunity for the home side, but slipped at the crucial moment and ballooned over.