The hosts made changes after the 6-1 defeat to Lazio, with Kelvin Amian suspended, Leo Sena and Martin Erlic injured, giving new buys Janis Antiste and Viktor Kovalenko their debuts. The Friulani were unbeaten with four points from two rounds, missing Fernando Forestieri, Udogie and Ilija Nestorovski, but Gerard Deulofeu was ready to start.
Antiste almost scored within six minutes, his glancing header on Simone Bastoni’s cross going just past both the far post and Kovalenko.
Hristov needed a desperate intervention to anticipate Ignacio Pussetto, but there was controversy moments later. The referee awarded a penalty when Pussetto went down under a Jeroen Zoet challenge, but after viewing it on VAR, changed his mind to book the striker for simulation.
Bastoni had a double opportunity and Riccardo Maggiore’s strike dipped just wide, as Spezia began to pin Udinese back.
Rodrigo Becao needed a last-ditch tackle on Kovalenko and Emanuel Gyasi’s follow-up was deflected off target.
Despite the pressure, Udinese nearly scored against the run of play, Zoet palming a Pussetto daisy-cutter round the post.
Riccardo Maggiore went close, but Zoet had to fingertip the Gerard Deulofeu angled drive round the far post.
Kevin Agudelo’s snapshot tested Marco Silvestri, as did Daniele Verde after a good Spezia passing move.
New Udinese buy Beto burst into the box, but Jean-Viktor Makengo fired the volley over on his pull-back.
Spezia thought they’d surely won it at the 86th minute when Agudelo sent Verde clear and the shot beat Silvestri, but Bram Nuytinck got back to clear off the line.
Verde tried again, this time Silvestri at full stretch to palm the low curler away, but Spezia were penalised for all these wasted opportunities.
Against the run of play, 19-year-old Lazar Samardzic rode the Antiste tackle to sweep in with the inside of the right boot.
Spezia 0-1 Udinese
Samardzic 89 (U)