The Friulani had Jaka Bijol suspended, with Enzo Ebosse and Gerard Deulofeu long-term injury absentees. The visitors made their debut under new coach Semplici, who had to do without Emil Holm, Simone Bastoni, Szymon Zurkowski, Joao Moutinho and Jeroen Zoet.
There was a big chance within 50 seconds, Bartlomiej Dragowski flapping at a cross and Roberto Pereyra turning the rebound wide.
Instead, Spezia took the lead with a fantastic solo effort from M’Bala Nzola in his first start in over a month. He sprinted from midfield, taking a touch to skip away from Rodrigo Becao and another to go around Marco Silvestri, depositing into the empty net from a tight angle.
Medhi Bourabia should’ve done better when springing the offside trap, but hit the lob too hard over the bar.
Udinese equalised when Isaac Success flicked a through ball and Beto got away between central defenders, waltzing around Dragowski to score into the open goal. At first it was flagged offside, but after a long VAR check, the goal was given by the slimmest of margins.
They celebrated holding up the jerseys of injured teammates Deulofeu and Ebosse.
Dragowski made a desperate save on Ehizibue’s back-heel flick from point-blank range and Pereyra turned the rebound wide, while Becao made a decisive block to prevent Nzola adding his second of the game.
Udinese turned the match around completely when Lovric threaded through for Pereyra, who took a touch to turn and smashed it into the roof of the net from 15 yards off the toes, giving Dragowski no time to react.
Adam Masina got in the way of a Daniele Verde chest and volley to deflect it over the bar, but Udinese were caught out on the counter from their own corner kick. Kevin Agudelo sprinted forward and timed the pass perfectly for Nzola to strike first-time past on-rushing Silvestri.
It remained wide open with both teams attacking, Silvestri running two big risks on back-passes, while Tolgay Arslan and Walace saw ferocious efforts charged down.
Dragowski made a double save, first on the long-range Lazar Samardzic free kick, then Beto’s acrobatic attempt from close range on the rebound as the move continued.
However, the goalkeeper then fumbled a cross at the feet of Beto in the six-yard box and the Udinese striker’s penalty appeals were rejected, as he went down when realising he’d missed his chance.
Udinese 2-2 Spezia
Nzola 6, 72 (S), Beto 22 (U), Pereyra 55 (U)
|6'||M’Bala Nzola |
(Assist: Albin Ekdal)
(Assist: Isaac Success)
(Assist: Sandi Lovric)
|72'||M’Bala Nzola |
(Assist: Kevin Agudelo)