Udinese climb into top half
Last Updated: December 10, 2012 8:40pm
Di Natale netted the visitors' second
Udinese moved into the top half of Serie A thanks to a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Goals from Danilo and Antonio Di Natale in the first half were enough for Francesco Guidolin's side to take the spoils in Genoa and put five points between the two sides.
Nicola Pozzi had a penalty saved in the second half as Samp failed to mount a fightback and remained just three points above the relegation zone.
Following their final Europa League game of the season against Liverpool on Thursday night, Udinese's focus returned to Serie A and perhaps qualifying for Europe again next season.
Samp, the side they pipped to a place in the Champions League in 2005, still had not forgotten their disappointment from seven years ago and sought revenge with a bright opening.
But it was Udinese who took the lead in the 17th minute, just a minute after Sergio Romero had pushed Di Natale's shot over the crossbar.
There was nothing the Argentinian goalkeeper could do when Danilo met the resulting corner with a powerful header to put the visitors ahead.
Udinese doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Di Natale, fresh from becoming the club's record appearance maker in European competition, picked up the loose ball after it struck Emmanuel Badu and tricked Romero before dispatching a shot into the back of the net.
Thomas Heurtaux almost made it three in the 31st minute as an efficient Udinese side looked a threat every time they attacked.
Pozzi was sent on by Samp coach Ciro Ferrara at the start of the second half and he sent in a warning shot in the 58th minute, although his effort was too close to Zeljko Brkic to cause any danger.
He was given a much easier chance to bring Samp back into the game in the 69th minute when a penalty was awarded, but ¿eljko Brkic denied Pozzi from the spot.
Just minutes later, Brkic made a save with his foot to deny Mauro Icardi as Samp pushed for a goal.
The Blucerchiati sent everybody forward and Di Natale almost punished them on the counter attack, but Romero kept out his shot with 10 minutes left.
The visitors were then able to play the clock down without running any risk of conceding as Samp's late assault failed to materialise.
Italy Serie A