Serie A - Udinese held at Chievo
Udinese were frustrated by a stubborn Chievo side as the two sides played out a drab 0-0 draw in Serie A on Saturday.
After both teams respectfully paid tribute to the late Piermario Morosini prior to kick-off, it was the hosts who began the match in spirited fashion.
Michael Bradley rattled the Udinese woodwork as early as the sixth minute with a crashing 30-yard drive that swerved away from a static Handanovic.
The American was then involved in the hosts' next best opportunity, as in the 11th minute, his outswinging corner was powerfully met by the head of Dario Dainelli but saw his effort flash wide of Handanovic's far post.
Udinese were increasingly frustrated by a well-marshalled and resilient Chievo backline, who snuffed out several through-balls intended for striker Antonio Di Natale.
With the visitors' main attacking threat neutralised, the visitors almost took the lead prior to the half hour mark through a neat interchange between Pablo Armero and Kwadwo Asamoah on the counter attack, but the chance went begging.
Chievo's attacking spearhead Alberto Paloschi was beginning to find his way into the match, but dragged his low shot wide from the edge of the penalty area in the 37th minute.
However, the home pressure continued to intensify and, moments later, Udinese were grateful to their keeper Handanovic for keeping parity in the scoreline as the Slovenian keeper produced a brilliant one handed save to deny Rinaldo Cruzado's low goal-bound effort.
Francesco Guidolin's men were even more thankful just before half-time came, as Handanovic expertly denied Thereau's spot-kick after the goalkeeper had hauled down the Frenchman in the box.
Chievo continued to apply their high-pressing game to great effect at the start of the second half, with Cruzado receiving Paloschi's lay-off and dragging his shot just wide of Handanovic's goal.
The introduction of striker Antonio Floro Flores failed to sufficiently raise Udinese's attacking presence, even though they began to dominate possession having stemmed Chievo's forward surges.
Di Natale was unlucky to see his curling effort from outside the Chievo penalty box fly just wide of Stefano Sorrentino's far post in the 66th minute.
The Chievo keeper then had to be alert to Di Natale again just four minutes later as, this time, the Udinese striker's low shot was heading inside Sorrentino's near post, but for his quick reactions in turning the ball behind his goal.
With neither side able to create any further clear-cut opportunities in the closing moments - save for a first-time Di Natale volley which flew over Sorrentino's goal - the game petered out for a drab draw that does more harm to Udinese than Chievo.
That is because Udinese sit two points behind Lazio, and having played a game more, in the race for third and securing that final coveted Champions League qualification spot.
Parma made light work of Cagliari in the other early kick off, winning 3-0 to leave the Sardinians nervously looking over their shoulders at the drop zone.
Catania also won 2-0 at home to Atalanta.