Serie A - Red hot Udinese upset Juventus

Sun, 30 Jan 21:42:00 2011

Serie A's form team Udinese continued their hot streak after coming from a goal behind to upset Juventus 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico.

- 0

Cristian Zapata and Alexis Sanchez were the heroes for the visitors with all three goals coming in a lively second half after the two sides had played out a dour first 45 minutes.

Udinese have lit up Italian football in 2011 with a series of giantkilling displays, and did their hopes of a securing a Champions League spot no harm with an unlikely victory after going behind to a Claudio Marchisio wonder strike.

In stark contrast, Juve's form of late has been indifferent at best and they continue to slip away from the league's frontrunners, dropping behind Udinese who surge into sixth spot courtesy of the three points and a five game unbeaten record.

A fixture that, on paper, promised much initially delivered very little as both sides tried and failed to locate a forward gear for 45 very forgettable first half minutes.

Goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon and Samir Handanovic were handed spectator roles for the opening act of the show with only mishit shots and harmless crosses on offer from two misfiring attacks.

It took the best efforts of Juve defender, Leonardo Bonucci , to provide the penetration as he intercepted a loose pass on the halfway line and surged towards goal but he could only drag his shot wide with Milos Krasic well placed and screaming for the ball to his right.

The busiest man on the field before the break was undoubtedly referee Antonio Giannoccaro who was forced to resort to a toot of his whistle with frustrating regularity with players on both sides guilty of a succession of petty fouls.

The closest either side did come to breaking the deadlock in the first period came courtesy of dipping long shot from the evergreen Alessandro Del Piero which Handanovic pushed away with relative ease.

As the half drifted to its conclusion, there was, perhaps, a sign of dissatisfaction from the football gods as the heavens opened over the Stadio Olimpico.

And seemingly the two sides found the time to translate the message from above during the interval as both Juve and Udinese burst out of the second half blocks.

First Del Piero sent a curling effort marginally wide of the far post before being beaten to a through ball by the advancing Mandanovic.

The visitors then picked up the attacking baton with Pinzi finding his shooting boots and threatening the Juventus goal with two long range efforts.

The prolific Antonio Di Natale then had two superb chances of his own to put his side ahead with only Buffon to beat on both occasions.

The goalkeeper emerged triumphant from the first duel with a smart save before Di Natale tickled the outside of the post in the second head to head.

Then, the moment of magic the Stadio Olimpico had been crying out for arrived and it was well worth the hour long wait.

It was Marchisio who broke the agonising deadlock after peeling off at the far post and beating the despairing dive of Handanovic with a wonderfully spectacular volley from 15 yards.

But Juve's joy was short lived as their visitors hit back with the equaliser in double quick time.

Buffon will consider himself unlucky as he kept out Di Natale's initial volley with a smart save but Zapata was on hand to sweep home the rebound eight yards from goal.

Not content with a point, Udinese took confidence from their goal and proceeded to inflict the killer blow.

Good work down the right from Mauricio Isla teed up the unmarked Sanchez who crashed in the winner first time right footed.

Unlike their opponents, Juventus failed to rally a response to going behind, instead the match rapidly descended into chaos as Leonardo Bonucci and then Sanchez were both shown red cards for separate incidents before the referee brought a thrilling second half to an end.

Thomas Hyde / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account