The Gialloblu record an impressive victory in Udine as a late goal is enough to see them progress to the last eight
Udinese‘s run in the Coppa Italia ended at home as Cyril Thereau scored to give Chievo a dramatic 2-1 victory at the Stadio Friuli.
Visiting captain Paolo Sammarco had given his side an early lead before a late Antonio Di Natale free-kick drew the game level. But Chievo had the last say, and progress at the expense of the Europa League challengers.
Guiseppe Meli’s men started the brighter side and were on the attack from kick-off. They were soon rewarded in the ninth minute, when the ball was lofted high towards the opposition box where Udinese’s defence could only head into the path of Sammarco on the edge of the area. The young skipper controlled the ball well before rounding the last man and placing his shot low into the left hand corner of the goal.
The home side’s defence looked to be playing a high line and were caught out by the Chievo attack on a number of occasions, with Sammarco and Peruvian midfielder Rinaldo Cruzado linking up well.
Albert Paloschi should have doubled the lead soon after the first goal, but was thwarted by Samir Handanovic on both occasions. The young Italian had a one-on-one with the Slovenian goalkeeper, who saved well to deny the Gialloblu a second.
Two minutes later, a Cruzado cross was met by Paloschi in the area, but a weak shot was cleared to safety.
Boukary Drame came close to conceding a penalty for the visitors when he was booked for his foul on the edge of his own box in the 31st minute. The free kick was driven goalward by Di Natale, but was met by a Chievo body and deflected out for a corner. Udinese’s top scorer came close again from the corner as he forced a good save from Christian Puggioni with his header.
The Bianconeri appeared more in control as the first half progressed and had a penalty appeal turned down with eight minutes remaining in the first period. Damiano Feronetti claimed to have been felled as Giovanni Pasquale floated the ball into the visitor’s box, but referee Sebastiano Peruzzo was quick to dismiss the calls.
The first chance of the second half fell to Udinese’s captain but Puggioni denied Di Natale when the 34-year-old attacker held off the last defender before firing the ball goalbound. The summer signing from Reggina staked his claim for a place in the starting line-up with an excellent one-handed save to send the ball out for a corner.
Guidolin’s men continued their pressure and introduced Antonio Floro Flores with the hope of finding the equaliser. Flores had a couple of good chances but like his counterpart Di Natale, he could not find a way past Puggioni, notably forcing a very good save from the shot-stopper in the 70th minute.
Another striker was introduced by Guidolin in the form of Gabriel Torje. The three strikers continued their assault on the Chievo goal, and it finally paid off when Udinese won a free-kick on the edge of the area. Di Natale thumped the ball past the wall and into the top right-hand corner, beating a helpless Puggioni.
The game looked to be heading for extra-time but in the first minute of injury time, Kamil Vacek’s well-timed ball found substitute Thereau who composed himself before striking the ball high into the Udinese net, to seal a stunning end to the contest.
A win for Chievo means they progress to the quarter-final where they will meet fellow Serie A side Siena. Udinese will now look to focus on continuing their impressive league campaign.