Friuli brush aside challenge of nine-man visitors to seize pole position in race for third spotUdinese took a huge step towards Champions League football next season after a 2-0 Serie A win over nine-man Genoa at the Stadio Communale Friuli this afternoon.
Napoli's 2-0 loss away to Bologna now means that the hosts can secure third place with a win from their final match at Catania.
Genoa made a bright start to the contest, but were on the end of a double whammy midway through the first half when midfielder Juraj Kucka was harshly dismissed for a second yellow and the host's Antonio Di Natale curled home the resultant free-kick. The visitors were still in the contest, but saw their hopes dealt a killer blow when forward Rodrigo Palacio also received a red card for a seemingly innocuous incident. Udinese made the most of their advantage to stroll to victory, which was ensured through striker Antonio Floro Flores' 65th minute strike.
Genoa started brightly: midfielder Fernando Belluschi blasting just over the bar in the 3rd minute.
Udinese started to warm to their task, however, with the visitors' Sebastien Frei becoming the first 'keeper in action - the Frenchman getting down smartly to turn away a well-struck effort from Giovanni Pasquale.
Di Natale was looking dangerous and almost broke the deadlock when he swivelled on a loose ball only to flash wide.
The Grifoni's stiff test became infinitely stiffer soon after, when Kucka was harshly dismissed for a second yellow after impeding the run of Italy U-21 international Diego Fabbrini.
With Genoa reeling from losing the Slovakian, Udinese struck a hammer blow from the resulting free-kick, Di Natale curling home a delightful effort from 25 yards.
Udinese stayed on the front foot - Pasquale firing another fierce effort just wide - but Genoa were showing some pluck: Rodrigo Palacio breaking through the Friuli backline only to skew a left-footed effort wide.
Seconds later, however, Genoa's uphill task worsened when Palacio controversially received what seemed a very harsh red card to put his side down to nine men.
Udinese emerged confidently after the break - Roberto Pereyra creating a chance for Di Natale who headed narrowly over.
The hosts kept applying pressure, striker Floro Flores having one effort palmed round the post by Frei on the hour and Kwadwo Asamoah and Di Natale both going close within seconds of one other.
A second goal was always on the cards and it was Floro Flores who grabbed it on 65 minutes when he stole in to hook home Dusan Basta's cross from close range.
The hosts were now at a canter - Pasquale firing his third effort of the afternoon narrowly wide - and saw the game out easily.
Udinese travel to Catania in their final game of their season with their fate in their hands, while Genoa need a point at home against Palermo to guarantee safety.