Serie A - Udinese end Inter winning streak

Sun, 23 Jan 13:23:00 2011

Serie A champions Internazionale saw their 100 per cent record under Leonardo ended after they were beaten 3-1 by Udinese at the Stadio Friuli.

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Dejan Stankovic gave the visitors the lead but that was soon overturned by strikes from Cristian Zapata and Antonio di Natale, with Maurizio Domizzi adding another after the break.

Udinese remain in eighth place in the Serie A table but the win keeps them firmly in the hunt for a Europa League place. Inter missed out on the chance to temporarily move up to second in the table, and remained fifth ahead of the rest of Sunday's Serie A fixtures.

The champions were gunning for their sixth straight win under Leonardo following a run which has put them right back in the title race and which seemed unimaginable in the last days of previous boss Rafael Benitez.

Things looked to be going the way of the Nerazzurri again when, after a bright start of Udinese which saw Alexis Sanchez head wide, Stankovic put the visitors ahead on 16 minutes.

Kwadwo Asamoah gave away possession all too easily to Thiago Motta. The Brazilian surged into the box from the right and pulled the ball back the Stankovic, and the Serb beat Samir Handanovic with a crisp, instinctive finish.

Stankovic almost doubled Inter's lead moments later when he rasping volley was tipped over the bar by a wonderful save by Handanovic at full stretch.

Francesco Guidolin's team, however, maintained confidence that they could create plenty of chances, as any side which boasts the league's top scorer among its ranks and goes into a game having scored at least twice in each of their last six matches should.

Inter failed to fully clear a corner and the second ball in found Zapata unmarked on the edge of the box. The Colombia defender had enough time to line up his strike and fire into the near top corner despite Luca Castellazzi getting a hand to the shot.

Di Natale then gave his side the lead with his 15th league goal of the season with a dipping free-kick that went over the wall and out of Castellazzi's reach.

Inter went from being a goal up to a goal down in just nine minutes, and from then on the home side had the best of it.

Handanovic was called into action to make a smart stop from Stankovic's low, driven free-kick, but after the break the Bianconeri assumed full control.

In the opening few minutes of the second half Ivan Cordoba's poor clearance almost gifted Di Natale a second goal, but his reaction strike flew wide of the near post, before Castellazzi had to make two quality stops to keep the deficit down to one.

With 20 minutes remaining the result was put beyond doubt when Di Natale's free-kick was cleared only as far as Kwadwo Asamoah. The Ghanaian headed the ball back in and Domizzi played onside by an Inter defender slow to step up, turned the ball past Castellazzi.

Inter, again without Wesley Sneijder and Diego Milito, looked bereft of ideas as they failed to mount a comeback, and Udinese comfortably held on to record their first win over Inter in their last 14 attempts.

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

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