Serie A - Late leveller earns Udinese draw
Gabriel Torje’s goal six minutes from time cancelled out Fabrizio Miccoli’s first-half strike and left Palermo and Udinese deadlocked with a 1-1 draw at Stadio Renzo Barbera.
Miccoli’s crisp low opener just after the half hour mark gave the home side an advantage they looked on course to protect despite the best efforts of fellow diminutive skipper Antonio Di Natale and Almen Abdi.
But the late arrival of substitute Torje led to renewed vigour from the Champions League-chasing away side, and it was the Romanian who converted fellow replacement Roberto Pereyra’s assist to share the spoils.
Miccoli came close to breaking the deadlock in the first ten minutes when his deadly free-kick delivery was top-corner bound, but for the brilliant one-handed parry of Samir Handanovic.
The striker would get his goal 22 minutes later, the second time in the space of a minute he had been picked out unmarked on the left, and his finish across Handanovic was pinpoint into the far bottom corner.
Great work by Kwadwo Asamoah on the stroke of half-time led to Abdi unleashing a similar strike, which despite leaving Emiliano Viviano helpess in the Palermo goal, rolled agonisingly wide of the far upright.
Udinese made a double substitution at half-time which improved their efforts in getting back into the contest, and ten minutes into the second period Asamoah again played provider to tee up one of those replacements, Pablo Armero, to fire just off-target.
Udinese centre-back Joel Ekstrand had picked up a yellow card in the first half, and was lucky not to pick up a second on 56 minutes after what appeared to be a deliberate handball which led to a free-kick, but no punishment.
He continued to ride his luck ten minutes from time when Palermo sub Josip Ilicic burst into the box from the right-hand side before going to ground after having his shirt pulled by the Swede.
The referee, however, viewed the incident as a simulation from the Slovenian and once again Ekstrand remained on the pitch.
A breathtaking minute-long exchange in the closing stages saw both Di Natale and Ilicic come within inches of scoring for their respective sides, before the visitors marched up the field once more where Pereyra teed up Torje to equalise.