Irrepressible striker Antonio
Di Natale, Serie A's leading scorer in the last two seasons,
scored twice to help Udinese to a 4-1 win over struggling Cesena
on Sunday and keep alive their unlikely title challenge
Udinese's success kept the surprise package two points
behind leading pair AC Milan and Juventus who both won away to
stay top with 37 points from 17 games.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a first-half penalty,
controversially awarded for a foul by Thomas Manfredini on
Alexandre Pato, and set up the second for Kevin-Prince Boateng
in Milan's 2-0 win at Atalanta.
The Swede joined Di Natale and Atalanta forward German
Denis, who hit the post from close range with the score at 1-0,
as joint Serie A top-scorer with 12 goals.
Alessandro Matri's first-half goal gave unbeaten Juventus an
unconvincing 1-0 win at bottom club Lecce where they were lucky
to survive second half pressure in pouring rain.
Matri scored from close range when Massimiliano Benassi
failed to hold Mirko Vucinic's low shot from 25 metres after
Juve had lost midfielder Fabio Quagliarella to injury early in
Francesco Totti, 35, scored his first two goals of the
season, both penalties, to give improving AS Roma a 2-0 win over
The one-club Totti, who missed a penalty in the 1-1 draw
with Juventus last month, opened his account in the 34th minute
after a clumsy tackle by Nicolas Frey on Erik Lamela
His second, with 12 minutes left, followed a Bostjan Cesar
handball as Roma moved up to joint sixth with 27 points
alongside Napoli, who followed up their 6-1 win over Genoa
before Christmas with a 3-1 win at Palermo.
Goran Pandev, Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik put Napoli 3-0
ahead before Fabrizio Miccoli's consolation for Palermo, where
coach Bortolo Mutti's home debut ended with a deafening chorus
of jeers from the few fans who stayed until the end.
Stevan Jovetic scored twice, the first a penalty, in
Fiorentina's 3-0 win at Novara and Cagliari beat Genoa by the
same score, handing Pasquale Marino an unhappy debut with the
visitors after he replaced Alberto Malesani following a 6-1
defeat at Napoli.
Joaquin Larrivey converted an early penalty for Cagliari and
Victor Ibarbo added the second just before the hour.
Genoa's misery continued with a straight red card for
Emiliano Moretti before Andreas Granqvist put through his own
In the early match, Udinese's Di Natale opened his account
after only 48 seconds when he slid the ball home after Antonio
Floro Flores sprang the offside trap and broke down the right.
Although Udinese were dominant, Brazilian forward Eder
equalised for Cesena out of the blue in the 39th minute and it
took a blunder from their goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli to put
the hosts back in front.
The hapless Antonioli allowed Kwadwo Asamoah's low, swerving
shot to slip under him in the 54th minute in what proved to be
the game's turning point.
Cesena had Maurizio Lauro sent off on the hour for a second
bookable offence, then Dusan Basta scored with a long-range
drive before Di Natale added a superb fourth with a shot on the
turn in the 82nd minute.
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