STADIO OLIMPICO (ROME): Third took on fourth when free-scoring Lazio and Udinese faced off in Rome on in a Serie A Sunday afternoon kick-off, but the two sides couldn’t be separated as they played out a 0-0 draw.
Lazar Samardzic and Gerard Deulofeu came closest to a breakthrough when they struck the bar in either half, while both goalkeepers made good saves in a game short on big chances.
For Lazio, the match was overshadowed by a concerning injury to Serie A’s joint-top scorer Ciro Immobile, who limped off after half an hour with a muscular problem.
Another positive result for Udinese
It was yet another impressive result for Andrea Sottil’s visitors, who have been the revelation of the season so far and haven’t lost since the opening day, a run of nine games without defeat.
Both sides are now on 21 points, three behind league leaders Atalanta, with Lazio ahead of the Friuliani on goal difference.
However, they will both end the weekend outside of the top four if AC Milan and AS Roma beat Hellas Verona and Sampdoria respectively.
Sottil’s side came to the capital full of confidence and soon began to demonstrate their trademark combination of defensive resilience and attacking threat.
After 13 minutes, Samardzic met a cut-back and lashed a shot off the crossbar in an early warning to the hosts.
Maurizio Sarri’s men responded, but encountered stern resistance in the form of Marco Silvestri, who blocked a Felipe Anderson shot with his legs before showing quick reactions to palm a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic header over.
Immobile’s request to be replaced gives Lazio cause for concern
Just as the momentum was swinging in Lazio’s favour, disaster struck. Immobile asked to be replaced and limped off the pitch with a grimace.
On came Pedro as Anderson shifted into the central striker role, but the loss of their free-scoring captain took the wind out of the sails of the home side and their fans.
Udinese had the better of the chances in the second half as Destiny Udogie headed wide from close range, Deulofeu clipped a clever shot just wide and Roberto Pereyra’s fizzing low shot required a sharp save from Ivan Provedel.
Deulofeu was close to grabbing a late win when his fierce shot struck the bar with five minutes left, but Lazio held on to claim a point.