Udinese edge towards first Cup final in over 90 years
Udinese moved to within one game of their first Italian Cup final since 1922 on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in their semi-final first leg clash.
Udinese captain Antonio di Natale opened the scoring for the hosts before Fiorentina levelled through Peruvian Juan Manuel Vargas a minute before half-time.
However, Udinese edged the contest when Colombian Luis Muriel scored with a fine effort eight minutes from time.
Fiorentina will still fancy their chances of overhauling the deficit in the second leg next Tuesday.
They will also be boosted by German international striker Mario Gomez, who missed the past five months because of injury, due to return to training on Wednesday.
Di Natale, who has threatened to retire because of constant criticism from the fans, broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, rounding off a counter-attack begun by Swiss Silvan Widmer.
Di Natale was removed from the fray at half-time but not till after he had an altercation with the referee, pleading that the Fiorentina equaliser should not have been allowed as he was fouled at the beginning of the move.
Fiorentina looked the sharper side at the outset of the second-half but eventually they ran out of ideas and energy and were punished when Muriel fired home.
Wednesday sees the second semi-final first leg match take place with AS Roma, second in Serie A, hosting Napoli, who are third in the league but whose form has tailed off of late.
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