Udinese failed to extend their stay in the Europa League despite beating their opponent AZ Alkmaar 2-1 in the second leg as the away goal simply forced the Friulani to get at least two more goals because of their 2-0 defeat in the first meeting.
Antonio Di Natale bagged a brace on the night but sadly it wasn’t enough to put the through as tiredness seemed to be troubling the Italian side’s ability to break down the Dutch side, who were playing with 10 men for almost the full game.
Eying to turn around the two goals deficit they picked up in the first leg, Udinese went on the attack immediately and it didn’t take long for them to get going as Antonio Floro Flores earned the home team a spot kick in the first minute. The decision also made the referee send off AZ’s defender, Viergever, as he was the one who took down Floro Flores in the penalty area, leaving the Dutch team with 10 men since pretty much the early minutes of the game.
Di Natale successfully concerted the penalty kick and lifted Udinese’s beliefs in turning the tie around especially they were also having a man advantage at an early stage. The home team’s rampaging attack continues until they eventually netted the second goal which was once again scored by their top scorer after expertly volleying Manuel Pasquale’s cross from the left flank.
Just as things were looking good for Udinese, they seemed to let their guard off for a while and it resulted in away goal for AZ, when Erik Falkenburg smashed his shot passed Samir Handanovic. The visitor’s goal seemed to stun the Friulani players as they now needed another two goals to get through and despite the advantage they have, the belief didn’t look as strong as the early minutes.
Francesco Guidolin tried to motivate his players during half time break and urged his players to push up forward which they did right from the re-start but their effort was simply not enough to break down the 10 men Alkmaar. As time ticks by, the composure of the Italian side were simply lacking and they got caught out by the visitor’s counter attack several times, which one of them resulting in a penalty kick which was missed by Rasmus Elm.
The missed penalty gave a bit more hope for the Udinese players but they simply couldn’t fight of the tiredness creeping down their body which was pretty much the effect of their inexperience in competing in European level. In the end, Guidolin team simply didn’t do enough to advance and once again leaving Italy without any representatives in the competition. Furthermore, this result also means that only Ac Milan are the only Italian team staying in Europe at the moment, probably not much of a step forward to improve their coefficient point in European club football.
Udinese v Az Alkmaar 2-1
Goals: Di Natale pen 3, 14 (Udinese); Falkenburg 31
Udinese: Handanovic; Benatia (Pasquale 10), Domizzi, Ekstrand; Ferronetti (Fabbrini 66), Pinzi, Pazienza (Abdi 78), Asamoah, Armero; Floro Flores, Di Natale
AZ Alkmaar: Esteban; Marcellis, Moisander, Viergever, Poulsen; Maher, Falkenburg (Ortiz 82), Elm; Beerens (Klavan 10), Altidore, Holman (Gudmundsson 77)