Udinese slot seven past Palermo

Antonio Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez propel Udinese to fifth in Italy's Serie A thanks to 7-0 rout in Sicily.

    Not the scoreboard Palermo fans were expecting to see [GALLO/GETTY]

    Udinese edged closer to a European Champions League spot with a spectacular 7-0 rout at Palermo on Sunday in Italy’s Serie A.

    Alexis Sanchez hit four and strike partner Antonio Di Natale added a hat trick at Palermo's Renzo Barbera stadium, raising his season total to 21 points, moving past Napoli’s Edinson Cavani for the current league scoring record.

    Udinese’s strike pair were in sensational form, hitting a faltering Palermo for five before half-time before easing off the pressure after the hour mark with the home side reduced to nine men.

    Elsewhere AS Roma were held 2-2 by Parma in Vincenzo Montella's first home game in charge.

    Udinese and Roma gained ground on fourth-placed Lazio, who lost 1-0 at Cagliari following an own goal from defender Andre Dias.

    Irrepressible

    Udinese, who were four points ahead of the home side going into the game, were irrepressible from the kick off. There were 10 minutes gone when Di Natale met Pablo Armero's perfect centre from the left with an equally clinical header to guide the ball into the far corner.

    Nine minutes later and home goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu allowed an innocuous near-post corner to get away from him and the alert Sanchez pounced to slam the ball high into the roof of the net.

    With Palermo throwing men forward, the livewire Chilean was then sent clean through by Di Natale on 28 minutes and finished with style, selling Sirigu two stepovers before finishing.

    Things went from bad to worse for the Sicilian side when they were reduced to 10 men after Armin Bacinovic was handed a second yellow card for pulling back Asamoah.

    From the free kick, Sirigu failed to hold the Ghanaian's shot from distance and Di Natale followed up to make it 4-0.

    A minute later and the scintillating Sanchez hit the fifth, cutting inside from the left before cleverly firing home at the near post for his hat-trick.

    No rest

    serie A results

    Saturday February 26
     Juventus 0-2 Bologna

    Sunday February 27
     Catania 2-1 Genoa
     Bari 1-1 Fiorentina
     Brescia 2-2 Lecce
     Cagliari 1-0 Lazio
     Cesena 1-0 Chievo
     Palermo 0-7 Udinese
     Roma 2-2 Parma
     Sampdoria v Inter

    Udinese, who were already topscorers away from home, were not finished though as the young Palermo side came back after half-time.

    Given acres of space inside the box, Sanchez poked home his fourth on 48 minutes before the home side were reduced to nine men after Matteo Damian tugged down the marauding Armero on the hour mark.

    Di Natale sent Sirigu the wrong way with the penalty for his own hat-trick

    Roma had gone ahead with a penalty from captain Francesco Totti, who was playing in his 600th match with his hometown club, and another first-half strike from Brazil defender Juan.

    Roma also lost key midfielder David Pizarro to an apparent injury.

    Montella, who replaced Claudio Ranieri on Monday, pointed out that Roma had allowed 24 goals in the final half hour this season.

    "Until the 75th we didn't allow a shot on goal,'' Montella said.

    "We need to increase the pace and the players are open to that but it takes time and playing every three days doesn't help us.''

    AC Milan lead with 55 points, Napoli are next with 52, Inter Milan have 50, Lazio 48, Udinese 47 and Roma 43.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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