Milan: Udinese is now in pole position to claim Italy's last Champions League place after it beat nine-man Genoa 2-0 and close rival Napoli lost by the same scoreline at Bologna in Serie A on Sunday. Antonio di Natale and Antonio Floro Flores scored for Udinese, which played over 50 minutes with a two-man advantage after Juraj Kucka and Rodrigo Palacio were dismissed for Genoa.
Napoli is three points behind third-place Udinese after goals from Alessandro Diamanti and substitute Matteo Rubin. Fourth-place Lazio has an outside chance of reaching Europe's elite after beating Atalanta 2-0 to close within two points of Udinese.
Udinese was gifted the lead on the half-hour when Kucka was shown a second yellow card and sent off for bringing down Diego Fabbrini. Di Natale whipped in a brilliant free kick that flew in between the left post and Genoa goalkeeper Sebastien Frey from just outside the left corner of the penalty area.
Matters went from bad to worse for Genoa when Palcio was sent off for insulting the referee in the 38th minute. The Argentine striker insisted what he had said was directed at his own teammate, but to no avail. Udinese sealed the match when Floro Flores volleyed in Dusan Basta's cross in the 66th minute.
Napoli could have been in front at halftime with Paolo Cannavaro and Edinson Cavani both striking the crossbar. But Bologna led after Diamanti scored in the 18th. Rubin doubled Bologna's lead minutes after coming off the bench in the second half as he scored from Marco Di Vaio's cross.
Bologna defender Archimede Morleo and Napoli midfielder Blerim Dzemaili were dismissed near the end as the teams squared up to each other in a tense finale. In Bergamo, Lazio could have taken the lead in the 25th minute when Alvaro Gonzalez's long-range strike hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down onto the line but then out.
Lazio was ahead 10 minutes later when Atalanta defender Federico Peluso's clearance fell straight to Libor Kozak, who swivelled and fired a shot into the bottom right corner. Lorik Cana sealed the result in stoppage time after Guglielmo Stendardo " who joined Atalanta on loan from Lazio " had been sent off for dissent nine minutes earlier.
Elsewhere, Palermo and Chievo Verona both let two-goal advantages slip to draw 4-4. A double from Fabrizio Miccoli " including a penalty " gave Palermo the lead before Sergio Pellissier's spot kick and Fernando Uribe's first league goal put Chievo level on the half-hour mark.
Luciano and Pellissier gave Chievo the lead but Miccoli completed his hat trick and Matias Silvestre secured a share of the spoils. In a meaningless match between two sides already relegated, Novara beat Cesena 3-0 with Marco Rigoni scoring a hat trick, including two penalties.
In the earlier game, Sebastian Giovinco's stunning long-range strike helped Parma to a 2-0 win at Siena. Chances were few and far between but Giovinco's goal was worth waiting for as he thumped in an unstoppable shot in the 67th minute.
Sergio Floccari added a second in stoppage time following a mistake from Siena defender Matteo Contini.