Udinese and Lazio settle for brisk draw
( dpa ) - Udinese's captain Antonio Di Natale scored a brace for the hosts Saturday as they twice rallied to clinch a 2-2 draw against tough visitors Lazio.
A goal from Tommaso Rocchi rewarded Lazio's quick-paced start after 11 minutes as the captain scored his 10th goal this season connecting with an assist from Cristian Ledesma and leaping past custodian Samir Handanovic.
The Slovenian saved Udinese on 40 minutes deflecting a nasty drive from Ledesma with a great dive on his left.
Three minutes later, Di Natale aimed a first shot for Udinese, but found Marco Ballotta ready to block his central effort.
A different Udinese came out of the changing rooms after the break and pressed Lazio in their midfield until the 56th-minute equalizer from defender Damiano Ferronetti, who laid in from close range to top off a corner kick action.
Rocchi incredibly fired wide from close range on 68 minutes, and Fabio Quagliarella also missed for the hosts from outside the area.
The proper way to fire home was displayed on 80 minutes by Ledesma with a fast, swerving shot that left no chance for the diving Handanovic.
Di Natale's good form allowed Udinese to equalize on 86 minutes bringing his scoring tally to 13 goals, three less than top-hitters David Trezeguet of Juventus and Genoa's Marco Borriello.
The international connected with a Simone Pepe low cross and burst in the area firing a precise low shot before Pepe missed a final chance before the veteran Ballotta.
Udinese remained sixth on 41 points and hold on to the second available UEFA Cup berth, while Lazio trail on 34 points.
A high-wattage game later Saturday pits second-place Roma against visiting AC Milan.
The Roma side look to cut down their six-point deficit from leaders Inter Milan, who Sunday host mid-table Palermo at the Giuseppe Meazza.
Milan hope to leapfrog fourth-place Fiorentina in the race for the four available Champions League berths. The Florence side lead Milan by one point ahead of a home game to Genoa.