Udinese joined AC Milan at the top of Serie A on Saturday after winning 1-0 against Inter in a game that finished in dramatic style with two missed penalties and two sendings-off in the last four minutes.
Chilean winger Mauricio Isla scored the only goal from a lightning counterattack in the 73rd minute to give Udinese 27 points from 13 matches, the same as Milan, who have a better goal difference.
In a dramatic finale, Javier Zanetti (Inter) and Damiano Ferronetti (Udinese) were dismissed, while Antonio Di Natale and Giampaolo Pazzini missed penalties for each side.
Inter remained sixth from bottom after suffering their sixth league defeat of the season.
A double from Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani and one each by Ezequiel Lavezzi and Blerim Dzemaili helped Napoli climb to fifth with a 4-2 win over bottom club Lecce.
Looking for a hat-trick of league wins, Inter coach Claudio Ranieri opted to unite Diego Milito and Pazzini up front.
It was Udinese who dominated the early stages though, with Romanian midfielder Gabriel Torje warming Julio Cesar’s hands after 12 minutes with a powerful shot from distance.
In contrast to the visitors, Inter’s approach play was labored, but from a flowing move in the 16th minute, Milito lifted the ball over the bar after finding space on the edge of the box.
The Argentine striker cracked a powerful free kick just over 13 minutes later and Thiago Motta then swapped passes with Milito to create the best chance of the first half, but the midfielder’s shot was too close to ’keeper Samir Handanovic.
Udinese striker Di Natale had few scraps to feed off, but he almost caught out Julio Cesar with an instinctive turn and shot just before the hour that the Brazilian ’keeper could only hold at the second attempt.
The away side continued to press and they deservedly broke the deadlock when Isla finished off a brilliant break involving Di Natale and Floro Flores with a firm right-foot strike into the corner.
Inter skipper Zanetti received his marching orders with four minutes to go after collecting a second booking for bringing down Kwadwo Asamoah, but Di Natale’s penalty was turned aside by Julio Cesar.
The home side were presented with the perfect opportunity to grab a point with a minute to go when defender Ferronetti was adjudged to have brought down Milito and Pazzini slipped as he struck the spot kick and ballooned the ball over.
At the San Paolo stadium, Napoli broke Lecce’s resistance with three goals in a 15-minute spell before halftime.