Mon, May 19, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Di Natale reverses retirement bid after game-saving treble


Udinese’s Antonio di Natale celebrates scoring against UC Sampdoria in Serie A on Saturday in Udine, Italy.

Photo: EPA

Antonio di Natale scored a hat-trick to help Udinese draw UC Sampdoria 3-3 in their last Serie A match on Saturday, before announcing that he is going back on his decision to retire this year.

The 36-year-old said a few months ago that he would hang up his boots at the end of the season, but has now changed his mind.

“At the start of the season, the whole team struggled to do what we’d been able to in three years together, but you weigh things up at the end and I still got 17 goals in the league,” Di Natale said.

Stefano Okaka headed Sampdoria claim an early lead, but Di Natale leveled with a magnificent free-kick into the top near corner, before the former Italy striker side-footed in Roberto Pereyra’s cross in the 33rd after good work by his teammate.

The match changed in two second-half minutes. In the first, Eder beat the offside trap to roll Okaka’s through ball past Udinese goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic and in the next, Roberto Soriano gave Samp the lead from a tight angle.

Di Natale completed his treble in bizarre fashion two minutes from time after Sampdoria substitute Pawel Wszolek sent a backpass from the halfway line straight to the Bianconeri forward, who proceeded to score his 193rd Serie A goal.

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