VALENCIA, Spain (AP) – Udinese narrowed the gap on Juventus at the top of Serie A with a 2-1 victory over Lecce at the Stadio Friuli on Wednesday night.
Michele Pazienza marked his debut with a goal after just two minutes, but Davide Di Michele brought an in-form Lecce level in the 25th minute.
Serie A's top goalscorer Antonio Di Natale restored Udinese's lead in the 36th minute, earning them all three points with his 15th goal of the season.
The win moved Udinese to within three points of Juve, who have a game in hand, and just two points behind second-placed AC Milan, while Lecce remained in the bottom three.
Pazienza only joined Udinese on loan from Juventus on Tuesday and he had not even trained fully with his new team-mates, but that did not seem to matter as he scored with his first touch.
Di Natale curled a free-kick towards the goal and Pazienza was given a free-header to mark his debut in style.
Antonio Floro Flores nearly added a second in the fifth minute, but he lifted the ball over the bar from eight yards out.
Lecce, whose recent form has lifted them off the foot of the table and given them hope of avoiding relegation, displayed their new-found confidence to fight back into the game.
They missed numerous chances before Di Michele brought them level in the 25th minute.
There did not seem to be much on for the Lecce striker, who decided instead to shoot from 25 yards out, and he beat Samir Handanovic with an effort which looped into the far corner.
Udinese went back in front 10 minutes later with their two strikers combining.
Floro Flores picked up the ball and squared it to Di Natale, who had been left unmarked by the Lecce defence and placed his shot into the right-hand side of Massimiliano Benassi's goal from the edge of the area.
Lecce responded well again and pegged Udinese back inside their own half.
However, their attacks lacked precision and Udinese's well-organised defence rarely looked like conceding again.
In fact, the home side had the best chance of the second half on the counter-attack, but Benussi made a good save to deny Gelson Fernandes from 20 yards.
Udinese held on for all three points without adding a third goal, although Di Natale went close twice in the final minutes.