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Udinese with convincing victory over Siena
A first-half brace from Simone Pepe set Udinese on their way to a convincing victory over Siena which all but secures their Serie A status while almost certainly condemning the Tuscans to the second division.

Pepe scored either side of Emanuele Calaio's equaliser before Alexis Sanchez extended their lead on the hour mark and top goalscorer Antonio Di Natale boosted his claim to the Capocannoniere trophy.

Siena are now nine points behind 17th-placed Bologna with just three games left to play while Udinese are eight points above the drop zone.

Udinese have found themselves in a lowly position in the table mainly due to their woeful away form as they have won just once on the road.

However, they had picked up nine victories at the Stadio Friuli heading into this clash and they were eager to make it 10.

Di Natale has been one of the main reasons Udinese are not in a more desperate position and the Italy striker almost got his team off to the perfect start when he forced Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Curci into a fine block in the fourth minute.

Udinese went even closer in the 12th minute when Maurizio Domizzi powered a header off the post.

Siena stunned the hosts four minutes later when they had the ball in the back of the net but much to the Friulians' relief Calaio's header was ruled out for a dubious offside decision.

And Udinese took the lead almost immediately when Pepe headed home Mauricio Isla's cross from inside the six-yard box.

Di Natale could have doubled their lead seconds later but Curci did brilliantly to keep his swerving 20-yard drive from flying into the top right corner.

Siena almost equalised in the 22nd minute as Simone Vergassola drilled an effort in from 25 yards which Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic did well to keep out.

And they went close again seven minutes from the break when a superb volley from Calaio crashed off the right upright, although the flag had already gone up for another dubious offside.

The former Napoli striker did equalise two minutes minutes later as he played a brilliant one-two with Massimo Maccarone before sending a low rasping shot into the far corner.

However, they were on level terms for just two minutes before Pepe fired past Curci to restore Udinese's lead.

The Friulians remained in firm control after the break and Sanchez gave his team a two-goal cushion on the hour mark.

Curci pulled off a good save to deny Di Natale but the Chile international was there to tap the rebound into an empty net.

Siena could have got back into the game moments late as Marcelo Larrondo made a great run down the right flank before crossing in but neither Maccarone nor Calaio could manage to get the last touch.

Udinese capped a great afternoon 10 minutes from time when Di Natale drilled in from the spot after Marco Malago had fouled Sanchez in the area.

It was the Udinese captain's 25th goal of the season and he leads Inter's Diego Milito at the top of the Capocannoniere standings by five goals.
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