Roma edged Udinese 1-0 at the Friuli stadium on Tuesday afternoon to join Juventus at the top of Serie A. Davide Astori headed in the only goal of the game in the 17th minute with the Roma defender's effort hitting the crossbar and falling inside the line before bouncing out. Roma moved level on 39 points with Juventus, who host Inter Milan later on Tuesday, while Udinese – who are winless since December 7 – dropped to 10th place ahead of the rest of the day's action. Roma coach Rudi Garcia fielded a strong side for his team's first game of 2015, with captain Francesco Totti playing alongside Juan Manuel Iturbe and Adem Ljajic. The hosts dominated early possession but Roma went in front when Astori's header from Totti's cross hit the underside of the bar and bounced straight down and fell just on the other side of the goal-line. Udinese reacted and Astori was forced to make a vital block from Antonio Di Natale's goal-bound shot from 12 yards. The visitors continued to press forward and almost drew level in the 27th minute. Di Natale got past two Roma defenders and fed Gabriel Silva at the far post but his close-range effort went wide. Roma should have doubled their lead before half-time. However, Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis made a full-stretch save to clear Totti's right-footed strike from the heart of the area that had taken a deflection off Danilo. The visitors wasted a good chance early in the second half when Totti failed to find an unmarked Miralem Pjanic following a fast counter attack by the Giallorossi. Roma tested Karnezis in the 64th minute but Maicon's bullet strike from 25 yards was kept out by the Udinese keeper. With 12 minutes remaining, Karnezis denied Roma a second goal when he made an instinctive save from Pjanic's first-touch effort from Iturbe's cross. In the 82nd minute, Roma suffered a blow when Ljajic was stretchered off following a late challenge by substitute Giovanni Pasquale. Udinese demanded a penalty with five minutes remaining – when Panagiotis Kone fell in the box following a clash with Urby Emanuelson – but the referee waved play on. The hosts almost denied Roma all three points at the death when Danilo got behind Silvan Widmer's pass but his right-footed shot from 10 yards was saved by Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.
Football SERIE A