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Di Natale rescues Udinese against Anzhi

Udinese Calcio 1-1 FC Anzhi Makhachkala
Guus Hiddink's side were on the brink of winning their first ever UEFA group stage game until substitute Antonio Di Natale did what he does best.


FC Anzhi Makhachkala opened their first ever UEFA group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw at Udinese Calcio.

Anzhi breezed through UEFA Europa League qualifying with 11 unanswered goals in three away assignments, but found Udinese a far tougher nut to crack. They looked to have prevailed courtesy of Daniele Padelli's own goal just before the break, but Antonio Di Natale ensured the spoils were shared with a typically predatory strike in added time.

udinese-anzhi-makhachkalaAnzhi's first-half display betrayed their continental inexperience; overrun in midfield, the Russian outfit were left chasing shadows. Despite Udinese's dominance of possession, though, they conjured only one opportunity of note, Mehdi Benatia heading over having been picked out by Marco Faraoni's cute free-kick.

A series of spurned half-chances by the hosts looked to have ensured a goalless first 45 minutes. On the stroke of the interval, however, Lacina Traoré surged down the left and, from an ambitiously narrow angle, forced in a fierce shot via Padelli's gloves.

Half-time did little to stunt the influence of Faraoni, who fired over with a first-time volley after Mathias Ranégie had passed up two close-range openings of his own. Unable to unpick the Anzhi lock, Udinese turned to their most reliable set of keys – Di Natale was summoned from the bench.

But the Anzhi barricade remained secure, the particularly stoic Christopher Samba threatening at the other end before Samuel Eto'o went even closer to adding a second. Evgeni Pomazan's brave save at the feet of Dušan Basta looked to have earned the visitors all three points; then popped up Di Natale.

Tags: Anzhi Makhachkala | udinese | UEFA Europa League


Soccer - O'Driscoll aims to avoid the drop

Sean O'Driscoll has been handed the job of keeping Bristol City in the Championship, with the Robins 2/7 with bet365 to be relegated this season. City are bottom of the table after being thrashed 4-0 at home by Leicester City at the weekend, six points adrift of safety after winning just six of their 26 league games so far this season. "In Sean we have someone with a track record of developing clubs longer term, as well as a wealth of experience at this level, which will be vital in our fight for survival in the Championship," Football Managing Director Jon Lansdown told the club's official website. "This season has been a rocky ride and we find ourselves in a difficult position, but we still have the time and ability to get out of it." O'Driscoll's first game in charge comes on Saturday when City take on Leeds United, having not won in the league at Elland Road since November 1979.

Golf - Oosthuizen sets sights on Rory

Having risen to number four in the world rankings, Louis Oosthuizen has targeted trying to get to the top of the pile in 2013. Oosthuizen is behind Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald in the standings after winning the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban and the South African, who won the Open Championship in 2010, wants to move even higher. He said: "I'll try to make it to number two and then I guess I'll try to get to number one. "The difference will be the Majors because they've got the big points. If I can get one this year - or two even - it's all going to come down to them." Oosthuizen, 25/1 with bet365 to win at Augusta, will have his first chance for further Major glory at The Masters in April, having lost out in a play-off to the big-hitting Bubba Watson last year.

Soccer - Mancini maintains title belief

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini still believes that his side can chase down Manchester United in the title race, with the Citizens 10/3 with bet365 to be crowned champions again. City were forced to respond on Sunday after United had edged out Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford earlier in the day, with Mancini's men doing their job as they won a tricky fixture 2-0 at Arsenal to stay seven points adrift. Mancini said: "United are a really strong team, but the season is long. It's important for us to be there, close with them, and we will arrive the moment they lose points. "We have the derby on April 6 and we need to arrive there five or four points behind." Last season a 1-0 derby win at the Etihad Stadium in late April proved crucial, with City then seeing off Newcastle United and QPR to be crowned champions.

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