Serie A: Udinese win 2-0 at home to Empoli
Last Updated: 01/09/14 12:59pm
Antonio Di Natale struck twice against promoted side Empoli as Udinese and their new coach Andrea Stramaccioni enjoyed a perfect start to the Serie A season on Sunday.
The former Empoli forward put the hosts on their way in the 57th minute before adding his second five minutes later to hand Udinese all three points.
Empoli went into the encounter at the Friuli stadium looking to make an impact in their first Serie A game in six years.
However, last season's runners-up in Serie B were without the services of injured striker Massimo Maccarone and first tested Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis in the 87th minute.
Udinese, who appointed Stramaccioni as coach earlier this summer after Francesco Guidolin stepped down, had the first chance of the game in the 14th minute.
Luis Muriel fed Guilherme in the box and his right-footed strike was kept out by Empoli goalkeeper Luigi Sepe.
Allan came closest in the 36th minute when he drilled a 30-yard shot that was saved by Sepe.
The visitors wasted a good chance to break the deadlock before the interval when Francesco Tavano headed Matias Vecino's cross just wide of the far post.
Udinese pressed forward after the break and were rewarded before the hour mark.
Muriel found Di Natale in the box and the Italian veteran forward struck the ball from 12 yards past Sepe.
Udinese doubled their lead shortly after when Di Natale got past his marker and drilled a right-footed shot from 30 yards towards the far post to beat Sepe.
Empoli should have reduced the deficit with three minutes remaining but substitute Manuel Pucciarelli's close-range effort was kept out by Karnezis, his first save of the game.
Udinese held on for a comfortable victory to start Stramaccioni's era on the right foot.