Udinese & Granada: September round-up
It`s been a slow start to the new Serie 'A` season for the Zebrette, who at the end of our last review had been knocked out of Europe by Slovan Liberec - former employers of one Daniel Pudil - and beaten in the opening round of league fixtures by Lazio.
Since then Francisco Guidolin`s men have tasted victory for the first team in Serie 'A`, beating both Parma and Genoa at home.
A 3-1 win over Parma at the beginning of September quickly got the Zebrette back to winning ways, with Emmanuel Aygemang-Badu getting the opener after 11 minutes.
French centre-half Thomas Heurtaux doubled the hosts lead with 18 minutes left to play before Parma`s big summer addition, Antonio Cassano, pulled one back for the visitors.
In the 90th minute, pacy Colombian forward Luis Muriel converted a penalty to re-establish Udinese`s two-goal lead and earn Guidolin`s side their first three-points of the new season.
Back at home following a two-week international break, Udinese were grateful to club captain and icon, Antonio Di Natale, in rescuing a point against Bologna.
Italian international and former West Ham United maverick Alessandro Diamanti had Bologna in front in the 71st minute before Di Natale`s 85th-minute equaliser earned the Zebrette a point.
Next up was a visit to Chievo, with Udinese getting off to the ideal start when Brazilian playmaker Maicosuel put them ahead inside a minute.
Unable to build on their early breakthough, Udinese were soon pegged back by Sergio Pellissier`s 13th minute goal before Luca Rigoni won the tie five minutes before half-time.
Returning to Trieste for their penultimate Serie 'A` fixture of September, the Zebrette were once again grateful to their veteran number 10 as Di Natale`s 79th minute strike separated Udinese and Genoa.
In their final fixture of September - played last weekend - Udinese travelled to Atalanta, where they were comfortably beaten 2-0.
A brace from Argentinean forward German Denis - the first in the 45th and the second in the 63rd minute - secured all three points for La Dea.
At the beginning of October Udinese sit 12th in Serie 'A` with fixtures against Cagliari, Milan, Roma and Sassuolo.
In La Liga, an opening day victory over Osasuna had Granada fans cautiously optimistic as the new campaign began.
A 1-0 defeat by Carlo Ancelotti`s stuttering Real Madrid was hardly end-of-the-world stuff, but did began a five-match winless streak which ended in the final weekend of the month.
Having drawn 1-1 with Celta Vigo in their final match of August, El Grana returned to Los Carmenes for their second home fixture of the La Liga season, but were beaten 1-0 by Espanyol.
Manuel Lanzarote`s 76th minute strike sent Granada to defeat before Odion Ighalo`s second yellow card meant that Lucas Alcaraz`s side ended the game with 10 men.
Next up was a goalless draw with Real Betis in Sevilla - bringing a first clean sheet of the season for goalkeeper Roberto.
Valencia were the next visitors to Los Carmenes and Miroslav Dukic`s men came away with all three points thank to Jonas` 90th-minute strike - the Brazilian`s third of the season.
A faltering September came to a close in style as Granada beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at Los Carmenes.
Now under the management of Ernesto Valverde following the departure of the inimitable Marcelo Bielsa, Bilbao were beaten by a brace from Yussuf El-Arabi.
The first came after 53 minutes before a penalty seven minutes later wrapped up a second win of the season for Alcaraz and co. to leave El Grana in a healthy position of 12th.
October brings trips to Villarreal and Elche whilst Getafe and Atletico Madrid visit Los Carmenes.