Fabio Quagliarella struck twice as Udinese Calcio took a giant step towards the UEFA Cup knockout stage with a 2-1 victory against FC Spartak Moskva in the Russian capital.
The Italian international put Udinese ahead in the 12th minute before Clemente Rodríguez levelled five minutes later. The Spartak defender was later penalised for a foul on Simone Pepe in the box, and 25-year-old Quagliarella stepped up to beat Stipe Pletikosa from the spot to give the Friuli Stadium side their second Group D win. Pasquale Marino's men defeated Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-0 at home on Matchday 1.
Off the bar
Spartak, playing their first group-stage game, carved out the first chance of the tie when Vladimir Bystrov's effort from inside the area forced giant goalkeeper Samir Handanovič to palm the ball away for a corner. However, Udinese responded with a Quagliarella volley from Giovanni Pasquale's pass that got the better of Pletikosa but rebounded back off the crossbar.
Quagliarella made no mistake shortly afterwards, receiving Pepe's pass before surging inside the box and rifling a right-footed shot past the Spartak keeper. Udinese's joy was short-lived, though, as Rodríguez latched on to Aleksandr Pavlenko's corner to restore parity.
Handanovič did well to save Aleksandr Prudnikov's stinging drive before half-time, and Michael Laudrup's Spartak continued to dominate possession after the restart. However, it was Udinese who took the lead through Quagliarella's penalty on the hour. The Russian team did not give up, though. Bystrov rattled the upright from distance before Pasquale's dismissal reduced Udinese to ten men. Handanovič then made a formidable one-handed save to frustrate Radoslav Kováč with two minutes remaining.