Sassuolo were unable to make the most of their possession in Friuli on Saturday evening as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Udinese.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side started on the front foot, but the Zebrette were well-organised and were well up to the task of keeping their visitors out.
The hosts then started to threaten, and Fernando Llorente warmed up after a slow start. The Spaniard had a low shot turned away by a quick reaction save from Andrea Consigli, but he wasn’t to be kept out for long.
Just before the break, a perfect Nahuel Molina ball put between the retreating defence and Consigli found Llorente, and the forward poked home with an outstretched toe, all while being dragged to ground by Kaan Ayhan.
De Zerbi introduced both Ciccio Caputo and Filip Djuricic at the break in an attempt to get Sassuolo back onto terms but Udinese stood firm, so Gregoire Defrel joined them and came on after the hour mark.
The Neroverdi looked to turn the screw, but a technically exquisite volley from Rodrigo De Paul at the other end clipped the frame of Consigli’s goal after the Argentine had teed himself up outside the area.
Roberto Pereyra sealed the win for the Zebrette in stoppage time, getting on the end of an assist from De Paul.
Udinese now sit 10th in the Serie A table, four points behind Sassuolo in ninth.