Pro12: Benetton Treviso 11-22 Ulster
|Treviso (6) 11|
|Try: Benvenuti Pens: Allan 2|
|Ulster (10) 22|
|Tries: L Marshall, Herring, Pienaar Con: Pienaar 2 Pen: Pienaar|
Ulster exploited Filo Paulo's second-half sin-binning as they held off improving Treviso in the Pro12 game at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
Luke Marshall's early try helped Ulster lead 7-0 but Treviso bossed most of the first period as two Tommaso Allan kicks cut the margin to 10-6 by half-time.
However, captain Rob Herring and Ruan Pienaar scored Ulster tries during Paulo's absence in the third quarter.
After Herring's sin-binning, Tommaso Benvenuti notched a late Treviso try.
The injury-time score was nothing more than Treviso deserved after they had controversially been denied a try minutes earlier when referee Dudley Phillips adjudged that Andrea Buondonno had knocked on before replacement scrum-half Edoardo Gori touched down.
In between Gori's disallowed effort and Barbini's last-ditch score, tenacious Treviso defending prevented Ulster from notching a bonus-point clinching score.
After following up last weekend's opening win over the Dragons with another victory, Ulster are a point behind leaders Glasgow, who defeated Leinster 33-25 at Scotstoun on Saturday.
Ulster regroup after first-half struggle
After struggling with Treviso's enterprise and physicality during the first half, Ulster were much more solid in the second period with the introduction of impressive lock Peter Browne making a big difference.
Ulster started well as Ireland centre Marshall burrowed his way over in the fourth minute after sustained early pressure.
However, Treviso, now coached by former Canada boss Kieran Crowley, dominated the remainder of the first period with their efforts not being helped by a glaring penalty miss by Allan in the 16th minute.
In contrast, Pienaar landed a long-range Ulster penalty in the 30th minute, although Treviso were furious that Marshall had not been penalised for offside prior to the fly-half's successful kick.
Allan's second successful penalty in the 35th minute was scant reward for intense Treviso pressure which included a superb break from full-back Jayden Hayward.
New Zealander Paulo's sin-binning on 50 minutes came after the lock had been adjudged to have delivered a late hit on Ulster replacement prop Ross Kane.
As Ulster sensed their opportunity, Sean Reidy wasted a glorious chance to score as he knocked on, but skipper Herring made no mistake in the 54th minute after a line-out drive.
Within three minutes, Pienaar had scored Ulster's third try as he ran in unopposed under the posts.
To the credit, Treviso maintained their enterprise and a deserved try came at the death as a clever crosskick from former Leinster player Ian McKinley's set up Benvenuti's score.
Treviso: J Hayward; A Esposito, T Benvenuti, L McLean (capt), A Buondonno; T Allan, G Bronzini; N Quaglio, O Gega, S Ferrari; M Fuser, F Paulo; F Minto, M Lazzaroni, M Barbini
Replacements: R Santamaria for Gega 48, A De Marchi for Quaglio 56, T Pasquali for Ferrari 56, F Gerosa, D Budd for Paulo 68, E Gori for Bronzini, I McKinley for Allan 72, D Odiete for Esposito 56.
Ulster: L Ludik; R Lyttle, L Marshall, S Olding, J Stockdale; B Herron, R Pienaar; K McCall, R Herring (capt), R Ah You; K Treadwell, F van der Merwe; C Ross, S Reidy, R Wilson.
Replacements: J Andrew for van der Merwe 68, A Warwick for McCall 71, R Kane for Ah You 48, P Browne for Treadwell 43, R Diack for Wilson 61 S McCloskey for Herron 73, D Cave for Marshall 55; Not used: A Lloyd
Referee: D Phillips