Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

If you were visiting Parma (for cheese undoubtedly) and decided to drive to Bologna (for some delicious meats to go with the cheese), you would take the A1 southeast, driving by smaller Italian cities like Modena. However, if you were to turn off at Via Modena and go away from that city, you would drive to the city of Sassuolo, an Italian city known for its industry and not for its history or food, unlike many other Italian cities. However, in the fall of 2013, the city will have a new claim to fame – Serie A’s newest member, an accomplishment it has never achieved prior to this year.

Going into their final match of the season, the top three of Serie B was tight, with Sassuolo leading the way by mere points. They had blown a chance to secure promotion the week prior and now hosted a Livorno team that needed a result (preferably a win) to avoid the promotion playoffs. The game was as energetic as was to be expected with so much on the line, and passions flared. The Neroverdi saw two players sent off and the final twenty minutes of the match were ten versus nine. In the 95th minute of the game, Sassuolo caught Livorno on the counter attack and Simone Missiroli, the midfielder who started his career playing for his local team Reggina in Serie A, snuck a shot under the crossbar and into the net for the definitive goal.

To say the goal is historic is not an understatement. The club had never played above Italy’s third professional division until their promotion to Serie B in 2008; the club had been in existence for 86 years! They almost achieved promoted last season but lost in the playoffs to Serie A regular Sampdoria. The club is led by manager Eusebio di Francesco, whose last Serie A stint was a winless thirteen games with Lecce but who has blended a good mix of young loanees (Richmond Boakye and Ramen Chibsah from Juventus, for example), up and comers (Domenico Berardi), and talented role players (Missiroli, Alberto Pomini) into an explosive team. Watch the utter joy

The other club guaranteed a return to Serie A is Hellas Verona, the team covered in Tim Park’s book ‘A Season With Verona’. Five years removed from almost slipping into Serie C2, the 1985 scudetto winners played to a 0-0 draw with Empoli and, coupled with Livorno’s loss, guaranteed themselves second place. The long-awaited return means the famous Derby della Scala will be renewed next season. As mentioned, Livorno slides into third and will be joined in the promotion playoffs with Empoli, Novara, and Brescia, who took the final slot thanks to their 2-0 win over seventh place Varese.

The view of the celebration in Verona from the fans’ section:

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