Sunday, 6 May 2007

Ascoli & Messina relegated

Ascoli and Messina were both relegated from Serie A after defeats this afternoon.

The duo went into their games, against Torino and champions Inter respectively, knowing that even victory might not be enough to retain their top-flight status. Both were consigned to playing Serie B football next season after 1-0 defeats, with bottom side Ascoli going down to an 18th-minute Alessandro Rosina strike and Messina beaten by a 71st-minute close-range finish by Hernan Crespo for the Serie A champions.

The Bianconeri were surprisingly handed a place in the top flight a few weeks before the start of the 2005-06 season after Torino went bankrupt in Serie B. The Marche club, who were languishing in Serie C as recently as 2002, shocked everyone by finishing in mid-table safety in their first year – although inexperienced coach Marco Giampaolo had to take a back seat when he lacked the necessary coaching qualifications.

Attilio Tesser tried to repeat last season’s heroics but after a poor start he was fired in November after the 1-0 home defeat to Empoli in Round 11, which left them just one place above the relegation zone. The club appointed 65-year old Nedo Sonetti but that wasn't enough as the club return back down to Serie B after two years in the top flight.

Messina expected to play this season in Serie B following their bottom three finish last season, but Juve's demotion following the Calciopoli scandal gave them a reprieve.

After a good start to the season, the Sicilian side's form slipped at the turn of the year. The club parted company with coach Bruno Giordano following an embarrassing 2-1 home defeat to Ascoli in January. They appointed Alberto Cavasin but he only lasted two months as the Sicilian's reinstated Giordano at the start of April.

He's return to the Stadio San Filippo didn't long last either as he was sacked for the second time at the club just three weeks after he was reappointed. He was replaced by Bruno Bolchi until the end of the campaign to save the club against relegation - but he has failed and the club return to Serie B after a three-year stay in top flight.

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