Sunday, 10 June 2007

Napoli and Genoa secure promotion

Fans invaded the pitch in Genoa as soon as they heard Piacenza's result.
Piacenza's home draw against struggling Triestina coupled with a tense goalless draw between Genoa and Napoli means the two former Italian champions return to Serie A after a dramatic and chaotic final day in Serie B.

The game in Genoa was billed as a virtual promotion play-off, but in the end the two sides joined champions Juventus in going up under Serie B's complicated promotion rules. The draw meant Napoli finished second on 79 points and Genoa stayed third on 78 points.

Normally only the top two are automatically promoted but as Genoa finished 10 points above fourth-placed Piacenza, who drew 1-1 with Triestina, they took a third automatic spot and avoided the need for play-offs between third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

When the final result from Piacenza appeared on the Stadio Luigi Ferraris scoreboard which, all but confirmed Napoli and Genoa’s promotion, fans invaded the pitch to celebrate even though their match was not finished. Several players were left on the field only with their underwear on as ecstatic fans stripped the shirts and shorts off the players.

However, the referee said the remaining minute of the six-minute stoppage time had to be played and once the fans had been cleared from the pitch, club officials had to find spare kit for some of the players.

The final day clash was a tight affair although Genoa's Julio Cesar Leon went close twice in the second period. There had been some trouble before the kick-off but both sets of fans celebrated together at the end of the delay.

Both sides have now completed successive promotions from Serie C1 and join Juventus in the top flight next season.

Piacenza's 1-1 result wasn't enough for the play-offs.

Piacenza's failure to win means that the other two sides who finished in the top six, Rimini and Brescia, miss out on the chance of promotion via the play-offs.

Rimini beat play-off chasing rivals Mantova 2-1, a result which meant the visitors dropped out of the play-off area. Brescia's 4-2 win against Cesena took them into the top six but they got nothing for their efforts. Bologna, who had an outside chance to get into the top six, crushed Albinoleffe 5-2 but they miss out too.

[Video: Chaotic finish in Genoa] - [Chaotic finish, in pictures] - [Photos] - [Serie B Week 42 Review] - [Napoli "back from hell"] - [Genoa enjoy promotion party] - [Reaction: Napoli coach] - [Reaction: Genoa coach] - [Serie A 2007-08]

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