Serie A promotion watch: Modena deny Sassuolo promotion

Maurizio Lagana

They were 15 minutes from guaranteeing themselves Serie A football, though Sassuolo's promotion celebrations were cruelly postponed by rivals Modena. Here's a recap of round 39's key promotion clashes.

Modena 2-1 Sassuolo

It was a cruel night to be a Sassuolo fan. With 15 minutes to go the celebratory t-shirts were sat in the tunnel and the champagne was on ice. And then Modena's Matteo Ardemagni scored. Twice.

In the Modena derby the Serie B top scorer netted a brace in the final quarter-of-an-hour to prevent Sassuolo from winning their first ever Serie A promotion, with Modena themselves staying in contention for the playoffs with a 2-1 victory. The result means a win against Padova in the next round will still see Sassuolo promoted, but they squandered their chance to sweetly settle it in front of their rivals. As for the canarini, they're four points adrift of the top six.

Reggina 0-1 Brescia

They made hard work of it, but Brescia won a dismal match at the Oreste Granillo against Reggina, who are currently occupying a relegation playout place. The win means the rondinelle keep the pressure on the top six -- they're currently two points adrift, and are ready to pounce on any slip-ups from the team above them, Varese.

Varese 2-0 Cittadella

However, the leopardi didn't slip up in their potential banana-skin match against Cittadella at the Franco Ossola. They took a deserved lead after half-an-hour, and, aided by a Cittadella red card early in the second half, they comfortably won 2-0. They cling to their playoff place by a couple of points.

Ascoli 0-5 Hellas Verona

A terrible performance from an Ascoli side on the brink of relegation saw Hellas Verona cruise to victory, scoring all five goals in the first half. Come to think of it, Hellas' half-time team talk probably consisted of the bianconeri coach Massimo Silva begging for mercy, with his side's problems exacerbated by having a defender sent off. The mastini obliged and eased up after the break, with their win meaning they stay in third place -- within a point of Livorno and automatic promotion.

Livorno 2-0 Vicenza

Had Livorno defied the odds and dropped points at home to Vicenza, Hellas would've leapfrogged them in the table. As it happened, they didn't, taking a comfortable 2-0 win against a team currently in the bottom three. They took the lead from a penalty in the opening five minutes, and never looked like losing it. It took a while, but Paulinho's goal just after the hour sealed the victory, with Livorno staying four points off Sassuolo in second place.

Padova 3-3 Novara

Novara were left kicking themselves after they failed to hold onto a 3-1 lead against Padova, eventually drawing 3-3. It was an uncharacteristically shaky performance from Alfredo Aglietti's biancoazzurri, who are looking to bounce back to Serie A at the first time of asking. After going two goals ahead they collapsed, and eventually conceded in the 94th minute after being under siege for most of the second half. Things could've been even worse -- their keeper Francesco Bardi saved two Padova penalties. The Piedmontese side still have a four point buffer inside the top six, though threw away a good chance to make their position even healthier here.

Empoli 1-0 Cesena

In arguably the most significant result of the weekend, fourth-place side Empoli managed to squeeze past mid-table Cesena, courtesy of a penalty from Francesco Tavano in the first half. It was their only goal, though nevertheless came in a deserved -- and important -- victory. They've now mathematically guaranteed their place in the top six, though for the playoffs to go ahead at all they need to finish within ten points of the third-place team -- currently Hellas Verona. With that gap nine points at the moment, the rest of the top six are praying the Tuscans don't lose their impetus in the final three games.

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