Serie A promotion watch: Sassuolo hoping it's third time lucky

Marco Luzzani

It's the penultimate round of Serie B fixtures, in which Sassuolo will once again look to seal their promotion. Here's a look at the key clashes near the top.

Friday, 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local:

Livorno vs. Brescia

Friday night sees a clash of Serie B titans, as third-place Livorno host a Brescia team currently only just inside the top six. A win for Livorno would see them temporarily move up to second and into an automatic promotion spot, while Brescia will be chasing the victory which guarantees their playoff position going into the final round of the season.

Saturday, 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. local:

Empoli vs. Cittadella

Everyone currently vying for a playoff place are Empoli fans. That's because in Serie B, the side in fourth has to finish within ten points of third for there to be any playoffs at all. If they don't, the top three are automatically promoted. With the gap between Empoli -- who are guaranteed fourth -- and Livorno -- provisional third -- being eight points, they'll hope to keep the pressure on with victory against a struggling Cittadella.

Juve Stabia vs. Hellas Verona

Hellas Verona are second at the start of the round, having won their last three games consecutively. They know that they're just two wins away from confirming promotion, and should be able to beat a Juve Stabia side who haven't won in four this weekend. The vespe looked like promotion contenders themselves at the start of the season, though have faded badly. They're chasing the win which will guarantee their Serie B survival.

Modena vs. Vicenza

Modena slipped up with a loss to mid-table Crotone in their last match, in a defeat which appeared to spell the end of their promotion hopes. They are still in with a mathematical chance of making the top six, though with a five point gap to bridge in the final two games, they need a miracle. They host a Vicenza side two points adrift in the relegation zone, and in desperate need of a victory. A loss could see them relegated this weekend.

Pro Vercelli vs. Novara

Pro Vercelli don't have relegation to worry about -- that's because it's already a mathematical inevitability. However, they can still go down with some pride intact if they can win this Piedmontese derby match at home to their rivals Novara. Alfredo Aglietti's team -- who were in Serie A themselves last season -- had only dropped nine points all year up until late March. In the three games since they've dropped eight, and will be searching for a victory that means they keep their place in the playoffs. Their buffer is currently just a single point.

Virtus Lanciano vs. Sassuolo

Sassuolo have already failed to take two chances at sealing promotion, though the league leaders will surely confirm it here. They travel to play a Virtus Lanciano side only a point above the relegation playout places, and a win for the neroverdi would again guarantee a historic promotion to Serie A.

Monday, 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local:

Varese vs. Crotone

Varese are currently being kept out of the top six by Brescia on goal difference alone, and they face a tough game against the inconsistent Crotone next. They'll hope to capitalise on any points dropped by the rondinelle against Livorno on Friday night, before they play them next weekend. Exciting.

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