Football: Soccer-Venezia return to Serie A after 20-year absence


(Reuters) – Venezia will play in Serie A for the first time in 20 years next season after a stoppage-time equaliser earned them a 1-1 draw with Cittadella in the Serie B playoff final on Thursday to secure a 2-1 aggregate win.

The Venice club came into the home second leg with a 1-0 advantage but went behind to a Federico Proia goal after 26 minutes and had Pasquale Mazzocchi sent off 10 minutes later.

But Riccardo Bocalon’s 93rd-minute leveller put Venezia back in front on aggregate to seal their return to the top flight, which they last graced in 2001-02.

Venezia finished fifth in the Serie B standings but knocked out Chievo Verona, Lecce and Cittadella to come out on top of the six-team playoffs.

Empoli were crowned Serie B champions to book their return to the top flight and Salernitana finished second to seal the other automatic promotion spot.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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