Serie A: Lecce, Brescia, SPAL are relegated, Genoa survived again

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Lecce became the last club to be relegated to the Serie B after the final round of matches in the Italian Serie A 2019-2020 season which was played on Sunday, August 2. They will join relegated Brescia and SPAL in Serie B next season.

Recall that the season which was originally scheduled to run from 24 August 2019 to 24 May 2020, was suspended on 9 March 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. After three months of no league football in Italy, the league resumed on June 20 and officially ended on Sunday, August 2.

SPAL which finished the Serie A season at the bottom of the table with 20 points, was the first to be relegated, followed by Brescia which finished the season on the 19th spot with 25 points.

Lecce had to wait until their last game of the season before they could confirm whether they would remain in the Italian Serie A or return to the second tier of the league. The battle for the last team that would drop from the apex league was between Lecce and Genoa; they had 35 and 36 points respectively before their last game on Sunday.

All Lecce needed to do was to win 11th placed Parma with any goal margin and hope that Genoa would lose or draw their match against Hellas Verona. Unfortunately for the team that gained promotion to the Serie A after the 2018-2019 season, they were beaten 4-3 at home by Parma.

Their defensive line was so culpable that before the first 25 minutes of the match, they were already two goals down, the first was an own goal scored by Lecce’s 32-year-old defender Fabio Lucioni in the 11th minute of the match.

Despite the poor start, Lecce was able to brace up for a fightback and their effort started yielding result as Antonin Barak pulled one back in the 40th minute and Biagio Meccariello equalized before the end of first-half.

Parma resumed the second half like a house on fire as they took the lead again in the 52nd minute and then doubled their lead in the 66th minute. Lecce tried to stage another come back when Gianluca Lapadula pulled one back in the 68th minute but they couldn’t do more than that as the thrilling encounter ended 3-4 in favor of the visitors.

Serie A: How Genoa Survived the fall

Genoa players celebrating their manager after they survived relegation in Italian Serie A for the second time in two seasons.
Genoa players celebrating their manager, Davide Nicola, after they survived relegation in Italian Serie A for the second time in two seasons.

On the other hand, Genoa survived the relegation battle for the second time in two straight seasons after defeating 9th placed Verona 3-0. From the blast of the whistle, Genoa proved that they needed the match more than Verona as they took an early two-goal lead via Genoa’s Antonio Sanabria’s goals in the 13th and the 25th minute.

Cristian Romero who was later sent-off in the second half scored in the 44th minute to give Genoa a comfortable 3 goals lead. There was nothing the visitors could do throughout the second half as they failed to score any goal.

Genoa's Francesco Cassata and Verona's Sofyan Amrabat at the verge of going physical during the Serie A match.
Genoa’s Francesco Cassata and Verona’s Sofyan Amrabat at the verge of going physical during the Serie A match.

However, in the 90th minute, the match almost ended in anti-climax as there was stiff rancor between the two teams which almost resulted in a physical fight. The referee was left with no choice than to award a red card to Genoa’s Francesco Cassata and Verona’s Sofyan Amrabat in the 91st minute. At the end of the day, the match ended 3-0 in favor of Genoa which was enough to help them finish 17th on the league table with 39 points. The win has guaranteed them Serie A football next season.