Sampdoria fought back and parried a penalty to earn a 2-1 promotion play-off first leg victory over Sassuolo.
Sassuolo finished third in Serie B this season and were the favourites to progress, making a strong start at Marassi.
However, their early pressure was wasted when Gianluca Sansone saw his penalty saved by Samp goalkeeper Da Costa.
Sassuolo did take the lead soon after with Nicola Pozzi accidentally deflecting a Simone Missiroli header into his own net when trying to clear.
The Blucerchiati equalised on the stroke of half-time when Eder pounced on a Piccioni defensive error to nod into an empty net.
After the break Samp turned the situation around completely with Pozzo’s header from close range on an Eder assist.
This evening Varese-Verona is the first leg of the other play-off semi-final, while the second legs are on Saturday June 2.
In the semi-finals away goals and aggregate scores do not count. The teams receive three points for a win and one for a draw, so goal difference is only taken into consideration if they are level on points.
There is no extra time or penalties in the semi-finals. If the sides are level on points and goal difference, then the team that finished higher up the table during the season – in this case Sassuolo – would go through.
Sampdoria 2-1 Sassuolo
Scorers: Missiroli 35 (Sas), Eder 45 (Sam), Pozzi 54 (Sam)
Saved penalty: Sansone 33 (Sas)