Catania bowed out of the top flight with a victory, seeing off Atalanta 2-1 in stoppages.
The Elefantini waved a sad goodbye to Serie A, as even their first away win of the season last week wasn’t enough to prevent relegation. Atalanta, on the other hand, had the chance to set a new club record for points in a single top flight campaign after beating Milan 2-1.
Gino Peruzzi was suspended for the hosts with Pablo Barrientos, Keko, Nicolas Spolli and Alexis Rolin sidelined. The Orobici missed Andrea Consigli – who underwent laser eye surgery this week to fix progressive myopia – Guglielmo Stendardo, Riccardo Cazzola, Stefano Lucchini and Cristian Del Grosso.
German Denis went on a slalom through the Catania defence after a couple of minutes to test Alberto Frison. Maxi Moralez also curled over the bar, but at the other end Gonzalo Bergessio failed to make the most of a dreadful Cristian Raimondi backpass.
Alberto Frison had to punch away a very dangerous effort straight after the restart, as Moussa Kone was allowed a totally free header at the back post on a Franco Brienza corner.
Francesco Fedato tested the Atalanta goalkeeper from distance, while Yohan Benalouane’s header forced Frison into a save.
Catania finally broke the deadlock on 65 minutes, as Francesco Lodi burst into the box with a give-and-go on Bergessio, placing the angled drive into the far bottom corner with the inside of his left boot. It was Lodi’s first Serie A goal from open play since October 2009.
However, the Stadio Massimino crowd went from silence to jeering, as they did not appreciate this relegation to Serie B after eight years.
That goal seemed to wake the team up and moments later Fabian Monzon crossed for a Fedato diving header on to the upright.
Atalanta also threatened, but Olausson volleyed off target and Serie A debutant Caldara’s header from a corner was well smothered.
It was so nearly 2-0 for Catania on 79 minutes, but Sportiello performed a fantastic save to claw Bergessio’s header out before it could completely cross the line.
However, less than 60 seconds later Atalanta had equalised. Frison did brilliantly to fingertip a Denis blockbuster on to the woodwork, but Kone was fastest to react on the rebound.
Bergessio had a wonderful opportunity when springing the offside trap, but scuffed his angled drive off target.
Sportiello was at full stretch for a save from point-blank range on Gyomber, but in stoppages Catania were awarded a penalty. Aveni had put the ball into the net, but only after the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot for a Pablo Betancourt handling offence. Bergessio stepped up and buried the powerful spot-kick to give Catania victory.
However, the game ended with huge tension, as the Catania players threw their shirts to the fans and had them flung straight back with an angry protest.