Crotone completed the miraculous comeback to make sure their first Serie A season was not their last, as Empoli capitulated in Palermo.
The Calabrese side were in the bottom three since the moment they were promoted from Serie B, but were just one point adrift of Empoli going into the final round – and had a superior head-to-head record.
Adrian Stoian and Marcello Trotta missed out, while the Aquile needed a victory to end the season in fourth place after Atalanta’s victory yesterday. Wesley Hoedt, Senad Lulic and on-form hitman Keita Balde Diao were suspended with Federico Marchetti and Jordan Lukaku injured, so Felipe Anderson went into a more advanced role.
Alex Cordaz performed a crucial save on Ciro Immobile and Crotone broke the deadlock soon after, as Marcus Rohden got down the right and pulled back for Andrea Nalini, who got there before Dusan Basta to drill home from 12 yards.
Diego Falcinelli rose to nod a free kick in off the underside of the crossbar to double Crotone’s lead.
However, Mario Sampirisi clumsily clattered into the back of Patric elbow on his head inside the penalty area, when he didn’t seem to be posing much danger. Immobile stepped up and converted the spot-kick to pull one back.
The Biancocelesti risked another penalty, as Immobile sprung the offside trap and took a while to get the ball under control, by which point Ferrari had sprinted back for a last-ditch tackle.
Felipe Anderson’s cross found Alessandro Murgia at the near post, but he prodded it just off target from close range.
Lazio went down to 10 men just before half-time, as Bastos received his second yellow card for a mistimed tackle on Nalini.
Crotone created a cushion with Nalini’s second of the game, though he had never scored in Serie A before this evening. Ferrari knocked a Barberis corner down for Nalini’s header from close range.
Against 10 men, Crotone controlled the game and waited for news from Palermo, where they needed Empoli to not win.
Sent off: Bastos 42 (L)