Pippo Inzaghi’s Venezia are a step closer to promotion after beating Alessandro Nesta’s Perugia 3-0, setting up a play-off semi-final with Palermo.
It was a reunion of old Milan and Italy teammates, as Inzaghi was in charge of Venezia (albeit in the stands due to a touchline ban) and Nesta only took charge of Perugia last month.
The winners go on to face Palermo in the semi-final on June 6 and 10, while the other tie is between Cittadella and Frosinone on the same days.
Veteran Alessandro Diamanti forced a great save out of Juventus-owned Emil Audero with his curler, but there was nothing that could be done to keep out the spectacular Venezia opener.
A loose ball came to Leo Stulac, who from a good 25-30 metres out arrowed a ferocious finish with wicked bend into the far top corner.
The 23-year-old Slovenian midfielder has been on decisive form, as he scored three in the last five rounds of the regular season, overall six goals and four assists in 21 games.
It should’ve been 2-0 at the iconic Stadio Penzo (which can only be reached by boat), but Sergio Suciu twice failed to make the most of promising opportunities with poor control, and Audero made an impressive one-handed reaction save on Alberto Cerri.
Nicola Leali’s save on an Alex Geijo header from a corner was remarkable, but Marco Modolo tapped in the rebound to double Venezia’s lead.
Perugia tried pouring forward, but were left hopelessly exposed as Marco Pinato scored on the counter-attack.
It’s a great climb for Venezia, who went bankrupt several times over the last few years, most recently forced to begin again from Serie D in July 2015.
They earned two consecutive promotions and are now in the semi-finals of the Serie B play-offs.
Parma already secured three promotions in a row to get back into Serie A after bankruptcy and the Lagunari could well follow.
Venezia 3-0 Perugia
Stulac 30 (V), Modolo 74 (V), Pinato 81 (V)