Venezia Come Back to Serie A After Nineteen Years of Absence

The Serie A roster for the upcoming 2021-2022 season is complete as Venezia grabbed the last ticket to the top-flight at the end of a dramatic double-legged Serie B playoff with regional neighbors Cittadella. The Lagunari prevailed 2-1 on aggregate to reach back the Serie A for the first time in 19 years.

For Cittadella, on the other hand, this is yet another disappointment as the Granata crashed out in the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, losing in the Final twice in the last three years. After losing the first leg of the all-Venetian battle 0-1, the Citta needed to win by a two-goal margin to get promoted and indeed took an early lead on Thursday night with Federico Proia.

But despite playing with a one-man advantage after Pasquale Mazzocchi received his marching orders, Cittadella failed to pose any additional threat to 36-year-old goalkeeper Niki Maepaa. During stoppage time, the Lagunari equalized with Venice-born veteran Riccardo Bocalon, who made the best out of a pass from Fiorentina-owned starlet Youssef Maleh.

Coached by 38-year-old former Serie A player Paolo Zanetti, the Arancioneroverdi (“Orange-black-and-green”) came from an 11th place in the second division table last time around and were a true underdog in the Serie B season. They were, however, able to best the likes of Chievo Verona and Lecce earlier in the playoffs before prevailing in the regional derby.

It is an authentic miracle for Zanetti, who was only living his fourth season as a manager and was axed by Ascoli last season after the new-year turn with his side lying at the bottom of the table.

Venezia have already collected 12 seasons in the top flight, the most recent ones dating back to the turn of the century, when they could feature players like Alvaro Recoba and Filippo Maniero, with Cesare Prandelli sitting on the bench. It is a welcome return for the football club coming from one of the most famous Italian cities.

For what concerns Cittadella – who represent a small town of just 20,000 inhabitants – one can just hope that they will continue to push for their dream of reaching the top-flight. If they were to succeed one day, they would become the club from the smallest city to ever make it to the Serie A.