Palermo secure Serie A safety with Verona victory

Palermo (Italy) (AFP) – Palermo secured their Serie A status for next season by beating bottom club Verona 3-2 in an action-packed encounter on Sunday, meaning that Carpi are relegated despite a 2-1 win at Udinese.

Palermo chairman Maurizio Zamparini has made eight managerial changes in a turbulent season, but second-half headers from Enzo Maresca and Alberto Gilardino at the Stadio Renzo Barbera were enough to complete an unlikely escape in Davide Ballardini’s second spell as head coach this term.

The Rosanero avoided the drop by just one point on the final day of the season, while Carpi joined Verona and Frosinone in falling to Serie B next season.

Palermo drew first blood in the fight for survival as Franco Vazquez picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area in the 28th minute for his eighth goal of the season.

Giampaolo Pazzini fired a warning shot to Ballardini’s men when he rattled the post for already-relegated Verona in Sicily.

The game boiled over in the 35th minute when both sides were reduced to 10 men.

Palermo winger Michel Morganella appeared to lash out at Verona’s Pawel Wszolek with his elbow, but the two were both shown straight red cards.

With Carpi already well on their way to victory at Udinese, hosts Palermo knew they had to win to stay up, and they were indebted to their goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino when he turned Luca Siligardi’s close-range shot onto the woodwork.

Early in the second half Palermo were dealt a hammer blow to their hopes, as Federico Viviani rifled in a fantastic strike after being picked out by Romulo.

But the home crowd were sent into delirium just a few minutes later when Maresca met a long throw-in into the box with a diving header that looped over visiting keeper Pierluigi Gollini.

Former Italy striker Gilardino powered in a third to seemingly put the result beyond any doubt.

There was to be another twist, as Verona full-back Eros Pisano managed to bundle Viviani’s free-kick in at the back post with six minutes still to play, but Palermo held on to both the win and their place in Italy’s top flight.

Simone Verdi’s first-half brace helped Carpi past 10-man Udinese, but the victory was not enough to prevent an immediate return to the second tier.

Antonio Di Natale came off the bench to score a consolation from the penalty spot for the home side, the goal coming on his final appearance of a fine career for unfashionable Udinese.

Elsewhere on Sunday night, fifth-placed Fiorentina signed off for the season with a 4-2 win at Lazio.

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