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Reggina send Atalanta down to Serie B
( 2003-06-03 10:14 ) (7 )

Emiliano Bonazzoli scored an 85th minute winner as Reggina came from behind to win their Serie A relegation playoff, second-leg match 2-1 against Atalanta on Monday.

After the first leg in Reggio Calabria had ended goalless the win was enough to secure top-flight football next season for Serie A's only southern club and send Bergamo side Atalanta back to Serie B after three seasons in the top division.

Atalanta went ahead in the 18th minute when defender Cesare Natali fired in a low shot from a corner but Reggina pulled level in the 33rd minute when Francesco Cozza squeezed a shot over Atalanta keeper Massimo Taibi.

A 1-1 draw would have been enough for Reggina to secure an away-goals win and Atalanta piled on the pressure after the break but Reggina keeper Emanuele Belardi was in fine form and produced an excellent save to keep out an effort from Carmine Gautieri.

But, against the run of play, Bonazzoli, on loan from Parma, made survival safe with a left-foot strike five minutes from the end.

"We got this result by playing with all our power and showing all our character out there," said Reggina coach Luigi De Canio. "Above all I want to thank the fans who made the journey up here - they were the ones who were able to give us the final push".

The playoff was needed after the two teams finished level on points as goal difference is not taken into account in the Italian league.

The game was originally scheduled to have been played on Sunday but heavy rain forced a postponement.

Torino, Como and Piacenza had already been relegated from Serie A while Sampdoria and Siena have won two of the four promotion places from Serie B.



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