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Soccer-Verona beat Spezia to retain Serie A status in relegation playoff

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(Reuters) – Hellas Verona secured another season in Serie A on Sunday after defeating Spezia 3-1 in their relegation playoff, with Cyril Ngonge’s two goals sending Spezia into the second tier.

Both Spezia and Verona finished on 31 points this season in 17th and 18th respectively, with the sides facing a single playoff match at a neutral ground, Sassuolo’s Mapei Stadium, to decide who would stay in Serie A.

Davide Faraoni gave Verona the lead after five minutes, with Ethan Ampadu equalising 10 minutes later.

Ngonge then scored in the 26th minute and sealed the win seven minutes before the interval.

Spezia had the opportunity to reduce the deficit when Faraoni made a goal-saving handball and received a straight red card. However, M’Bala Nzola was unable to convert the penalty.

Cagliari clinched the final promotion spot from Serie B earlier on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Bari, giving them a 2-1 aggregate win. They will join Frosinone and Genoa in Serie A for the upcoming season.

Spezia will follow Sampdoria and Cremonese down to Serie B.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Toby Davis)

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