Cesena became the 20th member of Serie A for 2014-15 after completing a 4-2 aggregate victory over Latina in the Serie B playoffs.
While most football fans were engrossed in the World Cup, for over 11,000 followers of Cesena and Latina, a lot more was at stake on Wednesday night. The crowning glory or a bitter ending to 10 months of hard labour was decided at the Stadio Francioni.
For Latina, who ended the regular season in third -- one position and two points above Cesena -- it was a case of the latter as their opponents from Emilia-Romagna, relegated from the top flight just two years ago, triumphed 2-1 to seal their fifth ever promotion to Serie A. It also represented the third time their coach Pierpaolo Bisoli had led them up a division after 2009 and 2010.
"It was a magical evening," said Bisoli, 47. "This is nothing short of a miracle for us. We've been in or around the playoff zone all season and we deserve this promotion, but credit to Latina. I hope to enjoy Serie A at the [Stadio] Manuzzi, maybe with [Guido] Marilingo, who has proven he has recovered from his previous injuries."
Those words will comfort Cesena fans, who saw Bisoli walk away from the club to take charge of Cagliari the last time he led them up. He returned following their relegation in 2012, leading them to promotion again within two years, thanks in no small part to the goals of former Sampdoria forward Marilungo, on loan from Atalanta, who netted twice at crucial times in the playoffs.
"We deserve this place in Serie A," Marilungo said to Sky Sport Italia. "Compliments to Latina, but we all know that in games like these, one team's going to be shedding tears of joy with the other tears of sadness."