Featured Matches
Previous
Colorado
Chivas USA
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Vestsjaelland
Odense BK
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
UCD
Derry City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bohemians
Cork
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shamrock
Drogheda Utd
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colorado
Chivas USA
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
Altamira
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Necaxa
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Oeste
Luverdense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
América RN
América Mineiro
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Boa MG
Bragantino
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Antofagasta
Audax Italiano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Real Garcilaso
Melgar
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
Deportivo Capiatá
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Western New York Flash
Boston Breakers
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 20, 2004

Fiorentina complete return to Serie A

ROME, June 20 (Reuters) - Twice Italian champions Fiorentina completed a fairytale return to Serie A on Sunday, when they drew the second leg of their playoff against Perugia 1-1 to triumph 2-1 on aggregate.

More than 30,000 spectators, including ex-Fiorentina player Gabriel Batistuta, packed into Florence's Franchi stadium to watch striker Enrico Fantini put the home side ahead in the 47th minute.

Fantini, who had also scored in the first leg, was sent off for a second bookable offence 10 minutes later.

Perugia grabbed a late equalizer through Brazilian striker Guilherme Do Prado, but could not find a second goal to avoid relegation to next season's Serie B.

For Fiorentina the win ended a turbulent two-year exile from the top-flight following relegation to Serie C2, Italy's fourth division, after being declared bankrupt.

Their return to Serie A had special meaning for veteran midfielder Angelo Di Livio. Two years ago the 37-year-old was playing for Italy at the World Cup but he stayed with Fiorentina throughout their troubles.

'I want to thank all the lads that played this year and last. They've done a great job and never gave up on the hope of Serie A,' he said.

'Personally, I didn't want to turn my back on this city.'

Fiorentina lost their name and most of their leading players with relegation.

Renamed Florentia Viola, their prospects of a speedy return to Serie A appeared slim. But with the financial backing of their new owner, the shoe manufacturer Della Valle, allied to hefty local support, the club bought back the right to use their historic name and duly won the C2 title.

Fiorentina were then elevated to Serie B at the beginning of this season as part of the expansion of the division taken after a series of legal disputes during the close season.

Earlier this month they finished sixth in Serie B to win the right to a playoff against the 15th-placed Serie A side, Perugia, for a place in the top division.

'We're delighted - for the team, for the fans, for the city,' said club president Diego Della Valle.

'We've returned to Serie A as fast as possible.'

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.