Udinese's last-gasp penalty drama sends Sassuolo down

football19 May 2024 15:30| © AFP
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Sassoul players @ Getty images

Sassuolo's 11-year stay in Serie A came to an end in dramatic fashion on Sunday after they lost 2-0 to Cagliari and Udinese snatched a 1-1 draw with Empoli in the 14th minute of stoppage time.

Matteo Prati and Gianluca Lapadula ensured Cagliari of a place in Italy's top flight with goals in the 71st and 91st minutes in Reggio Emilia.

Sassuolo thought they still had a chance of fighting for survival on the final day of the season after M'Baye Niang's penalty gave Empoli a 90th-minute lead at Udinese.

But eight minutes later Jacopo Fazzi pulled back Roberto Pereyra just as the Argentine looked set to level for Udinese from close range.

And after a long VAR check, Lazar Samardzic thumped home the equaliser from the spot with the last kick of the game.

That draw and Frosinone winning 1-0 at Monza left second-from-bottom Sassuolo five points from Udinese, who sit one point above Empoli and the relegation zone, with one match remaining.

Later, Inter Milan will hold aloft the Serie A trophy as a major debt deadline looms which could lead to the club changing hands within a matter of days.

What is supposed to be a weekend of celebration has been overshadowed by the Tuesday deadline for the repayment of around 395 million euros ($429 million) to US fund Oaktree.

A source told AFP on Saturday that it was "unlikely" that Inter's Chinese owners Suning would be able to fulfil its obligation to Oaktree.

That means Oaktree could repossess the club in a similar manner to how AC Milan were acquired by another US fund, Elliott Management, six years ago.