There have been some dramatic encounters in the Serie B playoffs with Cremonese and Venezia reaching the final tie to see who will join Parma and Como in Serie A.

The Grigiorossi reached the decisive playoff tie after they defeated Catanzaro 6-3 on aggregate while the Arancioneroverdi secured their place after winning 3-1 on aggregate against Palermo. Cremonese will host the first leg of the Serie B Playoff Final on Thursday, May 30, and Venezia will host the second one on Sunday, June 2.

Meanwhile, Ternana have been relegated to Serie C after Bari demolished them 4-1 on aggregate in the Serie B Playout. While both sides could not be separated in Bari, the Galletti went to Terni and produced arguably their best performance of the season in the second leg, earning a comprehensive 3-0 victory.

Cremonese cause Catanzaro collapse

After finishing fourth in the table, Cremonese had a bye in the first set of playoff ties, and they eventually faced a Catanzaro team that won an exciting encounter against Brescia. The Aquile were 2-1 down against the Rondinelle near the end of regulation time, but they forced extra time and won 4-2 with their captain Pietro Iemmello scoring twice in the match.

In the first leg in Calabria, the Grigiorossi led 2-0 thanks to goals from Frank Tsadjout and Daniel Ciofani, but the Giallorossi came back with strikes from Tommaso Biasci and Enrico Brignola. When the two sides faced each other in Cremona, Cremonese produced a scintillating display of football.

Franco Vazquez, Cristian Buonaiuto, and Massimo Coda scored in the first half, then Leonardo Sernicola added a fourth after the break with Matias Antonini Lui getting a consolation goal for Catanzaro.

Cremonese have a chance to return to Serie A after they had been relegated at the end of the 2022/23 season. Meanwhile, Catanzaro can be proud of their performances after returning to Serie B for the first time in 17 years. However, their swashbuckling approach might need to be tamed slightly if they are to make a serious push for promotion next season.

Antonio Candela celebrates scoring a goal for Venezia. (Photo: Venezia FC Facebook)

Venezia display their polish against Palermo

After finishing third in Serie B, Venezia had a bye prior to the semi-finals and eventually faced a Palermo side that eliminated Sampdoria. A Salim Diakite brace was enough for the Rosanero to defeat a lacklustre and toothless Blucerchiati side in Sicily.

It took a stunning strike from Nicholas Pierini to give the Arancioneroverdi the advantage heading into the second leg, but when the two sides clashed in Venice, first-half goals from Tanner Tessmann and Antonio Candela effectively killed off the tie. A Michael Svoboda own goal was a mere consolation for Palermo.

Venezia have an opportunity to return to Serie A for the first time since 2021/22 whereas Palermo will have to wait a bit longer to participate in the Italian top-flight for the first time since 2016/17.

Bari defender Valerio Di Cesare celebrates with a teammate. (@sscalciobari)

Bari achieve great escape after sending Ternana down

Bari were so close to a Serie A return, only to lose to Cagliari in the 2022/23 Serie B Playoff Final, but fast forward 12 months, the Galletti came close to dropping down to Serie C. The Pugliesi had finished the 2023/24 Serie B season in 17th place with 41 points, and they avoided direct relegation after having a better head-to-head result against Ascoli.

They hosted Ternana, who had finished 16th on 43 points, in the first leg of the Serie B Playout, and Bari had taken the lead through a well-worked team goal thanks to Marco Nasti. Gaston Pereiro equalised for the Rossoverdi eight minutes from time, making things shaky for the Galletti.

When the two teams faced each other in Terni, it was the greater experience and quality of the Apulian club that shone through. Captain and veteran defender Valerio Di Cesare opened the scoring just before half-time, netting his third goal in five matches, then Giacomo Ricci and Giuseppe Sibilli after the break ensured that Bari avoided the drop.

Serie B 2023/24: Playoff results

DateSerie B Fixtures/Results
Fri, May 17Palermo 2-0 Sampdoria
Sat, May 18Catanzaro 4-2 Brescia
Mon, May 20Palermo 0-1 Venezia
Tue, May 21Catanzaro 2-2 Cremonese
Fri, May 24Venezia 2-1 Palermo
Sat, May 25Cremonese 4-1 Catanzaro

Serie B 2023/24: Playout results

DateSerie B Fixtures/Results
Thu, May 16Bari 1-1 Ternana
Thu, May 23Ternana 0-3 Bari