Lecce were relegated from Serie A after one season in the top flight on Sunday as a dramatic season both on and off the pitch in Italy came to a close.
Fabio Liverani’s side lost 4-3 at home to mid-table Parma but would have dropped down to Serie B even if they had won as relegation rivals Genoa thumped Hellas Verona 3-0 in a match that saw four red cards, including one for Verona coach Ivan Juric.
Lecce, who drop down to Serie B after finishing 17th, were a point behind Genoa going into the final round of matches and needed to beat Parma and hope Genoa failed to win against Verona in order to stay in the top division.
However unfortunate Lecce defender Fabio Lucioni made his team’s task harder after just 10 minutes when he bundled the ball into his own goal after Hernani’s shot thumped out off the post.
Gianluca Caprari then doubled the away side’s lead 13 minutes later when he lashed home a superb first time finish after being fed by Hernani.
Seconds later Antonio Sanabria scored the second of his two goals for Genoa to put the hosts 2-0 up against Verona at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, effectively ending Lecce’s hopes of a final day miracle.
Entertaining Lecce didn’t give up though and two quick goals put them level, Antonin Barak heading them back into the game in the 40th minute before Biagio Meccariello equalised with another bullet header just before the break.
However, by that time Genoa were three goals ahead and as good as safe thanks to Cristian Romero’s own beautifully-placed header.
Andreas Cornelius then put Parma back ahead six minutes after the restart when he tapped in Antonino Barilla’s low cross, before Barilla then provided another perfect pass for Roberto Inglese to re-establish Parma’s two-goal lead in the 66th minute.
That was the 85th goal Lecce had conceded this season, the league’s worst defensive record, and meant Gianluca Lapadula’s close-range finish seconds later didn’t even earn Lecce a point.