Gianluca Busio and Venezia left themselves on the cusp of relegation, unnecessarily losing a six-pointer against fellow bottom-feeders Salernitana on Thursday for their tenth straight loss.
Salernitana 2 – 1 Venezia FC
After entering the game four minutes past the hour mark, Busio had a grand total of 17 touches, completed eight of 12 passes, and set up a 76th-minute attempt for an equalizer by Thomas Henry, while picking up his eighth yellow of the season.
Tanner Tessmann was in uniform for the visitors, however was not called into action, meaning that he has only taken the field in only one out of the team’s last eight games.
Even though Venezia generally controlled the flow of the game, holding 57% of possession, they were the less opportunistic of the two sides, being outshot by a 19-10 margin by their efficient hosts.
Salernitana opened the scoring quickly, taking advantage of a not-so-rare error by the Venezia defense. On a third-minute corner, the ball appeared to take a deflection off of Pietro Ceccaroni’s outstretched hand before being cleared to safety.
A VAR review confirmed the referee’s instinct, and Federico Bonazzoli nailed his low attempt to the right side after several minutes of theatrics, for the 1-0 lead.
Another VAR review blessed Venezia’s way to an equalizer two minutes before the hour mark. Mattia Caldara’s short-range header was blocked by Salernitana keeper Luigi Sepe, however Henry was positioned perfectly to beat the keeper to the rebound, putting it into the back of the net.
The play was reviewed for a possible offside infraction on the initial shot, but the goal was upheld, giving the visitors a few moments of hope.
Busio entered the game six minutes later for forward David Okereke, a curiously conservative move from interim head coach Andrea Soncin in a game where taking all three points was a must.
Venezia’s hopes of taking even a point were dashed shortly after, when the hosts retook the lead to likely put a final nail in the Winged Lions’ coffins for this season. A generally unmotivated attempt to halt the opponents’ advance towards goal ended with Simone Verdi receiving the ball between a pair of Venezia defenders inside the area, where he struck a shot inside the right post to secure the 2-1 victory.
Adding insult to injury, Ethan Ampadu earned two yellow cards in rapid succession at the tail-end of regulation, first drawing the referee’s ire by knocking over Verdi, then seconds being shown a second for a blatant kick at Diego Perotti.
In the end, the hosts took a well-deserved three points, lifting themselves out of the bottom three while consigning their guests to deep in the cellar with little chance of escaping. Pending other results, Venezia can be put out of their misery and mathematically relegated on Sunday when they host Bologna.