Tanner Tessmann and Venezia continued their remarkable late-season turnaround, climbing into the promotion playoff spots with a win in their penultimate game, while Sergiño Dest continued to be a forgotten man at AC Milan.
Venezia 3 – 2 Perugia
Needing a victory to climb into the promotion playoff spots, Tanner Tessmann and Venezia delivered on the back of three goals in the first hour against visiting Perugia, although they were forced to stave off a late attempt by their relegation-threatened opponents to spoil the fun.
As has been the case during much of Venezia’s strong run as of late, Tessmann started in the center of head coach Paolo Vanoli’s midfield, and had a clean, influential performance. Playing from whistle to whistle, he had 75 touches, completed 85% of his 54 passing attempts, took one shot while creating a pair of chances, won both of his tackles, made three clearances and ten recoveries, won five out of 14 duels and only committed one foul.
Both of Venezia’s other first-team Americans also played significant substitute minutes. Gianluca Busio subbed in just past the hour mark alongside Tessman, completing all ten of his passes, while Andrija Novakovich played the final 17 minutes and took on shot on goal.
Highlights of the game can be seen here.
Perugia, who were on their last leg to avoid automatic relegation, were already dealt a blow in the third minute when defender Aljaz Struna was forced out with injury, and their woes were compounded by a pair of Venezia goals before halftime.
Nicholas Pierini put the hosts ahead in the 26th minute, taking a pass from Mikael Egill Ellertsson on the left side, beating his marking defender with a nice turn, and then firing his shot from the top of the 18-yard box into the far upper corner of Alessio Abibi’s goal.
Andrea Carboni doubled the lead in the 42nd minute, slipping free at the edge of the six-yard box to head in Magnus Kofod Andersen’s corner from the right side.
At the hour mark, Ellertsson then added a third for Venezia; Francesco Zampano drew the defenders towards him for just a moment when he appeared to take Joel Pohjanpalo’s pass from the left, but instead let it continue rolling through the area, allowing the Icelandic international the space to one-time his powerful shot to the dead-center of goal for the 3-0 lead.
Two minutes after Busio entered the field as midfield reinforcement in place of Andersen as a part of a double-switch, Gregorio Luperini pulled one back, with Venezia keeper Jesse Joronen’s block of his shot taking a fortunate path directly back to his foot for a successful second attempt.
Then with 12 minutes remaining, Tiago Casasola made things dangerously close, hitting from the spot after Petko Hristov fouled Perugia midfielder Francesco Lisi.
However, Veneziza were able to hold on through the end of regulation and eight minutes of added time, helped by Casasola’s 90th-minute red card, after he started a brawl by pushing the Venezia assistant coach.
While Perugia were all but mathematically relegated with the result, the three points lifts Venezia into seventh, where they hold a narrow lead over the group of five teams battling for the final two playoff spots heading into the final weekend.
They will close the regular season against sixth-place Parma on Saturday, who have already secured their spot in the playoff, knowing that a victory is the only sure way to guarantee their spot.
Sergiño Dest has not taken the field for AC Milan since late-January and continued to be absent on Saturday for their 2-0 road loss at Spezia. Milan looks to be missing out on the Champions League, however Dest might still dine at Europe’s adults’ table next season should rumors of a transfer to Germany’s Union Berlin prove to be true.