World

Venezia keep slim survival hopes alive with last-gasp Bologna win

Venezia still have some hope of staying in Serie A for another year after Dennis Johnsen’s dramatic stoppage-time strike earned a thrilling 4-3 win over Bologna on Sunday.

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Andrea Soncin’s team would have been sent down after just one season in Italy’s top flight had they failed to win but Norway international Johnsen maintained their status at least for a few more hours.

The 24-year-old’s thumping effort ended a 10-match losing streak for Venezia and moved them to within four points of Salernitana who sit just outside the drop zone and have the superior head-to-head record between the two teams.

In Serie A for the first time in nearly two decades, Venezia sit bottom of the league and await the result of the clash between in-form Salernitana and Cagliari to see whether their top-flight status would last at least one more week.

A Salernitana win later on Sunday would relegate Venezia as the gap between the two sides would be seven points with two matches left to play.

Salernitana are on a five-match unbeaten run which includes four wins and are on the brink of an incredible escape act after having been rooted to the bottom of the division for most of the season.

“I think that as long as there’s a theoretical chance that we can do it we just have to fight,” Johnsen told DAZN.

“We know it’s difficult but it’s still a possibility so we just have to fight like we did today.”

Bologna, who welcomed back coach Sinisa Mihajlovic after the Serb was discharged from hospital following leukemia treatment in the week, stay 13th.

The away side were livid at the decision to award the soft penalty which Mattia Aramu slotted home to level the scores 12 minutes from the end.

But Aramu fell to the ground after the faintest of touches from Gary Medel and VAR confirmed a penalty decision which left Mihajlovic baffled.

“The penalty is inexplicable,” Mihajlovic told DAZN.

“Medel touches the ball first and then grazes Aramu’s foot and the contact isn’t even that clear. An age passes and then he falls over.

“The referee practically ran off the field at the final whistle, like he was trying to get away or had a dirty conscience.”

Earlier Atalanta kept up their bid for European football next season with a 3-1 win at Spezia which meant that their opponents are not yet safe from relegation.

Goals from Luis Muriel, Berat Djimsiti and Mario Pasalic took the three points for Atalanta on the Italian Riviera, moving Gian Piero Gasperini’s side up to seventh and in with a shout of Europa League football.

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