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Bologna progressed to the playoff final by virtue only of finishing higher in Serie B than Avellino, who triumphed in a pulsating encounter at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Where the first leg fizzled out after Bologna’s goal, neither side gave an inch at the start of the second.

The Rossoblu hordes flooded down the left hand side from the off, with Karim Laribi firing a shot off that was well handled at his near post by Pierluigi Frattali.

Avellino took this as an invitation to pour forward themselves and, despite holding a lead, Bologna were holding on amidst some intense pressure. Suddenly, the bubble burst. A low cross from the left found Marcello Trotta and the former Brentford man fizzed a volley at Da Costa that he could only shovel onto his crossbar and in.

This setback looked to stun the home side for a few minutes, but their counterattacking style gradually brought them back into the game.

When Matuzalem released Acquafresca down the right channel, the veteran still had much to do. His calm finish from the corner of the box brought Bologna level and sent the Dall’Ara into rapture after with just under twenty minutes gone.

The match continued to fizz, and soon some neat Felsinei interplay found Laribi in a wide open space just outside the six yard box. He struggled to control, however, and his uncomfortable shot was bundled wide.

As Bologna kept picking Avellino off, Acquafresca nearly doubled his tally a few minutes later, only to see his point-blank bullet header miraculously diverted away from goal by Frattali.

By virtue of the hosts’ sitting deeper, the Lupi were able to push forward more and more towards halftime. They got their reward on the stroke of halftime when Trotta wriggled free on the edge of the box and rifled into the bottom right corner.

A scrappy start the second half was ignited when Frattali sprinted from his goal only to badly miscue a clearance. It went straight to Daniele Cacia, thirty or so yards from goal. As Jherson Vergara slid in desperately, Cacia clipped the ball over him into the unguarded goal to bring Bologna level.

As the second half progressed, Avellino began to get a foothold in the game as Bologna sat back, just as in the first half. They struggled to create any real chances, with the best coming on breaks that relied on the increasingly rare Bologna attacks.

With time ticking away, an Avellino freekick was headed clear to the edge of the box. Out of nowhere, Moussa Kone unleashed a ferocious volley that seared its way into the top corner. Avellino led, but required another goal to secure qualification.

They had a five minutes to grab that goal, but looked to have clinched it when Trotta slotted the ball past Da Costa almost immediately, but the shot rolled agonisingly wide.

This prompted a series of time-wasting attempts from the Rossoblu, and a number of frustrated yellow cards for Avellino, most perplexingly for Mariano Arini, who looked to have won the ball fairly; less so for Gianluca Sansone, who threw the ball away past Frattali as he set to take a free kick.

There was still time for the Lupi to force their winner, and when Luigi Castaldo put the ball past Da Costa from a tight angle, it appeared they had. The shot, though, bounced off the crossbar and missed the back post by millimetres.

Castaldo fell to the ground in anguish. His chance, and his side’s chance, had gone. Bologna progressed, courtesy only of their league position.

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