Benevento set for first ever Serie A season after winning promotion playoff
Benevento joined SPAL in ensuring there will be two new clubs in Serie A next season after they beat Carpi in a playoff on Thursday night.
SPAL, who are based in the city of Ferrara and were only re-formed in 2013, earned direct promotion to Serie A just a year after being promoted to Serie B.
Benevento followed their example by also celebrating back-to-back promotions after a goal by on-loan Inter Milan forward George Puscas earned them a 1-0 win at home to Carpi, completing a 1-0 aggregate victory for a club who had never been as high as Italy's second tier before last season.
"Congratulations to all of these lads -- they showed no fear of being who we are," coach Marco Baroni told Sky Sport. "They all deserve this promotion. We played a great playoff and were supreme.
"It's been an extraordinary year. It's an infinite joy."
Da Los Angeles complimenti al Benevento che arriva in serie A e ci regala due bellissimi derby. Bravi !- AurelioDeLaurentiis (@ADeLaurentiis) June 9, 2017
The Campania club will now face Napoli in a local derby, with Napoli president among the first to congratulate them on their promotion with a tweet from his home in Los Angeles, saying: "Compliments to Benevento, who are arriving in Serie A and gifting us two beautiful derbies. Well done!"
That is a derby Benevento will be keen to play more than just twice, with their president Oreste Vigorito saying they are in Serie A to stay.
"My players may not be [Gonzalo] Higuain or [Paulo] Dybala, but they have a heart as big as theirs, if not bigger," he said. "We're not going into Serie A just to turn around again, we would prefer to stay in paradise."
Benevento finished fifth in Serie B this season, nine points behind Frosinone, who only missed out on automatic promotion due to their inferior head-to-head record with Hellas Verona. They beat Perugia in the semifinal before defeating Carpi, who had finished three points behind them in seventh.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.