Padova take play-off advantage
Padova edged Varese 1-0 at home in their first leg semi-final of the Serie B promotion play-offs on Thursday.
Vincenzo Italiano converted the only goal from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after Brazilian defender Claiton Dos Santos brought down compatriot Marcos De Paula inside the area. Italiano coolly struck the ball past goalkeeper Massimo Zappino to give his team the edge in the tie.
Padova had gone into the encounter at the Euganeo Stadium in buoyant mood, having won five or their past six games. The hosts could have taken a bigger advantage but were twice denied by the woodwork.
In the other semi-final, Novara held Reggina to a goalless draw at the Oreste Granillo stadium. Reggina had numerous chances to break the deadlock but could not find a way past Novara goalkeeper Samir Ujkani.
Novara almost made them pay for their missed opportunities deep in injury time. Reggina goalkeeper Christian Puggiani made a great save to deny Novara captain Raffaele Rubino from close range.
The return legs will be played on 5 June.