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Ethan Ampadu’s first ever goal not enough to save Spezia from relegation


Spezia v Hellas Verona - Relegation Play-off Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images

Ethan Ampadu scored a goal and suffered a relegation last night. One of those he’s never done before. The other, he’s done three times now.

In fact, it’s three seasons in a row that our on-loan defender/midfielder has ended the season with his team getting relegated from the top flight: Sheffield United in 2020-21, Venezia in 2021-22, and now Spezia in 2022-23.

Spezia’s fate came down to a special tie-breaker match against Hellas Verona yesterday, and while Ampadu’s goal brought them back level after conceding early, they would give up two more to lose 3-1, and thus drop back down to Serie B after a brief two-year stay in Serie A. Ampadu was unfortunate to see a couple of Spezia’s goals take deflections off of him, though they were both awarded to the shooters, and he would also hit the crossbar late on as Spezia failed to take advantage of a red card for the final 20 minutes (including a missed penalty).

Spezia began the season under the guidance of Luca Gotti, who was Maurizio Sarri’s assistant at Chelsea. He was sacked mid-February, but results did not improve markedly. Gotti did deliver on his promise to play Ampadu more (often) as a center back. The 22-year-old remains equally adept at defensive midfield as well.

Ampadu has one more year left on his Chelsea contract. He’s amassed nearly 100 top level appearances over the past three years, to go along with a dozen Chelsea appearances back in 2017-2019. While he’s unlikely to stay with us because we’ve seen this story play out many times before, he could surely do a job as backup defender and defensive midfielder just fine.

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