Claudio Ranieri in tears after working magic again with dramatic Serie B promotion

If Claudio Ranieri hadn't already etched his name into Cagliari folklore, he certainly has now. The legendary Italian coach has guided the club to promotion for a third time with Sunday's dramatic Serie B play-off final victory against Bari.

Cagliari visited a raucous sell-out crowd at Bari's 58,000-capacity San Nicola after playing out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the final.

Gli Isolani dominated proceedings and looked to be frustrated by Bari beyond normal time after entering the final two minutes of six added on.

However, Leonardo Pavoletti, who Ranieri had brought onto the pitch in the dying embers, pounced on Gabriele Zappa's cross to net a 94th-minute winner to send Cagliari back into Serie A.

Ranieri made his name as a manager at Cagliari during his first stint at the club from 1988 to 1991, securing back-to-back promotions from third division Serie C1 to Serie A.

He returned in December, inheriting a group of 14th-place strugglers, and has incredibly replicated his previous success 33 years later.

Ranieri was in a flood of tears at full-time as he passionately embraced his staff and players.

Throughout his storied career, there aren't many legacies he has left as illustrious as his Cagliari CV.

Ranieri had 18 different managerial tenures between his first and second periods as Cagliari boss, including his Premier League-winning spell at Leicester City.

But his timeless success in Italy has seen him recognised as one of the nation's greatest coaches in football history.

He rescued Cagliari from mediocrity this term, inspiring his side to a 10-game unbeaten streak and only two defeats in 24 outings as they shot up the Serie B table.

Cagliari finished fifth, five points behind third-place Bari, and defeated Michele Mignani's outfit at the death.

It ensured the Sardinia-based club earned instant promotion after their narrow Serie A relegation in the 2021/22 season.

Cagliari join Serie B champions Frosinone and Genoa in moving up to the Italian top flight, replacing relegated trio Sampdoria, Cremonese and Spezia.

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