REGGIO CALABRIA, May 11 (Serie A) - Reggina secured Serie A football for another season after beating Empoli in a tense relegation battle on Sunday.
Edgar Barreto and Nicola Amoruso provided the all-important goals in the second half to move their side up to 39 points in the table, five clear of the drop zone with one game remaining.
Empoli, meanwhile, now have a tough task ahead of them as the defeat leaves them three points adrift of safety after Catania managed a draw with Juventus.
However, they have a better head-to-head record with Catania, meaning a win against bottom-placed Livorno in their last game of the season coupled with defeat for the Sicilian side would see Luigi Cagni's team survive.
Judging by Sunday's performance, however, survival may be a bridge too far for Empoli as they were over-run by their hosts time and again.
The duo of Francesco Cozza and Franco Brienza caused plenty of trouble early on, with the former going close from fully 40 yards after just five minutes.
Brienza was next to try his luck after 12 minutes when he dribbled into the area and fired a pass across goal that had to be hacked away by Andrea Raggi for a corner.
The Italian midfielder grew in stature as the half wore on, and after forcing another corner, he took on the entire Empoli defence after 21 minutes only to see his shot kept out by keeper Davide Bassi.
The visitors threatened nothing until the 24th minute when Ighli Vannucchi fired a free-kick over the wall, but was unable to trouble Reggina stopper Andrea Campagnolo.
But after that brief reprieve Cozza and Brienza continued their onslaught of the Empoli defence on the half-hour mark when Cozza fired a free-kick straight at Bassi and Brienza blazed over the bar from the rebound.
Cozza brought another save from the overworked Bassi with the first chance of the second half, with a low shot just before the hour-mark.
Vittorio Tosto had another token effort for Empoli after 63 minutes when his run down the left took him into the area, but his shot flew ridiculously wide.
That was the last chance Empoli would be given to take the lead as the hosts finally found a way past Bassi.
After Cozza and Brienza had run the show for well over an hour, it was Barreto who picked up the ball on the edge of the area with 68 minutes played and fired a shot just under the bar.
A string of shots then sailed wide as neither side could find the target in the ensuing 10 minutes.
But Amoruso made the points safe and secured Reggina's top-flight status with 12 minutes to go when he went past Lino Marzoratti and unleashed a great shot that Bassi had no chance of keeping out.
It could have been 3-0 in the final minute as substitute Luca Vigiani somehow managed to miss an open goal, but in the end the two goals were enough to save Reggina from the drop.