MADRID ( Associated Press) – This time he didn’t break Girona’s heart.
The Catalan club returned to La Liga on Sunday to end a three-year stint in Spain’s second division, after a lack of promotion opportunities over the past two seasons.
Girona defeated Tenerife 3–1 in the second leg of the playoffs, capturing the third and last promotion ticket for the following season. Girona had lost to Elche and Ryo Vallecano in the last two finals for a ticket to the highest division of Spanish football.
Club Almería and Valladolid, owned by Brazilian striker Ronaldo, earned automatic promotion by finishing in the top two places in the regular season.
Girona finished sixth, securing a final playoff spot for promotion. They needed extra time to beat Eibar 2-1 in extra time in the semi-finals, before scoring in the first leg at home against Tenerife last week.
Striker Christian Stuani, who remained with the team in 2019 when he was dropped, scored the deciding goal in extra time against Eibar and opened the scoring by converting a penalty just before halftime on Sunday.
Girona was in the second division in 12 of the last 14 seasons, having competed for the first time from 2017 to 2019.
Tenerife, a club from the Canary Islands that missed an opportunity to return to the First Division since the 2009–10 campaign, leveled the score in the 59th minute through Carlos Ruiz. The visitors took the lead less than 10 minutes later, with a goal from Jose Leon, with a ball that bounced off them and hit the post.
Arnau Martínez sealed the win for Girona, and returned to the first division with a third goal in the 80th minute.
Granada, Levante and Alavés were the teams that were relegated from the first division this season.