It wasn’t pretty, but Girona FC have made it to the Primera División for the first time ever! Their 0-0 draw at home with Real Zaragoza ensured they finish second in the Segunda.
You may remember Girona were here one before, in 2014-15, but a last-minute goal by Lugo denied the Catalans promotion and they were eliminated in the semifinals by Zaragoza. Having lost in the playoffs last season also (not to mention 2012-13, when Villarreal overtook them late on to capture second spot), they were determined to make it this time.
It was not easy: they won just 3 of their last 12 matches, and will need a lot of roster retooling to survive in the top flight, but what can we say other than “Felicitats i Enhorabuena!”. Congratulations and welcome!
But if there is joy in Girona, there is sadness in Elche. They were promoted with us in 2012-13, Fran escriba kept them up the next two seasons, but they were relegated to the Segunda for ‘administrative reasons’ (i.e. severe financial problems, with players and the taxman not being paid). And now they have been relegated again, their 2-1 loss to Cadiz sending them down. Villarreal were developing a good rivalry with the illicitanos and it is sad to see them drop down to the Segunda B for the first time since the late 1990’s. Their 36,000 capacity stadium is going to seem rather empty, to say the least.
They lost 9 of their last 11 matches, and one really feels for the veterans like captain Sergio Pelegrin who has been through it all with the Alicante club.
And then, there is Mallorca. They were only able to draw 2-2 at Anduva with already-relegated Mirandés, and will play next year in the Segunda B for the first time since the 1980-81 season. Robert Sarver and his investment group (including NBA star Steve Nash) bought the island team last season had ambitious plans, but results on the pitch have been poor—they just avoided relegation last season.
There is still plenty to play for next week: Getafe (67), Cadiz (64) and Tenerife (63) are in the playoffs, while the fourth playoff spot could go to either Huesca or Real Valladolid (60 pts apiece) or Real Oviedo (58), if they both slip up.
At the bottom, Miranes, Elche and Mallorca are all down, while Alcorcon (47), Almeria (48), UCAM Murcia (48) and Nastic Tarragona (49) all could be the last team down. Former Villarreal striker Ike Uche scored Nastic’s winner today against Tenerife, btw.