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Elche book return to La Liga 123 with play-off victory

Elche book return to La Liga 123 with play-off victory

Spain’s second division will welcome back one of the biggest clubs to have dropped to the third tier with Elche having beaten Villarreal B in their Segunda Division B play-off final to seal a return to La Liga 1 2 3.

A 2-0 first leg win at the Estadio Martinez Valero gave the former La Liga club a substantial lead heading into the second leg, with Ivan Sanchez, direct from a free-kick, and Nino on the scorehseet with goalkeeper Jose Juan also saving a penalty.

The return tie was not so comfortable. Villarreal started brightly and looked to have had another effort cross the line but it was not given, but Benja struck on the counter for Elche to make it a difficult task for the hosts.

Ruben Mesa hit back before half-time and Daniel Provencio’s second half sending off boosted their hopes, but it was too little too late when Mesa reduced the deficit to just one goal in the 92nd minute.

The final whistle sparked wild celebrations in Elche and among a small travelling contingent as the club returned to the second division at the first time of asking.

It was perhaps not so remarkable for Josan Ferrandez given that he has sensationally secured promotion from the third tier to the second tier for four consecutive seasons with Huesca in 2015, UCAM Murcia in 2016, Albacete in 2017 and now Elche in 2018.

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