A goal from Jonathan Pereira proved enough for Villarreal to overcome Almeria at El Madrigal and gain automatic promotion to La Primera.
Exactly one year and 26 days after suffering relegation, Marcelino Garcia Toral’s men made it back to the top flight at the first attempt following a tremendous second half to the season.
Both teams went into the final fixture level on points, with Almeria needing to win or to draw by more than one goal because of Villarreal’s 1-1 result at the Estadio de Los Juegos Mediterraneos earlier in the season, plus their superior goal average.
Marcelino, who watched from a box as he was completing the second game of a two-match ban, saw the Yellow Submarine achieve the runners-up spot behind champions Elche, the third time of his career he has led a team to promotion after Recreativo de Huelva in 2006 and Real Zaragoza two years later.
As for Pereira, it was a source of pride to have scored the 56th minute winner, as he told reporters after the game.
“I’m very happy and very proud to have helped the side go up to La Primera and today I scored an important goal, because it put us ahead and made it difficult for them to score two.
“Every game has been like a cup final and at times it was a struggle, but we finally made it,” he added.
Almeria will now have to go through the agony of the play-offs where they will be joined by Girona, Las Palmas and Ponferradina.