Tue, 03 Aug 2021

MADRID, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Madrid-based Rayo Vallecano on Sunday claimed the last promotion place from the Spanish second division (Liga SmartBank) to La Liga with a 2-0 win away to Girona in the second leg of the play-off final.

First-half goals from Alvaro Garcia and Oscar Trejo, who netted in injury time, saw Rayo overturn a 2-1 home defeat from last weekend's first leg to claim a 3-2 aggregate win.

Rayo had to cling on for the last 35 minutes with 10 men after defender Emiliano Velazquez was sent off in the 55th minute after seeing two yellow cards, but the side coached by Andoni Iriola, who took Mirandes to the semi-final of the Copa del Rey in the 2019-2020 season, held on to return to the top-flight two years after they were last relegated.

The side from a working-class neighborhood in the south of Madrid ended the regular season in sixth place in the second division but raised their game in the play-offs, beating Leganes home and away in the semifinals and now defeating Girona, who last season lost in the 96th minute of the play-off final against Elche.

Rayo join Espanyol and Mallorca, who finished first and second in the Liga SmartBank in the regular season, and they will replace Eibar, Huesca and Valladolid, who were relegated from La Liga at the end of last season.

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