After the direct promotion of Racing de Santander and Andorra to the Second Division, champions of their respective First RFEF groups, this Saturday it seemed to be the turn of a historic team: Deportivo de La Coruña was one game away from returning to professional football. But reality, sometimes, does not attend to logic. In Riazor, faced with an immense blue and white tide, the people of A Coruña had everything in their favor, but Albacete ended up beating the Galician team in the extension of a heart-stopping playoff final and managed to return to the category they lost in 2021.
Albacete, coached by Rubén de la Barrera, the coach who sat on Deportivo's bench last year, celebrated their return to LaLiga SmartBank thanks to two headers, one from a lateral free kick eight minutes from the end, with which he forced overtime, and another in the second period of that extra time.
The thousands of Galician fans froze in the middle of June with that comeback from La Mancha. Dépor, who dominated with authority throughout the first act, went into half-time with an advantage thanks to a goal from Mario Soriano in the 25th minute. The La Mancha team, overwhelmed in that first half, were unable to shoot between the three posts until the 40th minute. A shot from outside the area saved by Ian Mackay
Although Albacete improved offensively after passing through the changing rooms, the locals withstood the rush until they found themselves in a jug of cold water. When the sports fans were already savoring the return to the elite, Alberto Jiménez, in the 82nd minute, sent the ball into the net, forcing extra time.
In the event of a tie after those 30 extra minutes, the Galician team would be the one to be promoted due to their better position at the end of the regular season, but Jordi, who was also a scorer in the previous round against Rayo Majadahonda, scored for Albacete in the second part of the extension. The Coruña team reacted and looked for the goal that they caressed in discount with a header from Lapeña that missed a few centimeters from the La Mancha goal. A setback for Dépor, condemned to play next season for the third consecutive year in the bronze category of Spanish football.