Jonathan Pereira’s goal against UD Almeria returned Villarreal to LaLiga
Exactly ten years ago today, Villarreal CF were promoted to the first division for the third time in their history after beating UD Almería at the then-called El Madrigal 1-0 thanks to Jonathan Pereira’s goal, which meant direct promotion to the top flight of Spanish football was mathematically confirmed.
The Submarine, coached by Julio Velázquez in the first half of the season and by Marcelino in the second, would achieve an all-time record of 77 points in the second division -a figure they had never reached in the silver tier-, equalling the record with which they had reached the runners-up spot in the 2007/08 league championship.
The second half of the campaign was truly decisive in achieving the objective of direct promotion with the arrival of Marcelino and signings such as Perbet, Jonathan Pereira, Aquino, Farinós and Dorado – in addition to key players such as Juan Carlos, Musacchio, Bruno, Cani, Marcos Senna and Uche -, reaching 45 points and beating all direct rivals in the dizzying final stretch, with the exception of champions Elche. Direct promotion would be achieved on the last matchday in the final against third-placed Almería, with a goal from Jonathan Pereira (1-0), under the delirium of a packed El Madrigal.
Villarreal’s other promotions to the top flight
- 1997/98 season, the first step to LaLiga
The dream of seeing Villarreal CF in the First Division became a reality shortly after Fernando Roig’s arrival at the club in 1997. The Yellows’ president predicted an ambitious future in which he intended to move the team up the table “in two years’ time”. Roig went ahead with his promise and, in his first season at the helm of the institution, managed to make history.
At that time, the top two from the second division were promoted and the bottom two from the first division were relegated directly, while the third and fourth from the second division had the chance to take the place on the pitch from the third and fourth from the bottom of the first division in a promotion play-off.
So it was that Villarreal, fourth-placed in the second division, played a two-legged tie against SD Compostela (17th-placed in Primera). The first leg at El Madrigal ended goalless and the second leg 1-1 in Santiago. The away goal scored by Alberto was decisive for the victory in an evenly-matched play-off.
- 1999/00 season, back in the top flight
The 1999/00 campaign was once again a historic one for Villarreal. After a brilliant second half of the season, the Submarine were promoted directly after reaching third place (the system then changed and the top three finishers were promoted).
That team was coached in the first seven games by Joaquín Caparrós and was later taken over by a true Villarreal man, Francisco García ‘Paquito’. Villarreal finished third with 66 points; 18 wins, 12 draws and 12 defeats (61 goals scored and 46 conceded).