Tribal Football

Segunda Division's new boys: All you need to know about Deportivo de La Coruña, Castellón, Málaga and Córdoba

Segunda Division's new boys: All you need to know about Deportivo de La Coruña, Castellón, Málaga and Córdoba
Segunda Division's new boys: All you need to know about Deportivo de La Coruña, Castellón, Málaga and Córdoba
Segunda Division's new boys: All you need to know about Deportivo de La Coruña, Castellón, Málaga and CórdobaLaLiga
The fact that the four teams who have been promoted into LALIGA HYPERMOTION for next season are Deportivo de La Coruña, CD Castellón, Málaga CF and Córdoba CF means that this division now has even more clubs who have spent much of their history LALIGA EA SPORTS.

Of the teams who’ll play in the second tier next term, 17 of them have experience of participating in the top flight, while there are no B teams at this level next season.


On Sunday, it was Córdoba CF who secured the final berth in LALIGA HYPERMOTION by defeating FC Barcelona’s B team 2-1, thanks to a brace from Alberto Toril. They had to fight back from an early goal by Héctor Fort, a player who has already played for the Barça first team, in the second leg of that promotion playoff final at a packed Estadio Nuevo Arcángel.

The victory of Los Blanquiverdes means we now know all 22 teams who’ll make up the second tier next season, as they’ve come up to join fellow promoted sides Deportivo de La Coruña, CD Castellón and Málaga CF in Spanish professional football. 


Deportivo de La Coruña: The return of SuperDépor

The Primera RFEF Group 1 champions were Deportivo de La Coruña, who sealed their long-awaited return to professional football with a couple of rounds to spare. They’re back four years later, following a dramatic season, and secured promotion one week before the 24th anniversary of Dépor’s legendary LALIGA EA SPORTS title, secured on May 19th 2000. Promoted was clinched in Matchday 36 of the Primera RFEF season, when Los Blanquiazules overcame the FC Barcelona B team, their main challengers in the table, with a 1-0 win, mathematically sealing first place.

The hero who scored that goal was Lucas Pérez, who decided in January 2023 to leave Cádiz CF and with it LALIGA EA SPORTS to return to his boyhood club. “I’m not going to Primera RFEF, I’m going to Deportivo,” he said at the time. It’s a love story with a happy ending, as Dépor are back in LALIGA HYPERMOTION for the first time since 2019/20. The fans at the Estadio ABANCA-RIAZOR are happy again, after the failed promotion attempts of previous seasons.

Coach Imanol Idiakez is the architect of this achievement, as he was the one who combined young talents with veterans to bring the team back to life, with 35-year-old Lucas Pérez as the leader and main goal threat with his 12 goals, with 19-year-old academy graduate Rubén López having a breakout season and with the double pivot of 32-year-old José Ángel and 28-year-old Diego Villares providing solidity. It’s a new kind of SuperDépor, the nickname given to the giant-killing side that competed against the likes of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 1990s and 2000s, even winning the championship. That was an unforgettable team, featuring Lucas Pérez’s idol Bebeto, as well as Rivaldo, Djalminha, Roy Makaay, Joan Capdevila, Juan Carlos Valerón and Mauro Silva.


CD Castellón: “Pam Pam Orellut” returns to the second tier

Football is about bouncing back and that’s what CD Castellón did in the final stretch of this Primera RFEF season. In the battle for first place in Group 2, Los Orelluts edged out their main rivals, Córdoba CF, UD Ibiza and Málaga CF. After a Córdoba CF loss at an already-relegated Granada CF B team, the team from Castellón were mathematically promoted to LALIGA HYPERMOTION, a division they haven’t played in since 2020/21, not since a 2-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano which confirmed their relegation into Primera RFEF.

Under coach Dick Shredder, who had recently secured promotion into the Eredivisie in the Netherlands with PEC Zwolle, Los Albinegros put together a good season thanks to the arrivals of defender Daijiro Chirino and winger Gervane Kastaneer, two players the coach new well. Few could match the unstoppable pace of this team, who also benefited from the experience of the veteran Haris Medunjanin and Group 2 top scorer Jesús de Miguel, with his 16 goals. They were a very attacking side and matched the points record for this division, of 82, which had only been achieved before by Real Racing de Santander in 2021/22.

This team was able, therefore, to return to the second tier, recovering after some stumbles. After conceding twice in stoppage time to lose against Córdoba CF at home at the Estadi Castàlia 3-2, and with fourth-placed Málaga CF even closing to within five points of the group lead, the team from Castellón did well to achieve the goal of majority shareholder Bob Voulgaris, who said he wants “to have the team in the top division within five or six years” upon arrival two years ago. After their brief stumble, the team that sings the famous “Pam Pam Orellut” went on a great run of seven consecutive wins to ensure they’re back in the second division. 


Malaga CF
Malaga CFLaLiga


Málaga CF: The blue wave is back in the second tier

Málaga CF fans haven’t had a promotion to celebrate for 16 years, as the last time they rose up a division was in 2008 when Los Blanquiazules went from the second to first division. Back then, in 2008, club legend Antonio Hidalgo scored a brace against CD Tenerife at La Rosaleda to win promotion to LALIGA EA SPORTS. After managing to stay up in 2010 with a Duda goal against Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Madrid, what followed was a glorious run, when Málaga CF even played in the Champions League.

They then fell down to the second tier and then, last term, to the third, and it wasn’t easy for the fans. The team struggled to pick up points and were far behind a dominant CD Castellón. Yet, Málaga CF remained in the chasing pack and overcame UD Ibiza on the final matchday to secure home advantage in the promotion playoffs semi-finals. 

The playoffs were dramatic, as they faced the RC Celta B team and then Gimnástic de Tarragona. Both ties were won in the second legs, with the second leg of the final away at Nàstic especially epic as the team from the south of Spain won in the final seconds of the tie via a goal from youth teamer Antoñito. It had seemed that Nàstic were going to win 2-0 on the night, but Málaga CF fought back to secure the 2-2 draw they needed and to clinch the most incredible of promotions out of Primera RFEF.

The heroes of Sergio Pellicer’s squad were many, including homegrown youngsters such as Roberto, Kevin and David Larrubia, or others like Nelson Monte and Manu Molina who joined the Málaga CF cause later in their careers. 


Córdoba CF: Back after a five-year absence 

After only narrowly avoiding relegation in 2018, Córdoba CF were then relegated out of LALIGA HYPERMOTION in 2019. In 2020, their bid for promotion was thwarted when the season ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic, before they were then relegated to Segunda RFEF in 2021. Things were not going well for Córdoba CF.

Back in the third tier and into the second leg of the playoffs finals, there was finally something for the Andalusian outfit to celebrate, and celebrate they did thanks to the heroics of Alberto Toril, who scored both goals against FC Barcelona’s B team. The team led by coach Iván Ania secured the final spot in the 2024/25 LALIGA HYPERMOTION season, with a squad filled with young talent, and they were able to celebrate at their own home, at the Estadio Nuevo El Arcángel.

Several figures will long be remembered for their roles in this promotion, not least the coach Iván Ania with his ability to steady the ship. Top scorer Antonio Casas also did incredibly well, especially during a period when Toril was out injured. Other standouts include Carlos Marín, the reliable goalkeeper who kept 18 clean sheets this season, with the support of the team’s defence and players like Adrián Lapeña. Despite the significant absence of Dragiša Gudelj, after he suffered a scare in December of 2023 by collapsing in the middle of a game, the defence was able to come through that setback. Youssouf Diarra was one of the breakout stars, as the Ivorian midfielder scored five goals, which proved key to Córdoba CF’s rise back to LALIGA HYPERMOTION.