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They're back: Idiakez, Perez - How Deportivo La Coruna won promotion

Sunday was a day that the city of La Coruña will never forget. Following four tough years languishing in the third tier of the Spanish footballing pyramid, Deportivo de La Coruña clinched promotion back to LALIGA HYPERMOTION, the country's second division, and hometown hero Lucas Pérez was the man who scored the decisive goal.

As one of the nine clubs to have won the Spanish league championship, it has been strange to see Deportivo de La Coruña fall so far down the divisions. After relegation out of LALIGA EA SPORTS, the top tier, in 2018, the Galician club suffered another blow in 2020 when they were relegated to what was then known as the Segunda B, now the Primera Federación division. While many expected a giant like Dépor to bounce straight back up, that was easier said than done and it has taken four years for the club to confirm their return to LALIGA HYPERMOTION level.

Promotion was clinched on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Barça Atlètic, the B team of FC Barcelona, in front of a packed Estadio Riazor. There were 31,833 fans in the stands to witness this promotion, which is a record for this division and the fifth-highest attendance across all of Spain this past weekend.


This is what Lucas Pérez came back for

The only goal of the game was scored in the 57th minute, as forward Lucas Pérez curled a freekick into the bottom corner of the Barça Atlètic goal. On such an important day for the club, it was fitting for the 35-year-old to be on the scoresheet.

Halfway through the 2022/23 season, Lucas Pérez demonstrated his love for Os Brancoazuis by dropping down two divisions to return to the Estadio Riazor. He was playing in LALIGA EA SPORTS for Cádiz CF at the time, but wanted to return home to help lead Dépor back to the professional level. The forward even paid money out of his own pocket to ensure he could be released from his Cádiz CF contract and to make the move to the north-west of Spain, back to his hometown and to the club he'd already played almost 100 matches for earlier in his career.

Since returning, Lucas Pérez has been excellent up front for the team and has scored 20 goals in 49 games in the Primera Federación. This term, he has been the team's top scorer and the goal against Barça Atlètic was the ultimate display of his quality, before his celebration made clear his passion for the blue and white colours.

Speaking after the win, he said: "They said I was crazy when I came back, but they didn't understand what Deportivo is. There was one play, when the score was already 1-0 today, when I went to take a corner and I told the assistant referee that I had goosebumps. It's amazing."


The patience with Imanol Idiakez pays off

Another key figure in the return to the second tier has been Imanol Idiakez, the coach. After arriving at the Estadio Riazor in the summer of 2023, his team endured a difficult beginning to the campaign. By Matchday 14, they'd taken just 19 points and had even lost to the B team of rivals RC Celta.

However, a victory away at Barça Atlètic proved to be a turning point, as a stoppage time goal from Davo earned a 2-1 victory at the Estadi Johan Cruyff and kept the coach in his job. From there, Dépor kicked on and they've been the best team in their group over the second half of the season. By the time of the reverse fixture against Barça Atlètic, they had the chance to seal promotion and they took it.

Now, Deportivo de La Coruña will prepare for life back in LALIGA HYPERMOTION, which they'll enter alongside CD Castellón, the winner of the other Primera Federación group. The second tier of Spanish football is a famously competitive competition, but Dépor have momentum and are determined to become super once again.

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Carlos Volcano
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Carlos Volcano

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