Huddersfield Town earned promotion to the Premier League next season after they beat Reading 4-3 in a dramatic penalty shootout in the Championship playoff final on Monday. Huddersfield will feature in the PL for the first time in 45 years after holding their nerve in a tense shootout.
Reading finished third in the league table, two places and four points above Huddersfield, but it was Huddersfield which enjoyed the best of the chances in the early stages of the playoff final.
The championship playoff involves teams that are placed between three and six in the EFL championship table for the third promotion slot. Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion qualified as the top two teams.
Aaron Mooy picked out Michael Hefele from a free kick and Hefele had a golden chance to put Huddersfield in the lead but he wasted his header from close range. But this wasn’t the only embarrassing miss of the match as Izzy Brown produced one of the misses of the season.
Elias Kachunga carved open the Reading
Reading, on the other hand, threatened for the first time when Lewis Grabban curled narrowly wide from long-range. However, they still needed significant improvement and John Swift almost gave them the perfect start to the second half when he drilled in a low strike that Danny Ward pushed away.
Chances came and went for both teams with neither side being able to profit and there was a sense of inevitability about the penalty shootout that was to come. Huddersfield had beaten Sheffield on Wednesday on penalties to make it to the playoff final. And once again, lady luck shone on them.
Though Hefele missed Huddersfield's second penalty as Ali Al Habsi plunged to his right to save, Liam Moore fired Reading's fourth attempt high over the bar. Finally, Ward kept out Jordan Obita's kick to put Huddersfield within touching distance of promotion and Schindler slotted home to find them a spot among English football’s elite next season.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Barcelona announced Ernesto Valverde as their head coach on a two-year deal, with an option for a third. Valverde had announced that he was leaving Athletic Bilbao on Thursday after four years in charge.
Valverde replaces Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp after Enrique announced in March that he would be leaving Barcelona after three years in charge. During his time with the Blaugrana, Enrique led Barcelona to the treble in his first season, the domestic double in 2016 and the Copa del Rey this year.
They beat Alaves 3-1 in his final game in charge on Sunday. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu praised the incoming 53-year-old’s "ability, judgement, knowledge and experience", adding: "He promotes young players and he plays the Barca way."
Valverde's presentation as Barca's new coach will take place on Thursday,
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