MIDDLESBROUGH, England (AP) — Coventry is one game away from returning to the Premier League for the first time since 2001.
Gustavo Hamer scored the only goal in the 57th minute to give Coventry a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in the second leg of the Championship playoff semifinals on Wednesday. That was enough to put the visitors through the playoff final against Luton at Wembley on May 27, often dubbed the world’s most lucrative one-off soccer game because of guaranteed earnings the winner will get for reaching the Premier League.
Coventry advanced 1-0 on aggregate after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. The goal came after Ben Sheaf pounced on a loose pass and fed forward Viktor Gyokeres, who evaded the goalkeeper before Hamer took over, stepped inside and shot into the top corner.
Coventry had spent more than 30 consecutive years in England’s top division before being relegated from the Premier League in 2001, and hasn’t been back since. It was playing in the fourth-division League Two as recently as 2017-18 and had a rough start to this season, having to postpone some of its early home games because of the state of the pitch in its stadium.
Luton, a club located just north of London that was last in England’s top division in 1991-92, beat Sunderland 2-0 on Tuesday to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
Burnley and Sheffield United both earned automatic promotion to the Premier League by finishing in the top two spots in the Championship.
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