Watford seal Premier League promotion with victory over Millwall
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LONDON – Watford secured promotion to the Premier League on Saturday with two games to spare, after a 1-0 win over Millwall in the (second-tier) Championship at Vicarage Road.
Ismaila Sarr's 11th-minute penalty proved enough as Watford guaranteed one of the two automatic promotion spots alongside Championship leaders Norwich City, who booked their top-flight spot last weekend.
Watford have secured an immediate return to the top flight – which has been worth at least 160 million pounds ($221.3 million) in previous seasons – having finished second-bottom of the Premier League in the 2019-20 campaign.
Manager Xisco Munoz, who was hoisted aloft by his players after the final whistle, said he had mixed feelings as he was unable to celebrate with the club's supporters in the ground due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
"We hope everyone enjoys it and stays safe. It's important the fans enjoy, it's a moment to enjoy," he told the BBC.
Watford were one of the playoff contenders after a mixed start to the second-division campaign but found another gear when Munoz replaced Vladimir Ivic as manager in December.
The Spanish manager has guided Watford to 17 wins in 24 Championship games, opening up a 10-point gap over third-placed Brentford, who have a game in hand.
"I have been lucky with the players, we have a great connection when everyone works with the same ideas and passion," Munoz said.
"It's nice when you have a good group all moving in the same direction."
Watford's victory means Norwich must wait to be crowned champions, despite a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers.
Daniel Farke's side need two points from their remaining two games to guarantee the second division title.