Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Norwich City 2.
Norwich City secured an instant return to the Premier League with victory over Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
In a match worth a potential £120m to the victors, Cameron Jerome took advantage of a Daniel Ayala error to put the Canaries ahead.
It was 2-0 after 15 minutes when Nathan Redmond arrowed a shot into the corner.
Jelle Vossen came closest for Boro when he struck the bar, but their six-year absence from the top flight continues.
Victory for the Canaries in front of more than 85,000 fans is the culmination of a remarkable run of results under manager Alex Neil.
The 33-year-old was unheralded in England, but presided over Hamilton's promotion to the Scottish Premiership last season. That was enough for him to be given the chance to replace Neil Adams at Carrow Road in January, with the club seventh in the table and three points off the play-offs.
Neil oversaw victory in his maiden game in charge against eventual league champions Bournemouth, the first of 17 wins in 25 games during his tenure, and will now become the youngest manager in England's top flight, beating Swansea's 36-year-old boss Garry Monk.
|Wembley pain for Middlesbrough|
|Middlesbrough have failed to win on each of their five visits to Wembley|
For his opposite number Aitor Karanka and Boro, though, it ends a season that had promised so much, built on the meanest defence in the league, conceding 37 goals in 46 games.
Karanka, the former assistant manager to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, has also seen a great deal of improvement during his 18 months in charge after taking over from Tony Mowbray in November 2013 with the side 16th in the table.
But, in a game referred to as the 'richest in football', his side fell short thanks to three first-half minutes when Norwich scored twice.
Given the weight of pressure, it was an understandably nervy opening but the game sprang into life when both sides hit the crossbar within 30 seconds of each other.
First, Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson powered a left-foot volley against the bar, only for Boro to go straight down the other end and rattle the woodwork themselves with Vossen's delightful long-range effort.
Boro had arrived at Wembley late after being stuck in traffic, and their lack of preparation time may well have had a hand in gifting Norwich the opening goal.
Ex-Canaries defender Ayala dithered on the ball down their right, allowing Norwich top scorer Jerome to nick it off him, run into the area and calmly slot past Dimi Konstantopoulos at his near post for his 21st of the season.
And only three minutes later, Norwich, unbeaten on the road under Neil, were 2-0 up against a side who had kept 22 clean sheets this campaign.
Steven Whittaker played a great ball into the channel for Redmond and the England Under-21 winger struck home a low effort past a despairing Konstantopoulos to send one end of Wembley into an unexpectedly early ecstasy.
Boro struggled to get any sort of foothold in the game, so at half-time Karanka brought off right-back Dean Whitehead for forward Emilio Nsue.
Norwich had kept Championship player of the year Patrick Bamford quiet for the first hour, but his turn and shot was the first real test for keeper John Ruddy.
Boro's main threat came from Albert Adomah down the right, but Norwich's central defensive partnership of Sebastien Bassong and captain Russell Martin dealt with every ball into the middle.
It was in fact Norwich who went closest to getting a third when Redmond fired just wide from a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Bamford then had the chance to pull the ball back to Kike but Scotland international Martin cleared his centre, and Norwich held on to return to the top flight.
- 18WhiteheadSubstituted forNsueat 45'minutes
- 21VossenBooked at 56minsSubstituted forKikeat 68'minutes
- 22RedmondSubstituted forO'Neilat 87'minutes
- 8HowsonBooked at 62mins
- 14HoolahanSubstituted forDorransat 75'minutes
- 10JeromeSubstituted forGrabbanat 74'minutes
- Mike Dean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Norwich City 2.
Attempt saved. Gary O'Neil (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Kike tries a through ball, but Patrick Bamford is caught offside.
Substitution, Norwich City. Gary O'Neil replaces Nathan Redmond.
Foul by Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough).
Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Sebastien Bassong.
Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner from a direct free kick.
Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).
Graham Dorrans (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Norwich City. Graham Dorrans replaces Wes Hoolahan.
Substitution, Norwich City. Lewis Grabban replaces Cameron Jerome.
Attempt blocked. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Emilio Nsue Lopez.
Attempt missed. Russell Martin (Norwich City) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by Nathan Redmond with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Kike replaces Jelle Vossen.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Ben Gibson.
Foul by Jelle Vossen (Middlesbrough).
Martin Olsson (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.