Second division day 36

Fourth placed Recreativo increased the pressure on the top three with a narrow 0-1 victory over Getafe. A controversial late Xisco penalty after Getafe had had a man (Mariano Juan) sent off gave them the three points to move them to within two of third placed Betis pending Sunday's results. Curiously club president José España had threatened to pull his club out of the league after some dubious refereeing decisions had gone against them recently, claiming there was a conspiracy to stop them being promoted.

Getafe were one of the bottom five teams who all played on Saturday evening, and after the day's results the four relegation positions were a bit clearer. Elche were the only one of the bottom four to pick up a point after drawing 3-3 in the local derby at Levante. Two of the home side's goals came from top scorer Salillas with Descarga scoring the third, with Serban, Nano and Iván Rocha replying for the visitors. Levante missed a penalty in the second half.

Elche move a point above Getafe, although both lost ground on the team above them Racing Ferrol, who beat bottom club Lleida 0-1 thanks to a goal from Uriz. Ferrol move on to 40 points, one above Compostela and five now above Elche. Eibar moved up to a safe position in the league after winning 3-0 against next to bottom club Universidad Las Palmas, with a goal in each half from Leniz and one in between from Cabrejo. With six games still to go, Lleida are close to being relegated mathematically, and Universidad have little chance of staying up, now nine points away from Compostela. (05.05.01)

Sevilla extended their lead at the top of the second division to four points after beating Badajoz 5-2. Goals from Podestá and Fredi in the first half and Zalayeta, Gallardo and Tevenet in the second took them to a five goal lead before Bracamonte and Leandro pulled two back near the end. With only six games to go they are looking good for promotion, and with a seven point gap to the fourth placed team they would have to lose most of their remaining games not to go up.

The second and third placed teams Tenerife and Betis both slipped up away from home. Tenerife looked on line for a draw at Extremadura until Jesús beat keeper Julio Iglesias with a long shot to snatch a 1-0 victory for the home side with two minutes to go. Tenerife ended the match with ten men as Lussenhoff was sent off with a quarter of an hour to go. Betis also had a man who saw a red card, but that was their caretaker manager Luis Del Sol for protesting in the second half. In a bad tempered match they drew 1-1 at Leganés, who now take over as the draw specialists in the league after their nineteenth in 36 games. Betis went behind to a Puñal goal in the ninth minute but Casas finally got a deserved equaliser near the end to bring them level on points with Tenerife, now only three points ahead of Recreativo.

Atlético Madrid were the other team who benefited, and their promotion hopes are revived after a 1-3 victory at Salamanca. With caretaker manager Cantarero on the bench following the sacking of Marcos Alonso last Monday they raced into a two goal lead, with Luque and top scorer Salva finding the net in the first half hour of the game albeit against the run of play. Toedtli closed the gap in the second half, but substitute Dani scored a third near the end to move Atleti to within two points of Recreativo and five of the promotion places. Albacete also kept their slim hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over struggling Compostela, and they stay two points behind Atlético. A goal in each half from Juanlu and Jesús gave them the three points.

The other two games of the day were between four teams who have little else to play for this season, all comfortably placed in mid-table. Sporting Gijon beat Jaén 1-0 to move up to seventh in the table, ten points away from the promotion spots. The only goal came from a solo effort by Manel, on loan to the end of the season from Espanyol. Murcia and Córdoba recorded the only scoreless draw of the day after three penalty appeals were turned down in the match. (06.05.01)

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