Scecond division A day 38

Sevilla virtually secured promotion to the first division with a 2-0 victory over their Andalucian neighbours Córdoba. Podestá opened the scoring in the first half and Michel added the second in stoppage time after their rivals had been reduced to ten men when Melgar picked up a second yellow card ten minutes from the end. With 70 points they stay three points ahead of Tenerife and four above Betis, who themselves opened up a four point gap over the chasing teams. With four games to go, the top three now look closer to occupying the promotion spots.

Atlético Madrid and Betis (amongst others) were involved in a series of accusations and counter-accusations during the week about "maletines", third party under-hand payments (literally suitcases full of cash) to teams playing against their promotion rivals as an added incentive to win, or even to their direct opponents for them to lose. In the end though Atlético put in a disappointing performance, drawing 1-1 at bottom club Lleida who are already mathematically relegated. Renaldo scored for the Catalans late in the first half, and Correa headed the equaliser after Lleida's Vlademir had been sent off.

Atlético stay fifth, level on 62 points with Recreativo and Albacete. Recreativo played out a dull 0-0 draw against struggling Elche, their fifth home draw in a row and their twelfth of the season. Elche climb out of the relegation zone ahead of Compostela, although it may be short-lived as the Gallicians' defeat at the hands of Getafe could be reversed as the Madrid based team had four non-EU players on the pitch for the last five minutes of the first half. Albacete kept up their challenge with a 1-0 victory over Racing Ferrol. Jesús got the only goal in the second half.

Universidad Las Palmas moved a step closer to relegation after losing 4-0 to Salamanca. After a boring first half the Romanian show took over, with Marinescu scoring twice and Munteanu adding the fourth after Barbará had got the third goal minutes earlier. The other two fixtures of the day were hardly worth playing. The matches Eibar versus Extremadura and Leganés versus Badajoz both ended 0-0, with hardly a scoring chance in the 180 minutes. All four teams are comfortably situated in the middle of the table, and they would have been better off deciding the result by telephone and staying at home. (20.05.01)

Tenerife and Betis both won away from home to reinforce their claims for promotion to the first division. Second placed Tenerife won at Murcia 0-1 with a late goal by Lussenhoff to go level with Sevilla pending the Andalucian's match on Sunday, and Betis stay a point behind them after winning 1-2 at Sporting Gijon. Amato got the opening goal early on, heading home Denilson's cross, and although Manel equalised before the break, Amato scored again in the second half to give them victory.

The relegation battle between Getafe and Compostela ended with a 2-1 victory for the home side to take them to within two points of their rivals and keep their hopes of salvation alive. (19.05.01)

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