Second division - day 19

Atlético Madrid lost their third game of the season, 2-0 away at relegation candidates Extremadura. The club from the town of Almendralejo had had a busy week, with ex Atlético hard man Juanito winning a bad tempered battle to take over as president from Pedro Nieto. For the time being Josu Ortuondo has kept his job as manager, and his players did him a favour with this victory against an apathetic Atlético who hardly managed a shot at goal in all the game. Burgos saved from lone striker Manuel near to half time, and a minute later they were in front when Santi put through his own net after Cortés crossed the ball in. Aragonés brought on Fernando Torres and Luque soon after half time, but Moreno scored a second for the home side from a free kick later in the half. Atlético stay two points clear of Xerez at the top, and Extremadura move a little closer to safety with their win.

Racing Santander moved up to third, in the promotion spots for the first time this season, after beating Murcia 1-0. Bodipo opened the scoring early on, but not before Peternac had hit the bar at the other end. The visitors kept up the pressure and Lemmens saved well from Godino in the second half. In the end though Racing held on for their sixth home win a row and their ninth league game without defeat under new manager Quique Setién.

Recreativo are just behind them on goal average after a good away win at Salamanca. They did fall behind at the beginning to a strike from Makukula, but a goal either side of half time from Raúl Molina (his ninth and tenth of the season) put the visitors ahead. Salamanca had a chance to level the scores when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Mutiu, but Marinescu hit the post with his kick. Javi García put the Andalucians further in front a few minutes later, with Robert pulling one back two minutes later.

Oviedo drop out of the promotion spots down to fifth after drawing 1-1 with bottom club Poli Ejido. And they were lucky even to get a point, young substitute Pablo Díaz getting the equaliser in injury time with a centre-come-cross which keeper Marcos misjudged. The visitors had taken the lead through Oscar Arpón twenty minutes earlier, and appeared to be in line for their second victory in a row before the late goal. Burgos also lost ground on the teams above them after drawing 0-0 at home to Elche. They are still sixth though, despite not having won in their El Plantio stadium since the end of September.

High flying Badajoz lost their second game in four days after a run of eight matches without defeat under new manager Carlos Alhinho. After losing in the cup midweek to first division Valladolid, they were beaten 1-0 by Leganés. It took a last minute goal by Sivori to defeat them though, and they stay in the top half of the table, level with Albacete, who also saw their recent good run come to an end losing by the same score at Eibar. The only goal came from Jorge Sánchez, who forced the ball over the line after a corner on the hour mark.

Racing Ferrol move back up the table level with Albacete and Badajoz with a much needed victory, 2-1 over struggling Numancia. Ismael gave them the lead in the first half, but Curro Vacas made it all square soon afterwards. However a scrambled goal by Fran Nogueira gave the Gallician side victory, leaving Numancia down within a point of the relegation spots. They are level on points with Murcia and Jaén, who threw away the lead to lose 1-2 against local rivals Córdoba. Pepelu gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot after Lawal handled in the area on the stroke of half time, but two late goals by Manolo took his team above their rivals and probably spelt the end for Jaén's manager Francisco. (16.12.01)

Xerez maintained their push for promotion with a 2-1 victory over Gimnàstic Tarragona on Saturday evening. Pineda gave the home side a two goal lead in the first half, taking him to the top of the second division Pichichis' table with eleven. Mena could have added another with a long shot against the crossbar, but Nástic started to show glimpses of the form that helped them beat Real Madrid in their midweek cup tie, and new signing Angel Cuéllar pulled one back on his debut. Mena thought he had restored the two goal lead, but the referee ruled the goal out for offside, which provoked a hail of objects from the crowd. Xerez move to within two points of leaders Atlético, and Nástic stay in next to bottom spot.

Levante continued their recovery under Pepe Balaguer with an exciting 4-3 victory over Sporting Gijon. With half an hour gone it looked impossible, with Villa giving the visitors the lead and Lozano adding a second on the follow up after Veiga had saved his penalty. To make matters worse Ettien got himself sent off for a hard tackle on Sporting keeper Valencia, who had to be substituted by Dani Lastra. However Kaiku and Furiga made it all square after the break, and although Pablo Amo put the visitors back in front, late goals from Alberto and Josemi gave the Valencia based side a much needed win. (15.12.01)

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