Second division - day 24
Second placed Xerez lost 1-0 at Badajoz, their second defeat in a row, and are now close to being caught by the teams immediately below them. It had been a hard week for Bernd Schuster's team, with the players threatening once again not to play until they collected their back wages. Eventually they didn't pull out and tried to put their problems aside, but it appeared to affect their form and they were beaten in the end by a second half goal from Molist. Xerez stay on 42 points, now eight points behind leaders Atlético Madrid. Badajoz return to winning ways after a bad recent run, and they rise back up to twelfth.
Recreativo moved up into third place with a comfortable 3-1 win over promotion rivals Albacete on Sunday lunchtime. Galán gave them the lead in the first half from Raúl Molina's pass, and the visitors were left with ten men after Corona received a red card for a hard tackle five minutes before the break. Raúl Molina set up a second goal for Benítez in the second half, and although Dani Ruiz pulled one back almost immediately from a well struck free kick, Molina himself put the result beyond doubt from the penalty spot in injury time after Oscar Montiel brought down David. Recre have now gone ten games without defeat, and they move to within two points of Xerez. Albacete are now six points behind their rivals, and need some good results to keep up with the leading group.
Racing Santander drop out of the top three after throwing away the lead in the last minute against Extremadura. Javi Guerrero had put them ahead in the eleventh minute, heading home a centre from Julio Alvarez, who returned to the side after a two match absence. Iosu Ortuondo brought on Kiko at half time for the visitors, but it was Juan Carlos Moreno who struck the equaliser from a twenty yard free kick as the game was coming to an end. Racing stay two points ahead of Burgos and three above Oviedo after the two sides drew 1-1 in the Plantio stadium. Jaime opened the scoring for the visitors in the first minute, but Dani Pendín made it all square in the second half. Burgos keeper Tito was sent off a quarter of an hour from the end for handling the ball outside of the penalty area.
Eibar closed back on the group chasing promotion with a convincing 4-2 win against bottom club Poli Ejido. Jorge Sánchez gave the home side the lead at half time after Garitano headed on Bakero's free kick, but Juan Jesús equalised for the visitors after the break. However three goals in ten minutes from Solaun, Iker Garai and Jorge Sánchez again put the Basque side well in front. Oscar Arpón pulled one back from the penalty spot ten minutes from the end. Eibar move above Albacete and Racing Ferrol on goal average, a point behind Salamanca, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Córdoba. It was a first point for García Remón, who took over as the Andalucians' fourth manager of the season after Pepe Murcia was fired at the beginning of last week.
Pepe Murcia was the thirteenth manager to be kicked out this season in the second division, and his destitution came just 24 hours after that of Jaume Bonet at Gimnàstic Tarragona. His new boss Lobo Diarte (Bonet stays on as number two) started well, his team putting in a much improved performance with a 0-1 victory at Jaén. The only goal came on the half hour mark, Castillejo heading home a Cuéllar free kick. Nàstic climb above Levante on goal average, seven points behind their opponents who drop to seventeenth, level with Numancia who lost 2-1 at Sporting Gijon. Both Sporting's goals came from corners in the first half from young striker Villa, who has now scored four in two games. The visitors got a late consolation goal from Ojeda.
A dull match in Leganés at midday on Sunday, where the local team drew 0-0 with Murcia. It was a typical match between two sides fighting for survival, with very few scoring opportunities as neither side risked anything. Iván Perez went the closest, heading against the bar early in the second half, and Loreto wasted a good chance for the visitors immediately after the referee turned down appeals for a penalty on Miguel Angel at the other end. Clotet and Sivori failed to beat Reinke in the dying minutes, leaving the Madrid based side down in the bottom four, still two points behind their opponents. (27.01.02)
Atlético Madrid drew 1-1 at Racing Ferrol on Saturday night to inch a little nearer to the first division. Both goals came from the penalty spot, with Diego Alonso getting the first for Atlético midway through the first half when the referee ruled that Garrido had tripped Fernando Torres in the area. The equaliser came on the stroke of half time though when Nagore brought down new signing Delporte as he charged into the area, Iñaki converting the kick. Ferrol went closest to scoring after the break, with Burgos tipping a shot from Fran Nogueira over the bar and Hibic blocking another shot on the line from the striker with the keeper beaten.
The East coast derby between Levante and Elche also finished 1-1, leaving the hosts still struggling down in the relegation spots. The Valencia based side did take the lead early on through Roa, and claimed a second goal before the break when Chota's shot appeared to cross the line before being cleared. However the referee said no, and Serrano beat the offside trap to take the ball round new keeper Jon Ander for the equaliser on the hour mark. Elche remain five points above their opponents in the bottom half of the table. (26.01.02)