Second division - day 26
Nobody doubts that Atlético Madrid will be promoted to the first division this season, and even more so after they beat struggling Levante 2-4 on Thursday night to move seven points clear of second placed Xerez. The home side went ahead though half an hour in to the game when the referee awarded a controversial penalty to the home side for a foul by García Calvo on Ettien. Lima converted the spot kick to give the Valencia based side some hope of victory, but Fernando Torres equalised ten minutes later, showing his pace to get between two defenders and poke the ball past Jon Ander. Correa put Atlético ahead after the break with a flying volley, but Kaiku slid the ball past Mono Burgos two minutes later to level the scores again. However substitute Diego Alonso hit a pile-driver past the Levante keeper three minutes from the end, and after Levante's Alberto Saavedra got himself sent off for a second bookable offence, Fernando Torres ran on to lift the ball over the unfortunate keeper for his second of the night. (07.02.02)
With leaders Atlético not due to play until Thursday, second placed Xerez reduced the gap to four points after drawing 1-1 at a Numancia. With snow falling the Sorian side took the lead through Rosu after an awful defensive mix up between Antonio and keeper Ramón, but Cachorro scrambled one back in the second half. The Andalucians are gradually being caught themselves by Recreativo, who beat Elche 1-0 to record their twelfth game without defeat. The only goal came from Antoñito, their young striker on loan from Sevilla, with an individualist effort in the second half. Elche felt they should have had a penalty though near the end when the referee failed to spot that Loren had stopped Meca's shot with his hands inside the area.
Burgos and Racing Santander cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw, leaving both a little further away from the top spots in seventh and fourth places respectively. Racing played for the last quarter of the match with ten men after Neru picked up a second booking, and only a good performance by Lemmens in their goal saved them a point. The Canrtabrians have not won away now since September, and they are now four points behind Recreativo. Oviedo recorded their fifth draw in a row, this time 1-1 at Eibar, and they stay two points behind Racing in fifth place. Geni headed them in front early on from a Rubén Reyes free kick, but they missed several chances to extend their lead and ended up paying the price, substitute Aldeondo levelling the scores on the hour mark only a couple of minutes after coming on.
Sporting Gijon put in their claim for a promotion spot with their fourth win in a row, beating Córdoba 3-0 to move up level with Oviedo and Burgos in sixth place. Once again the driving force was Villa, who scored his seventh in four games midway through the first half. Michel added a second from a free kick two minutes later, and Villa set up Pablo Alvarez for the third near the end. Albacete are a point behind them after coming from two goals down to beat Badajoz 2-3. Defensive mistakes let in Zafra and Oscar Sánchez to give the Extremadurians an early lead, but headed goals from Corona and Leniz made it all square soon after half time, and Toril converted a penalty in injury time to give the visitors a surprise victory.
Salamanca fell further behind the top group after drawing 0-0 against Murcia, for whom David Vidal was making his first appearance as manager after taking over from caretaker Chato González midweek. It was a boring, tedious game, and the freezing weather conditions meant the lowest turn out of the season at the Helmántico stadium. Jaén put an end to Extremadura's brief run of form, beating them 1-0 thanks to a goal in the third minute from Jurado. Kiko started his first game for the visitors in the absence of Pier, but his side were overrun by a better team who were unlucky not to score more in the second half.
Gimnàstic Tarragona recorded their third win in a row under new manager Lobo Diarte, and they move to within two points of safety. They beat Racing Ferrol 1-2 with a late goal from Deus after Marcelo's quick free kick. The visitors had taken the lead in the sixth minute through Castillejo before Ismael equalised early in the second half. Masiglia and Diawara made their debuts for Ferrol at half time, but their team were reduced to ten men soon afterwards when Iñigo was shown a red card. Leganés moved further away from the drop zone above Numancia after beating bottom club Poli Ejido 2-0. Both goals came late in the game from second half substitutes Sivori and Arnal after Ejido's Zamorano had been sent off for a second bookable offence. Ex Rayo midfielder Poschner made his debut for the visitors in the second half. (06.02.02)