Second division - day 28
Only two home wins in the eleven games this weekend, one of them being Albacete's 3-0 victory over second placed Xerez. The Manchegans kept their promotion hopes alive with a solid performance, taking the lead in the fourth minute of the game when Duré latched on to a cross to beat Ramón. Duré turned provider on the half hour mark, setting up Jesús Pereda for the home side's second, and Corona headed a third five minutes from the end. Bernd Schuster's side stay in second place though, now ten points below leaders Atlético Madrid but still five points clear of Oviedo, Racing and Recreativo. Albacete close up to sixth, within a point of third place, and having won three games in a row they must now be considered another strong candidate for promotion.
Racing Santander joined Oviedo and Recreativo on 44 points after drawing 2-2 in Eibar. The game between the two Northern sides swung from end to end, with the visitors taking the lead through Pablo Sierra from a free kick in the tenth minute. Eibar came forward and after Lemmens saved well from Jorge Sánchez, Barkero turned the game around with two goals either side of half time, the first with a shot from outside of the area and the second after Kortina played on Iru's long ball out of defence. A quarter of an hour later though the Cantabrians equalised, Mazzoni setting up Txiki to beat Iru. Racing stay in fourth place, behind Oviedo and ahead of Recreativo on goal average, with Eibar five points behind.
Assuming Xerez don't slip up, the third promotion place looks like a four way battle after a four point gap opened up between the top six and the chasing group. Elche joined Eibar and Burgos on 39 points after coming from behind to win 1-3 at Badajoz. Pepín set up Oscar Sánchez for the home side's opening goal before the break, but Sánchez brought down Meca in the penalty area soon after the restart for Nino to score from the spot. Ex Barcelona youngster Moha scored two more later in the half, the first from a header and the second on a counterattack, to give Elche their third win in four games and take them a point above their opponents.
Sporting Gijon suffered their second defeat in a row, this time by 0-1 to David Vidal's Murcia, to lose ground on the leaders. Loreto put the visitors ahead with a headed goal from Aguilar's corner midway through the first half, but it looked as if the referee wanted to give the Asturians a hand when he disallowed a goal when keeper Valencia appeared to take the ball over the line, and then awarded a dubious penalty to the home side. However Reinke guessed right, and dived to save Villa's weak shot. The German keeper stopped another shot from Michel at the end to give Vidal his second victory in a row since taking over.
Racing Ferrol's mini-crisis appears to be over after they beat Extremadura 2-0, ending their run of three defeats in a row. Both goals came in the second half, the first when Fran Nogueira robbed Félix to score and the second when Ismael chipped the keeper. The visitors were missing their new signings Pier and Kiko, and in their absence went back to their old losing ways, although Manuel and Félix did both hit the bar in the second half. They drop back to eighteenth, only one place above the bottom four.
Poli Ejido moved off the bottom of the table for the first time since the start of the season after beating Salamanca 0-2. They recorded their second win in a row thanks to a forty metre lob from Patri in the first half after Balbuena cleared the ball straight to him, and a second half strike from new signing Poschner. Salamanca have not had much luck with keepers this season, and Balbuena became the second new keeper to be sent off on his debut in consecutive weeks after Tom got his marching orders seven days ago. Ejido move above Levante on goal average.
Mixed fortunes for the two managers in the game between Numancia and Córdoba. The Andalucians won the game 0-2, their first victory under García Remón at the fifth time of trying, and his job seems safe for now. However Sánchez Duque became the sixteenth manager to be fired this season in the second division after he was thrown out only a few months after taking over. Both Córdoba's goals came from their new signing from Las Palmas, Ramón, and they move five points away from their opponents, who are now firmly ensconced in the bottom four. (17.02.02)
Leaders Atlético Madrid moved even further clear at the top with a 1-3 victory against third placed Recreativo Huelva. The Andalucian side had been something of a bogey side for Atlético since they dropped down to the second division, but .they got the better of them in a game they controlled throughout. Hibic headed the visitors in front from Stankovic's corner with a quarter of an hour on the clock, and Movilla beat number two keeper Luque (César was suspended) ten minutes later. Huelva manager Lucas Alcaraz brought on Epitié soon after the break, and he set up Antoñito almost immediately to put the home side back in the game. However second half substitute Diego Alonso got his thirteenth of the season in the last minute to restore the two goal advantage and take Atlético fifteen points clear of their opponents.
Recreativo drop to fourth pending Sunday's matches after Oviedo went past them on goal average with a 1-3 victory at Leganés. The Asturians scored twice in a three minute period early in the first half, both times through Jaime after slack defending, and seemed to be cruising before Miguel Angel pulled one back with twenty minutes to go. However it was Jaime again who forced a penalty near the end, and Geni stepped up to slot it home and keep up his side's seven match unbeaten run. Leganés had strung together three victories in a row before this game, but they drop back down to the lower reaches of the table.
A good performance by Burgos keeper Tito kept his side in the promotion race after a 0-0 draw at Jaén. The home side were the better team throughout, but could not get the goal they needed to take them away from the danger zone. Chumilla shot wide for the hosts early on and Tito made two first class saves from Jurado before the break. With the visitors hardly passing the halfway line the Andalucians kept up the pressure in the second half, but they had to slow down when Chico was sent off ten minutes from the end for a second bookable offence.
Gimnastic Tarragona came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in their relegation battle at Levante. The Valencia based side took the lead through Aurelio in the first half and Ettien added a second only two minutes after half time with an impressive shot in off the crossbar. Furiga almost made it three with another shot which bounced off the bar, but Nàstic came back with goals by Pinilla and Deus in the last five minutes. The visitors stay three points above their opponents, who are still in next to bottom place. (16.02.02)