Second division - day 31
A second half headed goal by Xerez captain Antonio from Cachorro's free kick kept up their dreams of playing in the first division for the first time in their history. His strike gave Bernd Schuster's side a 1-0 victory over Eibar to move them to within seven points of leaders Atlético, and more importantly six points clear of the third placed side. It should have been easier after Eibar keeper Almunia was sent off with just after half an hour gone after he brought down Pineda on the edge of the area, but the Basques put up a good fight and set up a nail-biting finish.
Racing Santander moved up to third after a 4-2 victory over relegation candidates Levante. The Valencia based side held their own until five minutes before the break, when Javi Guerrero gave the Cantabrians the lead from the penalty spot after Mazzoni was brought down in the area. Kaiku levelled the scores for the visitors just before the half time whistle, but Morán put the hosts back in front after the restart on a counterattack, and Diego Mateo made it three a few minutes later. Mazzoni added a fourth ten minutes from the end, and although Aurelio got a consolation goal later on for Cantarero's side, they drop back down to the bottom of the division.
A hard fought match between two of the strongest promotion candidates Oviedo and Recreativo Huelva, with the points being shared in the end in a 1-1 draw. After a goal-less first half Raúl Molina gave the visitors the lead when a stationary defence allowed him time to beat Esteban. However substitute Santamaría made it all square later in the second half to give the Asturians their sixteenth draw of the season. Recreativo stay three points ahead of their opponents, but drop out of the top three to fourth, a point behind Racing.
Racing Ferrol recorded their fourth win in a row to move level with Oviedo on 46 points, four behind third place. They beat Jaén 1-4 in their opponents' La Victoria stadium to leave the Andalucians down in the bottom four. Delporte gave the Gallicians a one goal lead by half time, and Ismael added a second from the penalty spot ten minutes in to the second half after Ortega got himself sent off for stopping the ball from entering the net with his hands. Méndez and Ismael scored two more for the visitors before Pepelu finally gave the home crowd something to shout about a quarter of an hour from the end.
Elche lost ground on the top group after throwing away a two goal lead, finally losing 2-3 to Córdoba. Ramón gave the home side the lead in the first half following a free kick and Raúl Ivars finished off a good team move with less than an hour on the clock However the visitors came back with two goals in ten minutes from ex Las Palmas players Eloy and Ramón, and Arzu snatched a last minute winner to take his side up into the top half of the table, a point behind their hosts. Córdoba also move a point ahead of Burgos, who drew 0-0 at home to Leganés. The newly promoted side have now gone over eleven hours without scoring a goal, and only their good form early in the season looks like keeping them afloat.
Albacete kept their slim hopes of promotion alive after taking their first point in three games in a dull 0-0 draw at David Vidal's Murcia. They are now in seventh place on 44 points, a point ahead of Sporting, Elche and Salamanca, who won 0-1 away at Extremadura. The only goal of the game came from the league's top scorer Makukula, who clocked up his sixteenth of the season early in the second half. Extremadura were missing both Kiko and Pier, and find themselves now only a point away from the relegation spots.
In fact only one point separates fifteenth placed Murcia from nineteenth placed Jaén, and the last relegation spot is wide open. The other three places seem destined for Gimnàstic Tarragona, Poli Ejido and Levante, with a gap of four points now between them and the teams above them. Nàstic did pick up a point at home in a 1-1 draw with Sporting Gijon to go one above Levante, but it was not really enough at this stage in the season. David Pirri put the visitors in front in the third minute, but Cuéllar equalised from a free kick on the quarter hour mark. Ejido catch them on points after beating Badajoz 1-0, thanks to an Angel Rodríguez penalty five minutes from the end. (10.03.02)
Atlético Madrid threw away a two goal lead in injury time against Numancia, but still stay comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack at the top of the table. Aguilera gave them the lead with a quarter of an hour on the clock, beating Jonathan with a shot from the right of the area, and Nagore headed a second just after the restart. However substitute Parri cut in to beat Burgos on the near post later in the half, and Marini turned his marker to beat the keeper from close range in a desperate last second attack from the Soria based side. The 2-2 result leaves Atlético ten points ahead of second placed Xerez and helps Manu Sarabia's side climb out of the relegation spots above Leganés, at least for the next 24 hours. (09.03.02)