Second division - day 33
The battle for third place between the two closest contenders Racing Santander and Recreativo Huelva ended with a scandalous 1-5 victory for the visitors. After a lively first half in which both sides had chances, Benítez opened the scoring for the Andalucians on the stroke of half time. An error by Racing keeper Lemmens let in Soriano for Huelva's second five minutes after the break, and then the locals were reduced to ten men when Mena picked up two yellow cards in quick succession. Quique Setien changed his side around, but Benítez added a third for the visitors before Javi Guerrero pulled one back. Soriano made it four from the penalty spot just after the hour mark after the referee ruled that Antoñito had been fouled, and Luque saved another penalty at the other end from Javi Guerrero. Substitute Epitié got the fifth near the end to take Recreativo two points above their rivals.
Oviedo moved back up to within three points of Racing after their first win in five games, a 1-0 victory over Badajoz. The visitors let their hosts off the hook early on, thanks in part to some good goalkeeping by Esteban, and Oli made them pay for it with his first goal in six months. A good win too for Oviedo's neighbours Sporting Gijon, who won 1-2 at struggling Extremadura to move a place behind them in sixth. Soto opened the scoring for the visitors after a defensive error, but a minute later the hosts were level thanks to a Jesús strike. Another mistake let in Villa to restore the lead, and although Jorge Pérez and Roberto both hit the woodwork in the second half, Sporting held on to give Extremadura their fourth defeat in a row and leave them on the brink of the drop zone.
Burgos are setting new records this season, but not the kind they like. They have now gone 843 minutes without scoring a goal after drawing 0-0 at home to Salamanca, their third such result in a row. The previous record of 813 minutes was held by Sabadell in the first division fourteen years ago. Both sides did hit the woodwork, Zegarra for the visitors from an early free kick and José Mari and Pendín for the home team either side of half time. Despite their poor form, Burgos stay in mid-table eight points clear of the drop zone and a point behind their rivals. Elche stay a place above Salamanca after losing 2-1 at Murcia. Godino put the home side ahead in the first half, following up after Valerio saved a Peternac penalty, and Juanma headed the winner in the second half eight minutes after substitute Serrano had equalised. This was David Vidal's side first win in five games, and they move four points above the relegation spots.
All three bottom clubs won, narrowing the gap between them and the teams above them. Poli Ejido extended their unbeaten run at home to ten matches after beating Albacete 2-0. Both goals came in the second half, the first through ex Osasuna striker Trzeciak after the referee waved play on when Sergio Cruz was brought down in the area, and the second from a Sandro header. They stay behind Nàstic and above Levante, who won away against the team in the fourth relegation spot, Jaén. Manolo Jiménez was in charge of the home side for the first time after replacing Anquela during the week, but his side were beaten thanks to a late scrambled goal from Descarga. Jaén are now only a point above the bottom three. (24.03.02)
Leaders Atlético Madrid faltered again, being held to a 0-0 draw in the Calderón stadium by Córdoba, and they have now only picked up two points in their last three home games. Luis Aragonés left Fernando Torres on the bench, but his replacement Diego Alonso was given little support and only went close once in a boring first half which ended with whistles of protest by the home fans. Mono Burgos saved twice from Eloy in the second half, and Atlético only got close to scoring after Torres came on with twenty minutes to go. Córdoba have now gone six games without a loss under new manager García Remón.
Second placed Xerez moved to within five points of Atlético after beating Racing Ferrol 2-1. Cañizares had a goal disallowed for the home side for a foul on the keeper, but Bernd Schuster's side took the lead before the break when Antonio finished off after Moreno headed on Cachorro's free kick. Cubillo added a second after the break, but Ismael pulled one back a few minutes later to set up a nail biting finish. Xerez ended the game with ten men after late substitute Pereira was sent off for a foul on Iñigo. The result ends Ferrol's run of five games without defeat, and they lose ground on the top teams.
Eibar and Leganés inched closer to safety after playing out Saturday's fourth scoreless draw. Leganés are becoming a bit of a bogey team in the Ipurrúa stadium, where they have only lost once in nine visits, and once again they came away with a point despite Clotet giving away a penalty on Garitano near the end which Barkero missed. Eibar should have taken the lead in the first half when Cabrejo hit the bar, and Fede Bahón cleared off the line from Jorge Sánchez after the break, the Basques keeping up their attack even though they were a man less after Xabi Sánchez picked up a second booking early in the second half.
Gimnastic Tarragona gave themselves an outside chance of survival after defeating relegation rivals Numancia 3-1. All three of Nàstic's goals came in the first half hour, the first two from direct free kicks by Pinilla and then Marcelo, whose kick took a deflection off a defender. Iban Pérez added a third from a corner to take the Catalans into a comfortable lead by the break. Pacheta hit the bar for the visitors soon after the restart, but Manu Sarabia's side didn't get the ball into the net until seven minutes from the end, when Iznata scored, also from a deflected free kick. Nàstic's first win in seven games takes them to within four points of their opponents. (23.03.02)