Second division - day 35
Recreativo dropped out of the top three after drawing 1-1 at Andalucian neighbours Jaén on Sunday lunchtime. The visitors were on top throughout the first half but failed to convert their chances, including a penalty which Raúl Molina missed with a quarter of an hour gone after keeper Raúl brought down David. Jaén did get the ball in the net though on the stroke of half time through Rueda, but it was ruled out for a previous foul. Recre took the lead midway through the second half through half time substitute Antoñito after good work by Cheli, but the home side levelled the scores six minutes later, Sierra beating César with a shot from the edge of the area only minutes after coming on.
Racing Santander took advantage of Recre's draw to move a point ahead of them up to third place with a 3-0 win over Badajoz. The Cantabrians dominated the first half but didn't score until just before the hour mark, Mazzoni converting Txiki's cross. That opened the way, and seven minutes later substitute Morán beat keeper Poli in a similar play, this time Sietes the provider. Five minutes from the end Diego Mateo finished off a good team move to take his side four points behind Xerez.
Sunday was a low scoring day though, with three games ending score-less and two others being decided by a single late goal. The teams lying in fifth and sixth place, Oviedo and Albacete, cancelled each other out after drawing 0-0 in a game in which the two keepers were the best players on the park. Just below them Elche were held to the same score by Poli Ejido, who played the last hour of the game with ten men after Rios got himself sent off, and Sporting Gijon also played out a goal-less draw at Burgos, who have now recorded seven 0-0 results in their last ten games.
A last minute goal by Makukula gave Salamanca a 0-1 victory over Eibar, taking his side up to a fairly safe tenth place. The big striker is being chased by several big clubs, but could in the end be going to French club Nantes. Eibar's explosive manager Blas Ziarreta was sent off at the end for protesting. Gimnastic Tarragona also kept their hopes of survival alive after a 1-0 win over Córdoba. The only goal came three minutes from the end from Pinilla after keeper Jauregui failed to hold on to the ball, giving Nàstic a vital three points which takes them off the bottom of the table.
Extremadura drop to last position after losing at home 0-2 to Numancia, who started the day only a point above them. Both goals came from on-loan Real Madrid young striker Aranda, one either side of half time. New signing Patrick Suffo made his debut for the visitors in the second half. Extremadura are however only two points away from seventeenth placed Jaén in a close fight to avoid relegation. Levante moved a point above them with a 1-2 win at Racing Ferrol thanks to an injury time goal from Javi Peña. Descarga had given them the lead earlier, but Redondo had equalised before Uriz was sent off for the home side a quarter of an hour from the end. (07.04.02)
Leaders Atlético Madrid beat Murcia 4-2, their first victory in five games, to get their promotion challenge back on track. The star of the match was Uruguay's Diego Alonso, who scored a hat-trick to help his side move six points clear at the top. Alonso opened the scoring from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Carrero in the area, and claimed a second three minutes before the break when he deflected Dani's shot past Reinke. Murcia pulled one back before the half time whistle though when the referee ruled that Armando had pushed over Loreto from behind, Cuadrado scoring from the penalty spot past keeper Sergio, who was replacing the injured Mono Burgos. Atlético should have gone further ahead when Alonso selfishly shot at Reinke with Dani free in front of goal, but Aguilera made it three soon afterwards when Dani put him through. Alonso did get his third goal in the last minute of ordinary time, and there was still time for Loreto to narrow the gap again with an injury time header.
Second placed Xerez lost ground on Atlético when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Leganés. It was an exciting match in which Bernd Schuster's side came back from behind twice before taking the lead and seeing it slide away when Oscar scored for the visitors in injury time. Leganés opened the scoring in the third minute when Sivori took advantage of a defensive mistake to beat Ramón. Cañizares headed an equaliser, but after Gamiz had hit the post for the away team, Miguel Angel restored their lead from the penalty spot when Pineda brought down Iván Pérez. With an hour gone Sivori got himself sent off for a second bookable offence, and Xerez turned the score around with goals from Pineda and Mena before Oscar struck. Schuster's nerves betrayed him and he was shown a red card, which means he will not be on the bench for next week's table topping clash at Atlético Madrid. (06.04.02)