Second division - day 37
Racing Santander came from behind with three goals in the last ten minutes to beat Albacete 3-1 and take over second spot from Xerez. After a goal-less first half Juanlu put the visitors ahead from a free kick which took a deflection off a defender. Racing's Bodipo had already had a goal disallowed for offside, and he levelled the scores from Txiki's cross in the eightieth minute. Then two from Javi Guerrero in four minutes gave the Cantabrians their third victory in a row to take them closer to an immediate return to the top flight. Albacete's chances of promotion have virtually disappeared with this defeat, and they are now ten points away from the top three.
Recreativo Huelva were within a minute of climbing above Xerez as well. They drew 1-1 at Racing Ferrol, but were ahead until Emery levelled the scores for the Gallicians in injury time, following up after César saved from Ismael. Substitute Epitié had given the visitors the lead in the second half from Antoñito's pass only three minutes after coming on, but got himself sent off soon afterwards for kicking out at Iñigo. The draw keeps Recre in fourth place, only two points now behind the top three.
An extraordinary match at Oviedo, where the locals lost to Elche by 3-6, a score more often seen in tennis rather than football. The visitors were five up with three quarters of the game gone, with a hat-trick by ex Real Madrid B striker Meca and one each for Benja and Serrano. Oviedo had only let in 23 goals all season up to the start of this match, and fans rioted calling for the heads of the club directors at that point. Calm was restored temporarily when the Asturians came back with three goals in six minutes, one from Amieva and then two from Oli, but Moreno scored again for the visitors at the end and supporters once again invaded the pitch and clashed with police. Oviedo stay fifth, but are now five points off the top three and their promotion hopes take a dive. Elche are only a point behind them in sixth place.
Oviedo's neighbours Sporting Gijon did little better, losing 2-0 at Eibar to see their slim hopes of going up fade away. The Basque side had not won in nine games and were starting to slide into the bottom half of the table. However goals from Garitano in the tenth minute and Jorge Sánchez after the break helped stop the rot, and they move back up to twelfth.
An event packed regional derby between Burgos and Numancia, with the sides sharing a point each in a 1-1 draw. After five 0-0 results in a row at the Plantio stadium it was a wonder there was anybody there, but a good crowd turned out boosted by 1,500 visiting fans. Jaume headed the visitors into the lead from a corner two minutes before half time, but they were a man short soon afterwards when Pacheta got himself sent off for a second bookable offence. Numancia's manager Manu Sarabia followed him into the referee's black book for protesting at the break, his second red card since taking over two months ago, and the home side's Iñaki was also shown a direct red a quarter of an hour into the second half when he stopped the ball on the goal line with his hand. Aranda's penalty kick was saved by Tito, but Cuyami finally got the equaliser for the locals near the end.
Leganés extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 3-1 victory over Salamanca on Sunday lunchtime to move safely up to mid-table. The visitors opened the scoring in the tenth minute through Robert, but after that their challenge faded and Zegarra even missed a penalty in the second half when Makukula was brought down. Sivori made it all square midway through the first half, and Fede Marín put the Madrid side ahead after the break. There was no reaction from their opponents though, and Sivori and Iván Pérez both had chances to extend the lead before Gámiz wrapped things up in injury time.
Extremadura gave new manager Gori some hope of survival with a 3-2 win over Córdoba. Things were going smoothly when they raced into a three goal lead just after half time, with Juan Carlos Moreno converting an early penalty after Juanito handled in the area, Félix heading a second just before the break and Pier getting a third immediately after the restart. However they made it difficult for themselves after that, and a Lawal free kick and another goal by Manolo gave the local fans a fright.
The other manager who took over two weeks ago, Badajoz's Rodri, also had a successful day with a 0-1 win over Jaén. The only goal came in the second half when David Bauzá headed home a cross from Jorge Zafra. Rodri's opposite number Manolo Jiménez, himself only in charge for six games, got himself sent off for protesting earlier in the second half. His side are now lying in next to bottom place, and with only four points from their last seven games they are in deep trouble.
Jaén are now only a point above Gimnàstic Tarragona, who could only draw 1-1 against another struggling side Murcia. Both goals came in the second half, with Loreto scoring first for the visitors from a low diving header, and Ramis making it all square when he headed home Cuéllar's free kick. Only four points though separate Nàstic from sixteenth placed Numancia, and Murcia are now in seventeenth position, heading up a group of four teams, including Extremadura, Poli Ejido and Levante, who all have 41 points, three above the Catalans. (21.04.02)
Atlético Madrid virtually assured their place in the first division next season with a 1-2 victory over Poli Ejido. Wanting to dedicate a win to their president Jesús Gil, jailed for misappropriation of public funds during the week, the side came out with a new found aggression, and more than one player was lucky to stay on the park as the tackles rained in. In the twentieth minute the visitors were awarded a penalty when Urbano pushed over Diego Alonso from behind, and the Uruguayan striker drove home the spot kick for his seventeenth of the season. Movilla almost extended Atleti's lead when he hit the post in the second half, but Patri responded shooting against the woodwork at the other end. Ejido had not lost at home since October last year, and after a period of pressure they got the equaliser when Bordi headed home a free kick from the left with eight minutes to go. Juan Jesús missed a chance to put the local side ahead, but a couple of minutes later substitute Correa headed a cross from Jesús down past Segura to give Atlético the three points.
Levante put their midweek bribery scandal behind them with a 0-1 victory over second placed Xerez. The talking point in the second division over the last seven days has been their reported approach to Leganés defender Clotet to throw their last game which is being investigated by the Spanish football federation. Levante fought back threatening to take their accusers to court, and then responded on the field of play with a win which could mean their salvation this season. The only goal came midway through the second half when Kaiku laid the ball back for Alberto to score. The defeat leaves Bernd Schuster's side in danger of dropping out of the promotion spots for the first time since early in the season, with both Racing Santander and Recreativo Huelva ready to go past them tomorrow if they win. (20.04.02)