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Second division match round-up, day 39

It looks like being a five-horse race for the three promotion spots after Hércules beat Albacete 5-1 on Sunday evening. By half time the Alicante based side were already four up, Danciulescu opening the scoring from Sendoa's cross and Portillo finally scoring his first goal since his January move from Osasuna after regular penalty taker Farinós let him take a spot kick following a foul by Cabrero on Peña. Once off the mark, Portillo scored again after a quick break-away, and Danciulescu also got his second of the evening from Tote's assist just before the interval. With one eye on next week's visit to Cartagena, Esteban Vigo rested his key players, but substitute Rufete set up Cristian for a fifth before Stuani scored a late consolation, the Uruguayan striker converting a second penalty after Sergio Díaz handled in the area. The result takes Hércules back up to third, level on points with Betis and Cartagena, still four points behind leaders Real Sociedad and Levante.

Albacete's defeat drops them back in to the fight to avoid relegation, which this year looks like being tighter than ever. Only four points separate tenth placed Celta from the bottom four after Eusebio's side lost 4-1 to Murcia, a victory which takes the home team to within two points of salvation. Chando started things off in only the second minute after intercepting a bad back-pass, and Bruno added a second from a free kick before Chando volleyed his second of the evening in off the crossbar five minutes before the break. Tuñez headed one back for the visitors following a second half corner, but Kike rounded things off in the last minute to give his side their first win in nine games.

Salamanca are on the brink of escaping the relegation zone after a 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Real Unión. The Castilla-León side started the weekend a point behind their opponents in the table, but they went ahead on the half hour mark when Salva Sevilla got on the end of Toti's cross to beat Jauregi. Two minutes after the restart Sevilla got his second of the evening from the penalty spot after Beobide brought down Toti, and although Rubén Durán hit the post later on for the visitors, Kike put the result beyond doubt with eight minutes to go.

One team are already down though, Castellón's 2-1 defeat at Numancia leaving them twelve points adrift of safety with only three games to go. Despite official protests from Huesca after last week's game at Real Unión, local coach Gonzalo Arconada once again put out a line-up packed with youngsters and reserves. It was one of the young boys who opened the scoring however, half time substitute Diego Antón beating Lledó just minutes after coming on after an assist from Goiria. Palanca equalised a few minutes later following a corner, but Goiria eventually got the winner after Antón repaid the favour with ten minutes to go.

Cádiz move away from the danger zone after a 0-2 victory at Gimnàstic, although the way that other results went mean that they are still only two points ahead of Salamanca and Huesca. Both sides had chances before Ogbeche got on the end of Diego Tristán's pass to put the Andalusians ahead a few minutes before half time. Nàstic were left with ten men soon afterwards when youngster Vélez got himself sent off for a heavy tackle, and Diego Tristán made sure of the three points following good work by Enrique with an hour on the clock.

The Catalans ended the weekend just a point above their opponents having only picked up one point in their last five matches, and they are now level on points with neighbours Girona after Narcis Julià's side were held to a 0-0 draw by Recreativo. The locals were thankful to even pick up a point though after referee Hernández Hernández disallowed two goals by Braulio, one in each half for borderline offsides. Fornaroli could have given the visitors the victory had he not been foiled by Jorquera late on, but in the end they settled for a draw which keeps them three points ahead of their opponents in the table. (30.05.10).

Excitement at the top of the table after four of the main promotion contenders all won their respective games on Saturday. Leaders Real Sociedad won 2-1 against Villarreal B, a dangerous opponent who started the weekend just five points below them in the table. Xabi Prieto put the Basque side ahead from the penalty spot midway through the first half after Català brought him down, but Marco Rubén equalised with a second penalty after the striker was fouled by Ansotegi shortly before half time. Mikel González headed the locals back in front soon after the restart and Griezmann could have increased the lead after that, but local keeper Zubikarai had to make a couple of important saves near the end to keep his team in front.

Levante stay level with Real on points after they beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 later in the evening. Coke hit the bar for the visitors before Rubén Suárez latched on to a Pallardó cross to open the scoring a couple of minutes before the break. Pau Cendrós headed a second soon after the restart from a corner, but the locals were left with nine men when Robusté and then Xisco Nadal were sent off, and local keeper Reina saved the day more than once before he was finally beaten by a Susaeta penalty in injury time.

Neither side can rest easy though after Betis and Cartagena both won to stay within four points of the top two. Betis move up to third pending Hércules's game on Sunday after a last gasp 0-1 win at Huesca. Carlos García forced a good save out of Doblas early on, but after that honours were shared right up to the final minute of injury time. With a draw seemingly on the cards though Juanma took advantage of a hesitant defence to score the winner and give his side three vital points.

Cartagena are still level with Betis after they won 1-2 at Córdoba. The game got off to a lively start, Lafuente bringing a good save out of Navas and Vega and Asen both wasting chances for the locals. Toché put the game beyond their reach though with a goal either side of half time, beating Navas with a long shot and then heading in Clavero's cross for the second. Asen got one back from the penalty spot however after Pepe Díaz was fouled with twenty minutes to go, and Pepe Díaz missed a late sitter which could have saved a draw for the Andalusians.

Córdoba still need a point or two to be safe, and Las Palmas are now only a point behind them in the table after a 4-1 victory over Elche. The Canary Islanders had already beaten their opponents 2-5 earlier in the season, and they went ahead though Jorge ten minutes before the break. Molina equalised from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time after Beranguer brought him down, but Lamas restored the lead early in the second half, and Javi Guerrero and Rondón added to more later on to cut short Elche's push for promotion. (29.05.10)