Rayo Vallecano closed to within two points of second placed Celta after a last minute 0-1 win at fifth placed Xerez on Sunday lunchtime. Both sides hit the woodwork in a lively first half, José Marí hitting the crossbar for the locals and Coke replying with a shot which Chema pushed on to upright. But there was little action after the break until Piti steered a header across goal in the last minute. Michel failed to reach it, but the ball bounced past Chema and in to the net, the referee (who actually awarded the goal to Michel) waving away appeals for offside. An important victory against a direct promotion rival, who are now seven points behind their opponents in the table.
Later in the day Betis drew 1-1 at Huesca to end the weekend four points clear at the top of the table. Beñat came close to giving the Andalusians the lead in the first half, but seven minutes after the restart Camacho got on the end of a Jokín assist to open the scoring for the home side. Three minutes later though Arzu headed an Israel free kick past Andrés to equalise, and although Goitia had to be at his best to keep out Camacho near the end, Pepe Mel's side held on for another point in their struggle to return to the top flight this season.
Tenerife's season is going from bad to worse, and they stay firmly anchored to the foot of the table after a 0-1 defeat against Albacete. Marc Bertrán and Julio Alvarez tested visiting keeper Kaylor Navas early on, but midway through the first half the Canary Islanders were down to ten men after Luna was sent off for a foul on Tato. Toni hit the bar from the resulting free kick, but with the first half coming to an end Songo'o set up Tato for him to score what was to prove the only goal of the game. (09.01.11)
Seven games on Saturday, with Celta consolidating second place in the table after a 1-3 victory at Elche. The home side had gone eight games without defeat, but despite having the better of the play they fell behind on the stroke of half time when David Rodríguez combined with Trashorras to open the scoring. Midway through the second half Michu took advantage of a mistake by Pelegrín to make it two, and after Bodipo was sent off for a second bookable offence, De Lucas beat Caballero for a third time with an angled shot. Linares got one back from the penalty spot near the end after Hugo Mallo brought him down in the area, but it was too late to change the result.
Cartagena move up the table to fourth pending Sunday's games after beating Salamanca 1-0, their seventh game in a row without defeat. The visitors themselves had lost their last four matches, but only quick reactions from Casilla prevented new signing Edu Bedía from scoring early on. However with just over half an hour on the clock Toché got on the end of a cross from Pedro Botelho to put the home side ahead, and the striker could have scored again a couple of times before the break. Bedía and Perico went close for Salamanca after the restart, but visiting keeper Biel Ribas had to be at his best to save from Botelho and Toché, and Botelho hit the post as well late on.
Sixth placed Barcelona Athletic have been losing steam recently, and they drop further behind the leading teams after losing 1-2 to regional rivals Girona. All the goals came late on, with ex Barça defender Dani Tortolero giving the visitors the lead in the seventieth minute following a corner. Jonathan Soriano appeared to have saved a point when he deflected Oriol's shot past Santamaría in the second minute of injury time, but two minutes later substitute Despotovic beat Masip for the second time to give his side their first away win of the season.
Numancia are now just a point behind Barça B though after a 4-0 victory over Las Palmas. Cedric opened the scoring for the Soria based side in the second minute after Barkero and Garmendia combined to set him up, and the ex Atlético Madrid midfielder got his second of the evening a quarter of an hour after the restart, outsprinting his markers before poking a shot past Pindado. Perea had had a goal ruled out for a borderline offside before the break though, and local keeper Edu Navarro had to make a couple of important saves before Garmendia and Del Pino wrapped things up near the end.
Valladolid's woes continue, and they are now five points off the play-off spots after a 1-0 defeat at Gimnàstic. Both sides changed their managers recently, but neither had been able to win since they took over. The Catalans were the better team early on though, Justo Villar having to save from Powel and Rubén Navarro before the break. Nauzet tested Rubén Pérez for the first time twenty minutes in to the second half, but soon afterwards Powel laid the ball back for Rubén Navarro to score what was to prove the only goal of the game. After that though the visitors woke up, and there were some nervous moments before Juan Carlos Oliva could celebrate his first win in his new job.
The victory takes Nàstic off the bottom of the table above Tenerife and manager-less Ponferradina, who picked up a point in a high scoring 3-3 draw on a rainy night at Córdoba. Yuri gave the visitors the lead in the twentieth minute after picking up Redondo's assist, but four minutes later Aguilar headed the equaliser from Callejón's free kick. Pepe restored the lead soon afterwards, but with half an hour gone another Callejón free kick bounced past everyone in to the net. Jorge Luque put the home side in front for the first time soon after the restart with a twice taken penalty following a foul by David Malo on Pepe Díaz which appeared to be outside of the area, but Toribio saved a point for caretaker coach Toñin with an impressive shot a couple of minutes later. Ponfe ended the match with ten men after Redondo picked up a second booking late on.
The rain was even heavier at Alcorcón, where the match against Recreativo was delayed by an hour due to a waterlogged pitch. In the end though the home team handled the conditions better, running out 2-1 winners to move above their opponents and out of the relegation zone. Paco Montañés headed the first from Borja's cross early in the first half, but Aaron levelled the scores a few minutes later, beating Manu Herrera with a shot from outside of the area. However Bermúdez got on the end of Borja's corner in the opening minutes of the second half to tie up a much needed three points, ending a run of six games without a win. (08.01.11)
Villarreal B moved up to seventh pending the rest of the weekend's games after beating Granada 2-1 on Friday evening. The youngsters had not had much luck kicking off at that time this season, but they went ahead midway through the first half when Gerard Bordás combined with Jaume Costa to beat Roberto. Iago Falqué added a second with a low shot just a minute after the restart, and Orellana's goal later on could do nothing to prevent the home side from overtaking their opponents in the table. (07.01.11)