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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 23

As expected, Celta beat Numancia 4-0 in the Monday night game to move above Betis to second in the table, two points behind new leaders Rayo Vallecano. The visitors got off to a good start though, with Barkero and Dimas both rattling the woodwork in the first twenty minutes. Ten minutes later however David Rodríguez picked up a pass from Quique De Lucas to put the Galicians ahead, and three minutes after the restart the striker scored his second of the night after another assist from De Lucas. With an hour on the clock De Lucas was again the provider as Pablo Lago made it three, and Dani Abalo rounded things off with an individualist effort five minutes before the final whistle. The top three have now opened up an eight point gap over the rest, with Rayo in particular equalling the best ever points tally at this stage of the competition, set by Atlético Madrid in the 1998-99 season. (07.02.11)

Betis stay down in second place after a 0-1 defeat against neighbours Recreativo on Sunday lunchtime, and they could even be out of the promotion spots altogether if Celta win their game on Monday. On paper this looked like a home banker, Pepe Mel's side only having dropped two points at home all season (not to mention a 3-0 cup win against the might Barcelona), and the Huelva based team had not taken the three points away from home all season. But Betis had lost their last two games in the league, and a physical Recre more than held their own, limiting their opponents to a couple of shots from Rubén Castro which Fabricio dealt with admirably. And with an hour on the clock ex Betis striker Dani headed what was to prove the only goal past Goitia, giving the visitors a vital win which takes them three points clear of the drop zone.

Later in the evening Alcorcón beat Ponferradina 1-2, a result which left Claudio Barragán's new side firmly anchored to the bottom of the table. The visitors had only taken two points away from home this season, but they went ahead in the thirteenth minute when Nagore caught Mackay off his line with a shot from outside of the area. And a few minutes later the full back scored his second of the evening, this time beating the keeper with a shot from the halfway line. Half time substitute Saizar got one back for the locals after Del Olmo set him up soon after the restart. But Quini could have added a third when he hit the post late on, and after Rubén Sanz was sent off with five minutes to go, the Madrid based side sat back to defend a win which takes them up in to the top half of the table. (06.02.11)

Rayo Vallecano are sitting proudly on top of the second division pending Betis's game on Sunday after a 4-2 victory over Córdoba on Saturday evening. The Madrid based side fell behind twice though, the first time in only the third minute when Charles beat Cobeño. Trejo hit the post before Coke equalised on the quarter hour mark following a corner, but the visitors went in at the break in front after Charles scored his second of the evening. Piti levelled the scores again though four minutes after the restart with a shot in to the top corner of the net, and midway through the second half Armenteros finally gave Rayo the lead from the penalty spot after the referee ruled that Coke had been fouled in the area. Charles could have completed a hat-trick when he headed wide with only the keeper to beat, but with eight minutes to go Delibasic wrapped things up after Alberto had saved a couple of shots from Piti.

Granada stay in fifth spot after a 2-3 win over Valladolid earlier in the day. With three minutes on the clock Ighalo celebrated his return to his old club to give the visitors the lead, but ten minutes later Nauzet equalised from the penalty spot after iñigo López handled in the area. Just before the break however Lucena put the Andalusians back in front after Justo Villar could only push out López's header, and although Oscar made it all square again ten minutes after the restart, Abel Gómez fired home the winner near the end. It was a third defeat in a row for Abel Resino's side, who are now only three points above the relegation zone.

Villarreal B stay level with Granada in the table though after a 0-2 victory at Albacete. The Manchegans had lost their last three matches, and they were overrun in the first half, with Gerard Bordás in particular failing to beat Kaylor Navas close to half time. Three minutes in to the second half though Navas could only block another effort from Bordás, and Iago Falqué ran in to chip the ball over the head of the keeper to open the scoring. And with five minutes to go Bordás found Airam with a long pass for the substitute to make it two, leaving local coach Antonio Calderón reeling against the ropes.

With Villarreal B ineligible for promotion, Cartagena occupy the last of the play-off spots after a 1-2 win at Elche. The East coast side were looking for points after three defeats in a row, and they went ahead late in the first half with a Víctor penalty after the veteran striker was brought down by Edu Albacar. Víctor came close to a second soon afterwards, but before the half time whistle Mantecón got on the end of Palanca's cross to make it all square. Both sides had chances after that, but with a quarter of an hour to go Víctor turned on to a pass from Longás to chip the ball over Willy Caballero for the winner.

Girona moved up in to the top half of the table as well after beating regional neighbours Gimnàstic 2-1. Peragón gave the home side the lead after Jandro and Chechu combined to set him up in the seventh minute, but four minutes later Mairata headed the equaliser from a long free kick. Mairata got himself sent off though for bringing down an opponent as he advanced on goal with twenty minutes to go, and five minutes from the end Jandro beat Rubén Pérez with a shot from left of goal to ensure the three points for his side.

Nàstic stay down in the relegation zone, level now with Tenerife, who beat Salamanca 1-2 to move off the bottom of the table. Moratón struck first for the locals, heading in a long Quique Martín free kick, but Pablo Sicilia levelled the scores on the half hour mark after Luna headed across a free kick from Julio Alvarez. With twenty minutes to go Sicilia headed in his second of the evening following a corner, and Antonio Tapia's side held on despite having Kitoko sent off for a second bookable offence.

Salamanca end the day just a point above the drop zone after a ninth defeat in a row, and Las Palmas are just a point above them after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Huesca, the Canary Islanders ninth match without a win. Javi Guerrero picked up a pass from Guayre to open the scoring for the hosts on the stroke of half time. But with a quarter of an hour left on the clock Camacho set up Tariq for the equaliser, saving a point which kept the Aragón based side four points above their opponents in the table. (05.02.11)

Fourth placed Xerez beat Barcelona Athletic 1-0 in the Friday night game to move to within eight points of the promotion spots. José Marí had a strike disallowed for a previous foul before picking up an assist from Pablo Redondo to open the scoring midway through the first half. Jonathan Soriano brought a good save out of Chema before the break, and had a goal ruled out for a borderline offside after the restart, but the Andalusians held on for a second win in a row against a side competing with them in the top half of the table. (04.02.11)