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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 24

Relief for third placed Betis as Rayo Vallecano and Celta both failed to win on Sunday. Leaders Rayo Vallecano were beaten 2-1 by Tenerife in the lunchtime game, a second win in a row for the Canary Islanders' new coach Antonio Tapia. All the goals came in the last half hour, with Antonio Hidalgo putting the home side ahead with a twice taken penalty after Arribas handled in the area. Five minutes later Nino won the ball off Arribas and went on to score his side's second, and Sergio Aragoneses made a couple of first class saves before he was finally beaten by an Armenteros penalty in the third minute of injury time, apparently for a foul by Pablo Sicilia.

Celta started their game at Córdoba later in the day with a chance to go top of the table, although in the end they had to settle for closing the gap on Rayo to one point after a 0-0 draw. The Andalusians had the better of the first half, with Aguilar and Arteaga going close early on, and Charles failing to beat Falcón a couple of times before the half time whistle. After the restart though Paco Herrera's side came back, with Alex López and Trashorras bringing good saves out of Alberto García, and Charles clearing a late effort from Iago Aspas off the line with the keeper beaten.

Gimnàstic move out of the drop zone for the first time in four months after beating Salamanca 2-0. The visitors started the game only three points above their hosts after nine defeats in a row, and Quique Martín and Perico went close early on as they tried to turn things around. But midway through the first half Sito Castro blocked a cross with his arm inside the area, and Viguera stepped up to drill home the resulting penalty. Unfortunately for Nàstic the emblematic new signing was carried off with a ligament injury which will keep him out for the rest of the season, but with a quarter of an hour to go Powel ran through to score a second goal, taking the Catalans ahead of Oscar Cano's side and Tenerife on goal difference. (13.02.11)

Betis's season has gone completely off the rails since their pyrrhic cup victory against Barcelona, and on Saturday evening they were beaten 1-4 by Elche, their fourth defeat in a row. The visitors had only scored 18 times in 23 games this campaign, but with just over half the game gone they were already three up, Palanca starting things off midway through the first half after Miki Roqué failed to clear a long ball. Emaná saw his penalty saved by Jaime (replacing Caballero, who has gone to Málaga) after Etxeita handled in the area, and on the stroke of half time Mantecón caught out Goitia with a long free kick. And three minutes after the restart Linares got ahead of Goitia to head a long ball over the keeper and score. With twenty minutes to go Jorge Molina got one back with a second penalty after Samuel tripped Pereira, Elche reduced to ten men after David Sánchez was shown a second yellow card for arguing with an opponent. But a few minutes later Linares picked up a long ball from Santos to score his second of the evening, ending ny hope of a recovery by the Andalusians.

Xerez and Cartagena both failed to take advantage of Betis's slip up though, Xerez losing 3-0 at Numancia, who themselves close to within two points of the play off spots. Barkero started things off with a shot over the head of Chema from outside of the area in the tenth minute, and the Soria based side could have gone further ahead before Iñigo Vélez scored the second from the penalty spot after Leandro blocked a Dimas pass with his arm on the hour mark. And a few minutes later Iñigo picked up a long ball to beat the keeper for the third time, giving his side a much needed win after big defeats against the top two.

Earlier in the evening Cartagena were beaten 3-0 by a Barcelona Athletic side who had not won at home in three months. Jonathan Soriano missed a first chance before combining with Thiago and Nolito to open the scoring in the eighteenth minute. Midway through the second half Nolito cut in from the right wing to fire in a shot which Pablo Ruíz deflected past his own keeper, and with the game in injury time Nolito latched on to Tello's cross to score the third, taking Luis Enrique's side level with their opponents in the table.

Villarreal B are above both Xerez and Cartagena though after a 1-0 win over bottom club Ponferradina, their fourth victory in a row. The visitors had not scored in their last three games, although Yuri tested Spanish under 21 keeper Diego Mariño early on. Gerard brought a good save out of Mackay at the other end though later in the first half, and soon after the restart Marcos Gullón connected with Gerard's cross to score what was to prove the only goal of the game. Even so Mariño had to be at his best to keep out Yuri later on.

A single goal victory as well for Girona, who are up to ninth in the table after a last minute 0-1 win at Huesca. Onésimo's side started the game just a point behind the Catalans after taking seven points from their last three games, and honours were shared in the first half, with Rigo and Despotovic going close. Visiting keeper Santamaría had to save from Tariq after the restart, but the with virtually the last kick of the match Jandro beat Andrés with a free kick to make it seven games without defeat for Raúl Agné's side.

Alcorcón are level with Girona in the table though after they thrashed Las Palmas 5-0. All the goals came after the break, Quini chesting in the first close to goal after Borja's shot came back off the bar just a minute after the restart. Borja himself got the second after Pindado saved from Montañés, and although Randy hit the bar at the other end, Quini rounded the keeper to make it three soon afterwards. New signing Gerardo scored the fourth with a shot in off the bar, and Montañés turned in a Fernando Sales cross with his heel in the last minute to make it four wins in a row for the Madrid based side.

Las Palmas drop to within two points of the bottom four after a tenth match without a win, a point still below Recreativo, who were beaten 0-1 by Valladolid. Both teams started the weekend level on points and they got off to a nervous start, the only chances in the first half a shot from Dani which Justo Villar kept out, and an effort wide by Oscar González. Two minutes before the interval Oscar got himself sent off for a foul on Manolo Martínez, but the ten men won it with a strike from Javi Guerra, who headed a Nauzet free kick past Fabricio at the start of the second half for Abel Resino's side's first goal away from home in nine games. (12.02.11)

Granada moved up to fourth, within seven points of the promotion spots, after a 3-0 win over Albacete in the Friday night game. The Andalusians dominated throughout, Mikel Rico heading against the bar before Dani Benítez opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Orellana was pushed over in the area a few minutes in to the second half. A quarter of an hour later second division top scorer Geijo made it two after Orellana set him up, and with the game in injury time Diego Camacho turned Nyom's cross past his own keeper for the final result. It was a fourth victory in a row for Fabri's team and a fifth consecutive defeat for the Manchegans, who will stay down in the relegation spots for another week at least. (11.02.11)