Betis lost more ground on the two leaders this weekend after they were beaten 1-0 by Valladolid on Sunday lunchtime, their fifth defeat in a row. The locals were looking to build on their first victory in twelve games last weekend, and Jorge Alonso almost caught out Casto with a long shot early on. Javi Guerra deflected a shot just wide soon afterwards, and Arzu went close in reply, but with the first half coming to an end Guerra got on the end of Nauzet's cross to give Abel Resino's side the lead. After the restart Barragán had to clear off the line after Jacobo fumbled Isodoro's cross, and the keeper did well to turn another shot from Arzu for a corner. Casto kept out Guerra a few minutes later, but in the end Betis felt themselves unlucky not to save a point when Rubén Castro got the ball in the net only for the strike to be ruled out for a non-existent offside.
That only left one game for Sunday evening, with Ponferradina and Granada sharing the points in a 0-0 draw. The rainy conditions made play difficult, but only a good performance by debutant keeper Alejandro kept out Dani Benítez and Nyom early on, and Mikel Rico headed against the bar later in the first half. Orellana rattled the woodwork again for the visitors after the interval, and Gaizka Saizar brought a good save out of Roberto for the home side. But the scoreline remained unmoved even though Siqueira was sent off late on for the Andalusians, who will also miss Orellana for the next game after he was also shown a red card after the final whistle for insulting the referee. The result brings to an end Granada's run of four wins in a row, and leaves Claudio's team still firmly anchored to the bottom of the table after a thirteenth game without a win. (20.02.11)
Last week's leaders Rayo Vallecano drop to second in the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Gimnàstic in the first match on Saturday afternoon. Concerns about the financial situation of the club were evident as the visitors had the better of the first half, Powel heading a Fernando Morán free kick past Cobeño to open the scoring ten minutes before the break. The Madrid based side had a chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty after the ball hit Sergio Díaz on the arm just before the half time whistle, but Rubén Pérez guessed correctly and saved Armenteros's spot kick. After the restart Eloy almost caught out the local keeper with a long shot, and Gerardo rattled the crossbar with another effort from outside of the area. But with both sides down to ten men after Sergio Díaz and then Aganzo were sent off, Piti picked up a return pass from Arribas in the last minute to save a point for his side.
Rayo lose out on top spot though after Celta beat Tenerife 1-0 later in the day. The Galicians had the better of the first half, with David Rodríguez in particular going close two or three times. Dubarbier had a goal ruled out for offside though just before the interval, and early in the second half Melli headed wide and Nino fired a shot across goal. De Lucas replied with a couple of efforts off target, but with a draw on the cards substitute Michu beat Sergio Aragoneses with a last minute shot from the edge of the area to tie up the three points and leave the Canary Islanders still down in the drop zone.
Villarreal B moved up to fourth pending Granada's game on Sunday after a 2-2 draw at Las Palmas. The youngsters tested Barbosa a couple of times before Hernán Pérez latched on to a pass from Iago Falqué to open the scoring on the half hour mark. Things looked grim for the Canary Islanders when Lequi was sent off for a second bookable offence, but before the break they had turned the scoreline around, Sergio Suárez volleying home the equaliser and Javi Guerrero picking up an assist from Quero to put the locals ahead. Four minutes after the restart though Falqué levelled the scores once again from HGerardo's cross, and numbers were evened up later on when Truyols also picked up a second yellow card.
Xerez drop further down the table though after they were beaten 1-3 by local rivals Córdoba. Javi López's side took the lead on the quarter hour mark when Mario Bermejo beat Alberto with a low shot. But three minutes later Lombán was sent off for bringing down Charles as he advanced on goal, and the Brazilian striker took advantage to score twice before the interval, the first a header from a corner and the second from Oriol Riera's cross. The home side pushed for the equaliser in the second half, but with eight minutes to go Javi Flores wrapped things up with a spectacular volley following another corner.
Three of the four play-off spots are occupied by teams from Andalusia, the exception being Cartagena who beat Numancia 1-0 to move up to seventh place. The locals had lost four of their last five games, and for the first 45 minutes they were unable to make much headway against a well ordered defence. Ten minutes in to the second half however Mariano Sánchez and Víctor combined to set up Toni Moral to score what was to prove the only goal of the game, and soon afterwards Toché came close to increasing the lead. The final result was in doubt though until the final whistle confirmed the victory for the home team, who are now five points above their opponents in the table.
Elche are not out of the running for the play-off spots though, and they stay three points behind Cartagena after a 2-1 win over Barcelona Athletic. The locals had not won in their Martínez Valero stadium since December, and they found themselves behind when Víctor Vázquez latched on to Benja's through ball to beat Jaime with just over half an hour gone. A couple of minutes later though Linares picked up a pass from Xumetra to make it all square, and Generelo came close to putting Pepe Bordalás's side ahead when he hit the post. Soon after the restart the visitors were left with ten men when Ilie picked up a second booking, and with twenty minutes to go keeper Rubén Miño tried to dribble past Angel only to lose the ball and allow the striker to score the winner. Elche had Ripa and Linares sent off as well in the last five minutes, but it was too late change a result which left both sides level on points in the table.
Two new managers in the second division this week, and both started their new jobs with 1-1 home draws. David Vidal returned to the Albacete bench after Antonio Calderón was sacked, but his side could do no more than share the points with Recreativo. After a dull first half, the Manchegans could have gone ahead on the hour mark after Manolo Martínez gave away a penalty on Tato, the defender earning himself a second yellow card in the action. And although Fabricio saved Verza's spot kick, the midfielder made up for his mistake when he beat the keeper with a shot from the edge of the area a few minutes later. Their joy only lasted five minutes however before Lamas headed home a Matamala corner to keep the Andalusians three points ahead of their opponents in the table.
Elsewhere Pepe Murcia (who took over from Oscar Cano) saw his new Salamanca team earn their first point in eleven games after a 1-1 draw against Huesca, albeit that it was not enough to take them out of the bottom four. Camacho put the visitors in front with a shot from the edge of the area with a quarter of an hour on the clock, but apart from an effort from Perico, neither keeper had much to do for the rest of the first half. Marcos Márquez missed a chance to equalise soon after the restart, but with four minutes to go Goikoetxea got on the end of a Quique Martín free kick to give the home fans something to cheer about at last. (19.02.11)
Girona moved up in to the play-off spots pending the rest of the weekend's games after a 3-1 victory over Alcorcón on Friday night. The two teams started the match level on points, with the visitors in particular having won their last four encounters. But Despotovic hit the post before running on to a long ball to beat Manu Herrera on the quarter hour mark, and Jandro added a second from the penalty spot shortly before the break after Javi Hernández handled in the area. The Catalans continued to dominate after the restart, and Despotovic netted the third with another solo effort before Quini latched on to a loose ball in the area to score a late consolation for the visitors. (18.02.11)