A surprise 4-1 defeat at the hands of Huesca on Sunday lunchtime left second placed Rayo Vallecano four points adrift of leaders Celta. There was some tension though in the visiting players as they came out with a banner protesting about delays in their salary payments after the club and their holding company filed for protection from creditors, and Tariq took advantage to head two goals past Cobeño in a five minute period around the half hour mark. Local keeper Andrés had to be at his best out keep out Armenteros and Piti after the break, but Gilvan made it three on a quick counter-attack, and Camacho converted a penalty a few minutes later after Tariq was felled in the area. Trejo scored a late consolation for Rayo, but it was too late to prevent another defeat which left them with only one point from the last three games. And to add insult to injury, lady president Teresa Rivero reportedly went down to the changing rooms after the final whistle to accuse the players of not tying harder!
Betis closed to within one point of Rayo after a 2-0 win over Albacete later in the evening, a relief for coach Pepe Mel after a run of five defeats in a row. The Andalusians had only scored once in those five games, and although they dominated the first half, they were unable to beat an excellent Keylor Navas, who tipped a Beñat free kick on to the bar shortly before half time. Jorge Molina, Rubén Castro and Beñat were all frustrated by David Vidal's well organised defence after the restart, and Roversio almost put through his ow net when he headed a corner against the bar. But the defender made up for his mistake by giving his side the lead after Jorge Molina headed on Salva Sevilla's corner, and with five minutes to go Molina got on the end of another Sevilla corner to put the result beyond doubt. (27.02.11)
Celta increased their lead at the top of the table with a 1-2 victory at Gimnàstic in the first match on Saturday evening. Tenerife's win the night before left the Catalans back in the drop zone, and visiting keeper Falcón had to be on his toes to keep out Sanchón early on. But with half an hour on the clock Iago Aspas ran on to a Trashorras through ball to beat Rubén Pérez with an angled shot, and ten minutes after the restart the keeper misread a De Lucas cross allowing Roberto Lago to score the second on the far post. Powel bundled one back with twenty minutes to go, but the Galicians held on after that for a win which gives them breathing room at the top of the table pending Rayo's and Betis's games tomorrow.
Fourth placed Granada moved to within two points of Betis after thrashing Las Palmas 5-2, a result which cost the head of visiting coach Paco Jémez who was fired soon after the match ended. Dani Benítez opened the scoring for the locals in the twentieth minute with a direct free kick, but Quero set up Sergio Suárez and then David González either side of half time to turn the scoreline around. Things looked good for the Canary Islanders when Mensah was sent off as well, but the ten men rallied and scored three times in the next ten minutes, Geijo netting twice and Iñigo López getting one in between. And Geijo completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes to take his tally to 19 for the season, consolidating his place at the top of the second division "Pichichi" chart.
Villarreal B drop three points behind Granada after a 0-1 defeat to Girona, who themselves are up to within two points of their opponents in sixth place. The Catalans have not lost since the start of 2011, and they went ahead midway through the first half, Jandro beating Diego Mariño with an angled shot after Peragón played on Bautista's cross. Iago Falqué brushed the post with a second half free kick and then missed another good chance later on, but they couldn't prevent a first defeat in six games.
It was a day for goals though, and nowhere more so than at Numancia, where Barcelona Athletic beat the locals 4-6 to move up to seventh spot. Jonathan Soriano headed Luis Enrique's side in to the lead on the half hour mark from a free kick, but goals by Nagore and Cedric two minutes either side of half time put the locals in front. Soriano scored two more though soon afterwards to complete his hat-trick, and although Iñigo equalised again, Espinosa ran through to restore the lead five minutes later. With six minutes to go Barkero made it all square for the fourth time from the penalty spot, but late goals from Benja and Edu Oriol completed the "set" for the Catalans.
Cartagena drop out of the play-off spots this week after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Córdoba, who move to within three points of their opponents in the table. The Andalusians took an early lead, De Coz working a 1-2 with Oriol Riera after picking up the ball in his own half to beat Casilla. Fifteen minutes later things swung more in their favour when Clavero was sent off for bringing down Charles as he advanced on goal. However the result was in doubt until two minutes from the end, when Charles headed a second to make it eleven home games without defeat for Lucas Alcaraz's side.
Lots of goals in Madrid, where Alcorcón beat Salamanca 4-0 to consolidate their position in the top half of the table. Quini got on the end of Borja's cross to head the opener on the stroke of half time, and Angel added a second with a long shot twenty minutes from the end. Quique Martín (who had hit the bar a few minutes earlier with a long cross) fired a penalty wide soon afterwards, but in the last five minutes Samuel fired in a long free kick and Rueda headed a fourth from a corner to make it thirteen games without a win for Pepe Murcia's new side.
Valladolid are finally recovering under their new coach Abel Resino, and they beat Elche 2-0 to draw level with their opponents in mid-table. Nauzet opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the eighth minute after Abel Antón was brought down in the area, and there were chances for both sides before the locals were left with ten men after Javi Baraja was sent off for a foul on Xumetra midway through the second half. Valladolid held on after that though, and with ten minutes left on the clock Jofre beat Jaime for a second time to make it three wins in a row for the Pucelanos.
Recreativo continue to struggle though, and they ended the day just three points above the relegation zone after they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom club Ponferradina. Rafita put the Andalusians ahead from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the area by Cuadrado on the half hour mark, but Acorán made it all square midway through the second half after a series of rebounds. The locals had a chance to win it though when they were awarded a second penalty for a foul by Toribio on Aarón, but the young striker fired his spot kick against the crossbar. (26.02.11)
Tenerife climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time this season after beating Xerez 2-1 in the Friday night game. The Canary Islanders have been improving steadily since Antonio Tapia took over at the end of January, and Julio Alvarez hit the post before sending across a corner which Pablo Sicilia turned past Chema late in the first half. Ten minutes after the restart Antonio Hidalgo made it two from the penalty spot after Bermejo pulled back Luna, and although Cordero got one back soon afterwards from Redondo's cross, Nino could have restored the two goal gap had the referee not ruled out his strike for a more than dubious offside. (25.02.11)