Celta finally put paid to a run of seven games without a win, beating Albacete 0-1 on Sunday lunchtime to move back up to third spot. The only goal came early on under controversial circumstances, referee Martínez Munuera turning down appeals for hand ball after David Rodríguez clearly controlled the ball with his arm before running on to beat Keylor Navas. For the next few minutes the locals were on top, but they were once again unable to find the route to goal, and Navas had to be at his best to keep out Michu, Alex López and De Lucas either side of half time. With the game coming to a close Tato was brought down as he advanced in to the area, but Martínez upset the home fans again when he awarded a free kick outside of the box instead of pointing to the spot. Another defeat for Albacete though, and they drop further down in to the relegation zone as a result.
The game between Alcorcón and Tenerife also kicked off at mid-day on Sunday, with the Madrid based team winning 3-2 to move up in to the play-off spots pending Valladolid's match later in the day. Nino put the Canary Islanders ahead three minutes before the interval following a corner, but before the half time whistle Quini made it all square from the penalty spot after a defender handled in the area. Ten minutes after the restart Iriome restored the lead for the visitors with an individualist goal, but with a quarter of an hour to go Jeremy got on the end of a Montañés cross to equalise, and a few minutes later Quini beat Aragoneses with a shot from outside of the area to leave David Amaral's team a point behind Albacete in next to bottom spot.
Alcorcón's brief sojourn in the play-off spots ended later in the day though when Valladolid beat Xerez 2-1. Bermejo hit the post for the visitors early on and Nauzet felt he was denied a penalty later in the first half when a defender blocked his shot with his arm. Three minutes after the restart Xerez took the lead when Lombán headed in a free kick, but twenty minutes later Nauzet equalised from Jofre's cross. And after substitute José Vega was sent off after picking up two bookings in a minute, Javi Guerra bundled in a last minute winner after an assist from Nauzet. Xerez ended with eight men on the park after Mendoza and Bermejo were sent off for protesting, and they end the weekend seven points behind their opponents.
Córdoba took a big step to safety with a 0-3 win at Villarreal B on Sunday evening, a result which takes them level with their opponents in the table, now twelve points above the bottom four. The youngsters had Gerard sent off ten minutes before the break for elbowing Luque, and the visitors took advantage to take the lead on the stroke of half time, Richy heading in from close to goal after Oriol Riera headed on a corner. Early in the second half Callejón beat Diego Mariño with an impressive shot for his side's second, and the locals were left with nine men when Mano was also red carded for bringing down Pepe Díaz as he advanced on goal soon afterwards. And with a quarter of an hour to go Callejón set up Charles for the third, leaving the home side in disarray after a fifth defeat in a row. (17.04.11)
Betis are back on track for an immediate return to the top flight after thrashing Cartagena 5-0 on Saturday evening. The game swung in their favour in the twentieth minute when the referee rather harshly sent off Cygan after he involuntarily blocked Emaná's volley with his arm, Jorge Molina firing home the resulting penalty. But the visitors put up a good fight, and Toni Moral almost caught out Casto before Emaná set up Rubén Castro for a second goal five minutes after the restart. Emaná himself scored an impressive third after chipping a defender before smashing a shot past Casilla. And after Víctor was also sent off for the visitors, Jorge Molina scored two more late on to complete his hat-trick.
Rayo Vallecano are keeping pace with Betis though, a 0-1 victory at bottom club Ponferradina taking the top two eight points clear of third spot pending Celta's game on Sunday. The gap between the two sides was not evident on the pitch though, and the locals had the better chances in the first half, with Yuri in particular bringing a good save out of Dani Giménez. Movilla and Piti tested Alejandro, but Yuri and Luis Prieto could both have given the home side the lead after the restart. However with seven minutes to go a hasty clearance by Alejandro allowed Movilla to set up Michel, and although the keeper saved his shot, Armenteros was there to turn in the rebound.
Elche stay in fifth spot after saving a point late on in a 2-2 draw at Girona. The Catalans started the match six points behind their opponents, and they needed a win to get back in the running for the play-off spots. Both sides had chances in the first half, but the locals went in front early in the second half when Despotovic headed in a corner. And when the Serbian striker added a second some ten minutes later it appeared to be all over. However with a quarter of an hour to go Angel pulled one back, and with the game in the third minute of injury time Bodipo ran through to equalise.
Granada are now only one point behind Elche after a 2-0 victory over Numancia earlier in the afternoon. The Andalusians started strongly, and with eighteen minutes gone Geijo got on the end of an Abel Gómez pass to open the scoring and keep up his battle with Jonathan Soriano for the second division Pichichi title. Local keeper Roberto had to save from Ion Vélez before the break and again later in the second half, but with a couple of minutes to go Collantes beat Lafuente with an angled shot to make sure of the three points.
The relegation battle is narrowing down to five teams, with Gimnàstic the only side that the other four could realistically catch. The Catalans moved four points clear of the rest though after picking up a point in a 1-1 draw at Huesca. The Aragón based took the lead somewhat against the run of play when Molinero beat Rubén Pérez with a shot from outside of the area midway through the first half. For the next few minutes the locals were on top, but Eloy latched on to Tuni's cross to equalise ten minutes after the interval, and Powel could have won it for Juan Carlos Oliva's side had he been able to control the ball in front of goal later on.
Salamanca drop further away from safety though after a 2-1 defeat at Las Palmas. Another change of manager once again failed to have any effect, although Balta's new side did take the lead when Juanpa beat Barbosa with an impressive shot on the quarter hour mark. Just a minute later though Ruyman headed in Pedro Vega's cross to equalise, and with five minutes to go Quiroga and Jonathan Viera combined to set up Javi Guerrero for the winner, a result which virtually ensures the Canary Islanders another season in the second division. (16.04.11)
Recreativo and Barcelona Athletic came in to their Friday night game with long unbeaten runs, the locals nine and the visitors eight, and that will continue for another week at least as the two sides drew 1-1. Recre took the lead on the half hour mark with a twice taken penalty after Abraham brought down Asen in the area, Pablo Sánchez scoring from the second kick after Jesús Vázquez had converted the first, only for the referee to order a retake. Second division top scorer Jonathan Soriano headed the equaliser though from Nolito's wide free kick midway through the second half to keep his team in third place pending Celta's game on Sunday. The point takes the Andalusians twelve points clear of the drop zone pending the rest of the weekend's matches, and they are now fixing their sights on the play-off spots, currently only five points away. (15.04.11)