The play-offs for promotion and relegation began this weekend, with 16 teams vying to occupy the four promotion spots, and four fighting to avoid the drop. As in previous years, the four regional group champions compete for two of those places, and Real Madrid's B team Castilla are best placed to go up after they beat Cádiz 0-3 on Sunday Despite the foul weather a 15,000 capacity crowd turned up in the Ramón de Carranza stadium, but they were soon silenced when Joselu combined with Iván González to open the scoring in the sixteenth minute. Later in the first half Joselu added a second with a clever back-heel, and Morata wrapped things up with ten minutes to go. Mirandés have the edge over Atlético Baleares in the other champions final, the giant killers from the cup coming away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a strike early in the second half by Mujika. The locals wasted several chances to extend their lead, but Antoñito could have saved a draw for the Mallorca based side had he been able to beat Nauzet late on.
The two losers of the champions finals go in to the hat with the six winners of the other play-off ties. One of those took place on Saturday, with Amorebieta and Linense cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw. Copi put the Andalusian visitors ahead, lobbing Etxebarrieta in only the second minute, but Alberdi equalised for the Basque side shortly before half time. A minute later they were left with ten men when Aldalur was sent off for a hard tackle on an opponent, but they held on to give themselves a chance in next week's second leg. Tenerife are one of the strong favourites to go up, and they came away alive from Badalona after saving a late 1-1 draw. The Catalans started strongly, Xavi Muñoz having a strike incorrectly ruled out before Goikoetxea put them ahead following a corner at the beginning of the second half. But although Serramitja rattled the woodwork later on, Zazo headed past Marcos with two minutes to go to make it all square.
Albacete are also looking to return to the second division at the first attempt, although they have some work to do after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Orihuela. The Manchegans had the better of the opening minutes, but the visitors took the lead in their first attack, Iván Espadas knocking in the rebound after Carmelo headed Rico's corner against the bar. Ten minutes after the restart Adrià levelled the scores after latching on to a loose ball in the area, but they were unable to break down a well ordered defence after that. Ponferradina are also keen to return to the "silver division" after their relegation last year, but they will have to wait until the second leg after losing 2-1 at Jaén. All the goals came after the break, Ismael putting through his own net with just under an hour on the clock, and Javi López scoring the second for the Andalusians four minutes later. Acorán kept the León based team in the tie though with an important away goal with twenty minutes to go.
After failing to win promotion the last two years, Eibar are hoping that it will be third time lucky. However they have a small mountain to climb after they lost 1-0 at Lugo in their first leg tie. The Galicians were by far the better side, Isma and Iago wasting chances before Belencoso headed what was to prove the only goal after good work by Quero with a quarter of an hour to go. Huracán and Lucena are on unchartered territory though, the Valencia based side only formed in 2011, and only in the second division B after buying a place left vacant by Torrellano, and the team from Córdoba never having been better than sixth at this level to date. Nerves got the better of them both though, and their match finished 0-0.
The four teams who finished fifth from bottom in their respective groups are also playing off to try and avoid the last two relegation spots. Zaragoza B (another team who bought their way up last season) have a slight advantage over Conquense after beating the Cuenca based side 1-0 on Saturday evening. Fran got the only goal with a direct free kick three minutes from the end. And Palencia are close to survival after a 2-0 win over Lorca Atlético on Sunday, Jorca and Durántez getting the goals in the second half, and local keeper Ruyales doing the rest. (20.05.12)