A long opening weekend ended with a 0-0 draw between Murcia and Córdoba on Monday evening. The Andalusians made it to the play-offs last season, and they started well, with Javi Jiménez in particular making the save of the day from Joselu to keep the scoreline unmoved at the break. There were chances at either end as the game livened up in the second half, and with five minutes to go Murcia were left with ten men when Acciari picked up a second booking, and Abel Gómez fired the resulting free kick against the crossbar. (20.08.12)
For the second year in a row, Elche top the second division table at the end of day one, after a high-scoring 4-2 victory over newly promoted Ponferradina on Sunday evening. Xumetra opened the scoring for the locals with an individualist effort on the quarter hour mark, and although Yuri equalized with an angled shot a few minutes later, new signing Corominas won a penalty which Edu Albacar converted, and then scored a third himself after Fidel set him up. After the restart some slack defending allowed Carlos Ruíz to get another one back, but midway through the second half Carles Gil beat Leandro once again with a shot from outside of the area for what was the final result.
Numancia are in joint second spot, level with Xerez, after they beat Sporting Gijón 2-0. The visitors are one of the favourites to go up after they were relegated last season, but they were matched in the opening minutes as both sides created chances. With ten minutes to go to the break however a good run by Cedric ended with him setting up Nieto to score. And Cedric hit the post again before scoring the second himself on the hour mark after Juan Pablo could only push out Natalio's shot. Gregory did have a goal disallowed for a borderline offside, and substitute Guerrero fired a shot just wide of the post, but Manolo Sánchez's side will have to do better than this if they are to get back to the top flight at the first attempt.
Sporting end the day down at the bottom of the table, and Racing Santander are only just above them after they were beaten 0-1 by Las Palmas. The Cantabrians are in state of total disarray after going down, boardroom battles resulting in new coach Unzué being fired before he had even started, with Fabri brought in to replace him. The first team squad currently comprises of only seventeen players, and although Fabri expects to make half a dozen more signings before the transfer window closes, it is difficult to see where they will come from. With fans protesting as well, the visitors took advantage to go ahead when Machín slipped the ball through for new signing Christantus to score, and only a couple of good saves by Mario prevented his side from a bigger defeat.
Alcorcón only just missed out on promotion last season, losing to Valladolid in the play-off final, and they will be hoping to go one better this year. However they got off to a disappointing start, dropping two points at home in a 1-1 draw with Guadalajara. Both teams had made many changes to their squads over the summer, and there was a general lack of coordination in the first half amongst players just getting to know each other. The locals took the lead eight minutes in to the second half, Sergio Mora and Fernando Sales combining to set up Abraham to score, but a couple of minutes later Gaffoor got on the end of Espín's cross to equalize. Gaffoor got himself sent off for a second bookable offence late on, and after that both managers settled for a point. (19.08.12)
Three more matches on Saturday, with a bit of a surprise as newly promoted Lugo beat Hércules 1-0. A couple of seasons ago the two teams were worlds apart, but the Alicantinos failed to win back promotion to the top flight last June, and The Galicia based side won through their play-offs after a penalty shoot out against Cádiz. Since then though they have strengthened their squad with no less than sixteen new signings, and the latest of those, Quiroga, hit the crossbar early on. The turning point of the match though came eight minutes before the break, when Pere was sent off for bringing down Tonetto, and veteran captain Manu (the man who scored the winning penalty against Cádiz) stepped up to fire home the resulting spot kick. Hércules improved after the break, and Peña and Gilvan missed chances to equalize, but with ten men it was always going to be an uphill battle.
The other two matches on Saturday were regional battles, with Xerez winning 2-0 against Andalusian neighbours Recreativo in the last game of the evening. Wearing a second change kit that would have been more at home on the local beaches (red with large white spots!), the visitors had the better of the first half, Chuli in particular failing to convert a couple of good chances. But within eight minutes of the restart the home side went two up, veteran striker José Marí heading in José Vega's cross, and Alvaro Silva getting on the end of a Vega free kick to head the second. Ernesto did hit the post for Sergi Barjuán's side later on, but it was too little too late.
Further North, Catalan rivals Girona and Sabadell got their first points on the board after their local derby ended 0-0. Temperatures near the Costa Brava were high at the start of the match, and only a couple of efforts by Arteaga and Jandro caused any work for the two keepers, Mallo and Nauzet. The nearest anyone came to scoring though was midway through the second half, when a shot from visiting forward Ulises Davila came down off the crossbar and bounced on to the line. The referee decided that it had not crossed over however, and after another half an hour of to-ing and fro-ing he called it a day. (18.08.12)
Football is back, with a thrilling start to the second division on Friday evening. Villarreal began their campaign for a return to the top flight with a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid Castilla, although they left it late to do so. Jesé gave the newly promoted youngsters the lead from the penalty spot after Oscar Planas was sandwiched between Juan Carlos and Mellberg, the Swedish defender apparently handling the ball in the incident. But with the first half coming to a close, new signing Cavenaghi equalised, forcing the ball past Mejías after Mellberg's header from a corner was blocked. Uche felt he should have had a penalty himself when Casado brought him down soon after the restart, and with ten minutes to go Cavenaghi intercepted a poor back pass by Denis before running on to curl a shot wide of the keeper from outside of the area.
Castilla's promotion means that the old rivalry with Barcelona B will be renewed. And with the first clash coming up next week, Eusebio's side warmed up with a high scoring 4-5 defeat against Almería. The locals went two up in just over ten minutes, Dongou turning in Balliu's cross and Deulofeu controlling a long ball out of defence before rounding Esteban to score. But ten minutes later the scores were level, Aleix Vidal setting up Soriano and then Charles to beat Oier. Barça were left with ten men when Planas picked up a second booking on the stroke of half time, and four minutes in to the second half Soriano got ahead of Oier to loop a header in to the net. Deulofeu equalised again with a spectacular free kick from way outside of the area, but substitute Ulloa restored the lead with a header from Aarón's cross, and with two minutes to go to the end Christian got between his markers to head a corner wide of the keeper. There was still time for Deulofeu to complete his hat-trick, catching Esteban off his line again with an inswinging corner, but the final whistle went seconds later.
Last season's giant killers Mirandés were playing their first match in the second division after 85 years of existence, but their debut was somewhat marred after they went down 0-1 at home to Huesca. Carlos Pouso's side started well in a packed Anduva stadium, Garmendia bringing a good save out of Luis García, and Aitor Blanco and Muneta going close. But with twenty minute on the clock the referee ruled that Garmendia had handled whilst on the ground, and Camacho stepped up to drive home the resulting penalty. After that the visitors closed up shop, and although the home side did their best, there was no way through. (17.08.12)