Two matches at mid-day on Sunday, the traditional "three kings day" in Spain, with Girona failing to recover second spot after they were beaten 0-1 by promotion rivals Almería. Although the visitors had most of the possession in the first half, the best chances fell to the Catalans, with Benja, Felipe and Luso all going close. After the interval Esteban had to be at his best to keep out Acuña, and Soriano replied with an effort which Dani Mallo did well to save. However with the game in injury time substitute Chumbi headed in a wide Carlos Calvo free kick to give his side three points which takes them level with their hosts in the table.
Hércules have been going from bad to worse this season, and they remain firmly anchored to the foot of the table after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Murcia. Quique Hernández's side took the lead though with a well struck Edu Bedia free kick midway through the first half, but Kike García headed the equaliser from Miguel Albiol's cross just before the break. The Alicantinos felt themselves hard done by however after the restart, referee Arias López ruling out a good goal by Toti for a non-existent offside and then awarding a more than dubious penalty for a foul by David Cortés on Kike, Fran Mérida getting himself sent off in to the bargain for protesting. Whatever the case, Emilio Sánchez converted the spot kick to give the locals only their second win in ten games.
Later in the evening leaders Elche beat Sabadell 3-2 to open up a massive ten point lead at the top of the table. All the goals came in the first half, with Etxeita heading the first from a Damián Suárez corner. Lanzarote levelled the scores almost immediately with a direct free kick, but with just over a quarter of an hour gone Powel got on the end of another Suárez corner to restore the lead. Antonio Hidalgo made it all square again after good work by Collantes, but just before the break Hidalgo headed Edu Albacar's free kick back in to his own net, and the locals closed up shop after the restart to ensure a tenth straight win in their Martínez Valero stadium. First division here they come!
Las Palmas came in to their match at Numancia knowing that a win would take them up in to the play-off spots, but they will have to wait another week at least after falling to a 3-0 defeat. Natalio opened the scoring for the Soria based side after Juanjo set him up some ten minutes in to the second half, and Juanjo himself added a second before Natalio wrapped things up on a quick breakaway near the end. The result takes the locals to within two points of their opponents, and brings to an end the Canary Islanders' run of fifteen games without defeat in all competitions.
Further down the table Huesca drop to next to bottom spot, although new coach Jorge D'Alessandro can take some comfort out of a 1-1 draw at Xerez. Marquitos put the Andalusians ahead shortly before half time following a cross from Mendoza, but after the break Nacho Novo got on the end of Camacho's centre to save a point for the visitors. Huesca stay level with Mirandés, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Córdoba. It was a lively match, the best chances falling to Rennella and Díaz de Cerio, but in the end both coaches settled for a point. A 0-0 draw as well between Lugo and Guadalajara in their opening game of the new year, some good goalkeeping in particular by new signing Razak earning a point for Carlos Terrazas team which keeps them three points clear of the drop zone. (06.01.13)
Alcorcón are up to second in the table pending the rest of the weekend's games after coming from two goals down to beat neighbours Real Madrid Castilla 3-2 on Saturday evening. The visitors went two up with only twenty minutes on the clock, Jesé running on to Morata's through ball to open the scoring, and Cheryshev heading the second on the near post from Juanfran's corner. However shortly before half time Miguélez connected with a Fernando Sales cross to pull one back, and Oriol headed two past Jesús from crosses by Sales and Juli in a seven minute period midway through the second half to turn the scoreline around.
Villarreal lost more ground on the teams above them though after they were beaten 1-3 by Barcelona B, their first home defeat of the season. The visitors should have taken the lead a couple of minutes before the interval when Mellberg gave away a penalty, but Juan Carlos gueesed correctly and saved Deulofeu's penalty. However Planas turned in the resulting corner to open the scoring, and with just over a quarter of an hour to go Lobato curled a shot wide of the keeper to make it two. Marcos Senna got one back from the penalty spot after Uche was fouled in the area, but a few minutes later Jaume Costa deflected the ball in to his own net after Juan Carlos could only block a shot from Sergi Roberto.
Barcelona B move up to fifth, climbing above their opponents and Ponferradina, who were beaten 2-1 by Racing Santander. The Cantabrians had not won a match since the beginning of November, and they fell behind in only the second minute when Mayordomo finished off a rapid counter-attack. For a few minutes Claudio Barragán's side appeared to be on their way to a seventh straight win, but Koné headed the equaliser on the half hour mark, and Marcos Gullón fired home the winner following a goalmouth scramble with ten minutes to go.
Recreativo are now three points away from the play-off spots after a 1-1 draw against Sporting Gijón. The Asturians had not lost in five games, and they went ahead in the tenth minute when Mandi took advantage of some poor defending to run on and beat Cabrero. Trejo hit the post a few minutes later as the visitors pushed for a second, but with twenty minutes left to go Chuli picked up a through ball from Dimas to fire the equaliser past Juan Pablo. (05.01.13)