Back to basics for leaders Elche, and after two defeats in a row they reverted to their old, defensive selves, beating Murcia 1-0 on Sunday evening. In the first half of the season they won no less than seven times by the minimum margin, and this time they ensured the lead early on when Angel ran on to Coro's through ball to beat Javi Jiménez in the sixth minute. Coro could have added a second before the break when his shot hit his own player Fidel as it was going in, and after the restart only a string of top class saves prevented Coro in particular from increasing the scoreline. Xumetra also put a good chance wide and Damián went close with a free kick, but there were a nervous few minutes for the home fans near the end as Onésimo's side finally put together a couple of attacking moves.
Elche increase the gap at the top to twelve points after second placed Alcorcón were held to a 1-1 draw by Numancia in the last match of the day. Julio Alvarez put the visitors ahead in the eighth minute after a good run by Cedrick, and Natalio could have scored a second a few minutes later had he been able to beat Manu Fernández. After that though virtually all of the play was in the Numancia half, with Ripa clearing off the line from Fernando Sales before the break, and Herrerín making the save of the night from Oriol Riera soon after the restart. Riera and Sergi Enrich both hit the bar after that, but it was only in the second minute of injury time that Dani Nieto latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area to fire home the equaliser and save a point which takes his team back above Girona in the table.
Almería missed out on a chance to return to the automatic promotion spots after they were beaten 0-1 by Sporting Gijón earlier in the afternoon. The Asturians have been moving up the table recently after a string of wins against the leading clubs, and they took the lead on the half hour mark when Santi Jata picked up Canella's pass to lob keeper Esteban. Jara came close to a second when he fired a shot against the upright before the break, but soon after the restart the visitors were left with ten men when Lora was sent off for an unfair second booking after the ball hit his arm at point blank range. However the locals were unable to take advantage, the closest they came a couple of dangerous Corona free kicks and a strike by Charles which was ruled out for a borderline offside, and after a third defeat in a row they are losing ground on the teams above them.
Villarreal were also brought down to Earth after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Recreativo. Marcelino's side had won their last three games, but they were unlucky not to go behind before the break when Chuli hit the post for the visitors. A minute in to the second half though Berrocal put the Andalusians in front after Farinós gave the ball away to Montoro in midfield, and only a couple of important saves by Juan Carlos prevented Arana and then Berrocal from making it two. Perbet felt he should have had a penalty when he was brought down in the area, but it looked as if a first loss in nine games was on the cards before young substitute Gerard Moreno headed the equaliser from Juanma's cross with only two minutes to go.
Las Palmas are now level with Villarreal in the table after they thrashed Sabadell 0-4, their sixth game in a row without defeat. The locals had the better of things early on though in a rainy Nova Creu Alta stadium, Barbosa having to make early saves from Abraham Paz and Anibal, and Lanzarote and Moha going close. However with ten minutes to go to the break the visitors scored with their first attack, Tato turning in Thievy's cross on the far post. And just three minutes later Vitolo made it two from the penalty spot after substitute Dani Tortolero was sent off for bringing him down in the area as he advanced on goal. Vitolo and Moha both failed to find the target early in the second half, but with an hour on the clock Tato got his second of the evening after controlling a cross from Nauzet, and with ten minutes to go Thievy picked up an Atouba pass outside of the area and ghosted past three defenders to complete the scoring.
Córdoba's push for a return to the play-off spots took a set-back though when they were beaten 4-0 by Real Madrid Castilla on Sunday lunchtime. The Andalusians went behind in only the fourth minute when Jesé converted a penalty after Kiko brought down Morata in the area, and just ten minutes later Jesé got his second of the day after Juanfran crossed in from the right wing. Morata picked up a pass from Borja to make it three later in the first half, and the youth international forward rounded off the scoring after picking up the ball in his own half and running through to beat Alberto with eight minutes to go.
Further down the table Hércules moved to within two points of safety after a 0-2 victory at Guadalajara later in the day. The locals had not lost in their Pedro Escartín stadium, but they went behind on the quarter hour mark when Braulio ran on to Edu Bedía's return pass to lob keeper Razak. The local keeper had to save from Sardinero and Bedía later on, and Cristian headed Azkorra's cross wide in reply. But seven minutes after the interval a cross by Peña from wide out on the left went past everyone in to the net, and although Antón and Kepa went close for Carlos Terrazas' team later on, they could not prevent a defeat which leaves them three points above the drop zone. (24.03.13)
Girona are up to second in the table pending Sunday's games after a 4-0 win over Mirandés on Saturday evening. Acuña fired a shot wide before Migue got on the end of Jandro's free kick to head the opener on the half hour mark. Soon after the restart Díaz de Cerio had a strike ruled out for a borderline offside, but almost immediately Jandro put Felipe Sanchón through for him to score his side's second. Five minutes later Sanchón got his second of the evening after José won the ball back in midfield, and Acuña wrapped things up with a header from a corner with twenty minutes to go.
Ponferradina are just outside of the play-off spots after they beat bottom club Xerez 1-2. Acorán got on the end of a Jonathan Ruíz free kick to head the opener for the visitors in the sixteenth minute, and Yuri made it after another free kick by Saúl fell to him early on in the second half. David Prieto got one back following a corner though, and Santamaría had to be at his best to keep out Lucas Porcar soon afterwards. However any hopes the Andalusians had of a comeback ended when Alvaro Rey and Mendoza were both sent off in the last ten minutes, the former for a tackle from behind on an opponent, and the latter for insulting the referee.
Barcelona B drop two points behind Ponferradina in the table after they were beaten 0-1 by Huesca. With several players on youth international duty and others injured, Eusebio was forced to make many changes to his usual line up. The replacements though were lacking match practice, and they went behind ten minutes before the break after a shot from Borja came back off the post, Jorge playing the ball back across for the striker to head past Oier. Lombán had a great to chance to equalise when the referee awarded the locals a dubious penalty after Dongou fell in the area, but he fired his spot kick against the crossbar. Three vital points for the visitors though, and they are now just two points away from safety.
Racing Santander sink further down in to the drop zone though after they lost 3-2 at Lugo. Oscar Díaz got on the end of a Julio Alvarez centre to open the scoring on the quarter hour mark, and although Quini headed in Koné's cross to equalise, Tena restored the lead with a header from an Alvarez corner soon after the restart. Iago Díaz made it three with a shot on the turn, and a second goal for the Cantabrians from a Docal free kick came too late to change the result. A good win for the team now managed by ex Racing player and coach Quique Setien, and they ended the day some eleven points above the drop zone. (23.03.13)