Elche are just five points away from promotion to the first division after beating Villarreal 2-3 on Sunday lunchtime. Fran Escribà's side had been losing steam recently, and after fourteen games without defeat the locals got off to a confident start, Perbet converting an early penalty after Albacar fouled Aquino inside the area. Perbet had another strike disallowed for a dubious offside and Moreno missed a good chance to score before the break, but the visitors turned things around in a two minute period at the start of the second half, Carles Gil and Generelo picking up assists from Coro and Fidel to beat Juan Carlos on quick breakaways. With ten minutes to go Uche made it all square again after Manu could only block a wide free kick, but Angel headed in another free kick at the other end to restore the lead, and Villarreal's challenge ended when Bruno was sent off for a second bookable offence with three minutes to go. Elche could even go up next weekend if they win and third placed Alcorcón don't, but Marcelino's team ended the day five points behind second placed Girona, and although they still have to play the teams above them, it looks like they may have to settle for a play-off spot.
One other match kicked off at mid-day on Sunday, Hércules taking another step towards salvation after a 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Huesca. Eldin opened the scoring for the Alicante based side in the eighth minute with a shot from the edge of the area, and only a couple of good saves by Luis García prevented Portillo from adding to the lead after that. Borja equalised though with a shot on the turn on the half hour mark, and the ex Atlético Madrid striker came close to scoring a second when he shot straight at keeper Falcón immediately after the restart. However Portillo headed in a dead ball kick with an hour on the clock to put the locals back in front, and they held to register a ninth game in a row without defeat which takes them four points clear of the drop zone.
Almería got their push for promotion back on track after they beat Racing Santander 2-1 later in the evening. Xavi Gracia's team had only picked up one point from their last three games, and they went behind again when Jairo beat Esteban with just under half an hour gone. Charles levelled the scores a few minutes later though with a hotly disputed penalty after the referee ruled that Martí had fouled the Brazilian striker, and early in the second half the visitors were left with ten men when Jairo was sent off for a second bookable offence. Charles hit the bar and Falqué fired a shot just wide, but the Cantabrians held on until ten minutes from the end, when Charles got on the end of Christian's cross to tie up a win which takes them back level with fourth placed Villarreal. A bad result for Racing though, and they ended the weekend in next to bottom spot, some seven points away from safety with only five games to go.
Charles's brace takes him to the top of the second division Pichichi chart with 22 goals, and Real Madrid Castilla's Jesé is just one behind him after getting one of his side's goals in a 2-0 victory over struggling Murcia. The youth international forward finished off a good team move ten minutes after the break to equal his team's best ever tally, set by the mythical Butragueño in his early days, and Alex Fernández wrapped things up from the penalty spot later on after Lucas was brought down by Jorge inside the area. Castilla are now mathematically safe, and Sabadell are almost there as well after a 2-1 win over Numancia in the last match of the weekend. The two sides started the game level on points, but Moha put the Catalans ahead following a corner in the eighteenth minute. Collantes added a second on the hour mark, and although Juanma got one back in injury time with a volley which went in off a defender, the strike came too late to change the result. (05.05.13)
Girona moved back up to second place after coming from behind to beat Alcorcón 3-2 on Saturday evening. The visitors started the match in that runners-up spot, and it looked as if they were going to consolidate their position when they went two up with less than half an hour gone, Oriol Riera heading Juli's cross past the advancing Dani Mallo, and then adding a second after the defence failed to clear another Juli cross just three minutes later. Riera came close to a hat-trick when he fired a shot against the outside of the post soon after the restart, but a few minutes later Richy scrambled one back after a prolonged attack in which the Catalans hit the woodwork three times. With a quarter of an hour to go Acuña made it all square after picking up the ball on the edge of the area to turn a shot past Manu Fernández, and seven minutes later Gerard Bordás fired a long shot past the keeper to take his side two points above their opponents in the table. It was a big blow for the Madrid based team, who ended with ten men after Laguardia picked up a second booking late on.
Las Palmas are up to fifth pending Almería's game on Sunday after a much needed 4-2 victory over Sporting Gijón. Last week's heavy defeat at Córdoba had left the Canary Islanders at the mercy of the teams below them, and they went behind in the twentieth minute when David Rodríguez converted a penalty after Murillo brought down Lora inside the area. Vitolo levelled the scores though just three minutes later with a second penalty after Iván Hernández handled in the area, and the forward scored his second of the evening on the hour mark after Chrisantus and Thievy combined to set him up. The Asturians were left with ten men when Hernández picked up a second yellow card, but Carmona made it all square again with ten minutes to go after good work by Lora. Chrisantus headed in a long free kick however to restore the lead, and with the game in injury time Thievy wrapped things up on a quick counter-attack to virtually end Sporting's hopes of making it in to the play-off spots this year.
Ponferradina are still in with a good chance of making it in to the top six however, and they stay just two points behind Las Palmas after a 1-0 victory over Recreativo. Yuri combined with Mayordomo to score what was to prove the only goal of the game in the fifth minute, and the striker had a second goal ruled out for a previous foul soon afterwards. Only a great save by Cabrero prevented Alan Baró from heading a second after the restart, but the Andalusians almost saved a point when Chuli hit the crossbar with the match already in injury time.
Claudio Barragán's side move level with Almería pending their game on Sunday, and Barcelona B are now four points behind them after they could only draw 2-2 with Lugo. The youngsters raced in to a two goal lead, Espinosa latching on to a Planas assist to open the scoring in the eighth minute, and then winning a penalty which Lombán converted a quarter of an hour later. Víctor Díaz got one back though with a little help from Ilie following a corner on the stroke of half time, and with the game coming to an end Oscar Díaz fired a long shot past Masip to save a point for the Galicians.
Further down the table Guadalajara and Mirandés cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw, a result which kept the visitors two points above the drop zone, still three points behind their hosts in the rankings. Alex García gave the locals the lead in only the second minute from Alvaro Antón's cross, and García and Juanjo came close to adding to the scoreline soon afterwards. Erice wasted a good chance and García hit the post as the home side continued to dominate after the interval, but midway through the second half the visitors saved a point with virtually their first effort at goal, Goiria heading Mújika's cross past Razak to keep alive their hopes of a second season at this level. (04.05.13)
With five games to go, Xerez are already sure of being relegated to the second division B after a 1-3 defeat at the hands of regional neighbours Córdoba. The Andalusians had not won a single match since the first week of November, but they took the lead when José Vega headed in Raúl Cámara's cross midway through the first half. However with twelve minutes to go Fuentes headed a corner past Toni to equalise, and a minute later Fede Vico beat the keeper again with a clever back-heel. That finished them off, and Xisco beat the offside trap near the end to wrap things up and end a spell of twelve years which included a brief season in the top flight just four seasons ago. With the club in serious financial difficulties, it is not yet clear whether they will even survive the summer. (03.05.13)