A surprise in the Riazor stadium on Sunday lunchtime, Las Palmas beating erstwhile leaders Deportivo 1-2 to move up to third place, just two points behind the Galicians in the table. It was club president Augusto César Lendoiro’s last game before stepping down after 25 glorious years in charge, and the club president was given an ovation by the fans at half time. However it was two of his club’s “ex” who sealed the victory for the Canary Islanders midway through the second half, Valerón’s pass to Chrisantus saved by Lux, but Aythami Artiles turning the ball in to the net on the rebound. Luis Fernández had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot in the ninth minute after David García brought down Luisinho in the area, but just five minutes later Nauzet levelled the scores with a second spot kick after Pablo Insúa fouled Christantus. The defeat means that Depor drop to second spot, behind Sporting on goal difference after the Asturians beat Castilla yesterday evening.
Deportivo’s defeat means that the league is even tighter than ever, with only nine points separating the two leaders from the first of the relegation spots, currently occupied by Tenerife after the weekend results. Eibar are back up to third, now only a point off the top two, after they beat Jaén 2-0 on Sunday evening. Visiting keeper René had to make a string of saves early on as the Basque side started strongly, and although Arruabarrena got himself sent off on the half hour mark for catching Hugo Alvarez with an elbow, Raúl Navas gave them the lead after Jota’s free kick was blocked some five minutes before the break. Numbers were evened up soon afterwards when Nando was shown a second yellow card for diving, and with a quarter of an hour left to go Jota latched on to a Morales assist to wrap things up. Zarogaza though are now two points behind Eibar after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Hércules, the first points they dropped since the new year. Despite the result both keepers were active throughout, Falcón saving from Acevedo, Alvaro and Montañés in the first half, and Leo Franco keeping out Portillo and Ferreiro. Luis García went close a couple of times after the break, but the visitors held on for a point which keeps them just above the drop zone.
Zaragoza stay in the top six, but Córdoba and Mallorca are just below them on goal difference after both won their respective matches. Córdoba won 0-1 against Ponferradina, Abel scoring the only goal with an impressive bit of individualist skill midway through the second half, although the Andalusians could have won by a bigger scoreline had the referee not ruled out a first half strike by Xisco after he ruled that the ball had gone out of play in the build up. The locals have yet to win in 2014, but they themselves felt they should have had a couple of penalties after the break. Mallorca meanwhile clocked up their best result of the season, beating Sabadell 4-1 to put an end to the Catalans’ run of four victories in a row. Alex Moreno latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area to open the scoring, and either side of half time Alfaro and Bigas scored two more, the first after a good run by Gerard Moreno, and the second with an acrobatic scissors kick. However Anibal rounded Rubén Miño to get one back, and the locals were left with ten men when Alex Moreno picked up a second yellow card with over half an hour still to go. Thomas got the fourth though for José Luis Oltra’s side soon afterwards on a quick breakaway, and they held on to move three points clear of their opponents in the table.
Numancia drop two points off the play-off spots though after they were beaten 0-1 by Lugo, who themselves move back up to within a point of their hosts as a result. It was a strange game all round, referee Figueroa Vázquez sending off visiting striker Rennella for what he considered to be a block on the line from Gafoor’s shot some five minutes in to the second half, then changing his mind and allowing the striker to stay on. That proved to be a vital decision, as Rennella was to score a last minute goal which gave his team their first victory in eight games. Add to that a stoppage of almost an hour in the second half due to a floodlight failure, and the home fans had a miserable night! Further down the table Mirandés inched back out of the relegation spots after a 1-1 draw at Barcelona B. Results earlier in the weekend had taken Carlos Terrazas’s side back in to the bottom four, and they went behind in the twenty-fifth minute when Edu Bedía beat Dani Jiménez after a centre by Adama Traoré fell to him. Igor Martínez headed the equalizer though just two minutes later from Koikili’s cross, and a heavy rainstorm made the pitch virtually unplayable after that. (19.01.14)
Sporting Gijón moved to the top of the table pending Deportivo’s game on Sunday after a 1-2 victory at bottom club Real Madrid Castilla on a rainy Saturday evening. Keepers Pacheco and Cuéllar had to save from Santi Jara and Raúl de Tomás early on, but with ten minutes to go to the break Carmona put the Asturians in front after a defender headed back a corner. Ten minutes in to the second half José Rodríguez cut through from midfield to level the scores, and Lucas tested Cuéllar again with a well-struck free kick, but with twelve minutes to go Scepovic headed in Carmona’s free kick to wrap up the three points for the visitors. Recreativo and Murcia move further away from the top spots though after they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw. The Andalusians had lost their last three games, and only a good save by Cabrero prevented Eddy from putting the visitors in front on the hour mark. With three minutes to go Murcia’s Dorca was sent off for a second bookable offence, but they held on to remain four points behind their hosts in the table.
The other two games on Saturday involved teams in the lower reaches of the table, Alcorcón climbing out of the relegation zone and up six places to thirteenth after a resounding 0-4 victory at Tenerife. The Madrid based side were still smarting about their late elimination from the cup midweek, and they raced into a two goal lead with only a quarter of the game gone, Javito picking up a headed pass from Sergio Prendes to open the scoring, and then firing home a second following a Dani Pacheco assist. Carlos Ruíz came close to getting one back when he headed against the post midway through the second half, but just three minutes later Héctor Verdés headed the third, and keeper Roberto had to make a couple of saves before Juli made it four with ten minutes to go. Alavés and Girona stay in the bottom four however after they drew 1-1 in the Mendizorroza stadium. The locals went ahead just a couple of minutes before the break when Migue turned an Unai Medina centre past his own keeper, but Matamala saved a point for the Catalans, firing a shot past Iván Crespo after Jandro’s corner came through to him on the far post some seven minutes in to the second half. (18.01.14)