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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 29

Zaragoza and Mallorca remain outside of the play-off spots after cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw on Sunday lunchtime. Both have been losing ground on the teams above them after long runs without a win, five before this for the locals and six for the visitors, although with the table so evenly balanced, two or three good results could take either back into contention for promotion. Thomas took advantage of a poor clearance by César Arzo to put Lluis Carreras’s side ahead in the sixth minute, but six minutes later Roger latched on to a Paco Montañés through ball to level the scores, the Maños’ first goal at home in four games. Both teams had chances after that, but with three minutes to go the locals had the best possibility to win it when Roger was bundled over in the area by Cadamuro. However Rubén Miño dived to save Luis García’s spot kick, and the veteran forward left the field in tears when Paco Herrera substituted him a minute or so later.

Curiously though none of the top four sides were able to win this weekend, third placed Recreativo failing to take advantage of poor results on Saturday by Eibar and Deportivo after they lost 1-0 at Tenerife on Sunday evening. The Andalusians had gone seven games without defeat, but they went behind on the quarter hour mark when Suso picked up a return pass from Aridane to fire a shot in to the top corner of the net. Cabrero had to save a couple of times from Aridane after the restart, and Alberto and Ayoze Pérez both hit the woodwork, but after Aitor Sanz was sent off the Canary Islanders held on for a win which takes them up to seventh in the table. Meanwhile fourth placed Sporting Gijón were held to a 2-2 draw by Numancia, who remain four points and two places behind their hosts in the rankings as a result. Sergio Alvarez gave the Asturians the lead in only the sixth minute with a first time volley from the edge of the area following a Nacho Cases corner, the first goal that Biel Ribas had let in for seven games. However less than ten minutes later Luis Hernández headed a Julio Alvarez corner in to his own net under pressure from Juanma, and only Alberto and the woodwork prevented the visitors from increasing the lead before Regalón headed in another Alvarez corner with twenty minutes to go. A few minutes later though Scepovic was tripped in the area by Sergi Enrich, and the Serbian striker fired home the resulting spot kick to save a point for his team.

Only five points separate Numancia from fifteenth placed Mallorca though, with four more between the islanders and next to bottom club Alavés, who were beaten 2-0 by Hércules. The Alicante based side started the game just a point above their opponents, but with only three minutes on the clock they went ahead when Sissoko got on the end of Ferreiro’s cross to beat Goitia, and just ten minutes later Pamarot got the second with a direct free kick which took a deflection off the defensive wall. Guzmán and Stevanovic did test Falcón after the restart, but the result was never really in doubt. Ponferradina find themselves down in the bottom four as well, for the first time since the start of the season, after a last minute 1-0 defeat at Barcelona B. Sandro and Dani Nieto went close a couple of times for the locals, and Yuri caused some problems at the other end on quick breakaways. However the game appeared to be heading for a 0-0 draw until the second minute of injury time, when the referee awarded a hotly disputed penalty after Edu Bedía’s free kick hit Juande on the arm, the 18 year old Sandro stepping up to convert the spot kick with all the coolness of a seasoned veteran.

Barça B are up to ninth, a point behind Murcia, who beat Real Jaén 2-0 in the last game of the weekend. The east coast team put aside the threat of liquidation by it’s creditors to move to within two points of the play-off spots thanks to two goals in the second half, the first by Alex Martínez, who beat René with an angled shot after picking up an assist from Wellington Silva. The Andalusians hardly troubled local keeper Casto all night, and Kike García connected with Molinero’s pass to wrap things up for the home side near the end. Lugo drop a point behind Murcia after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Madrid Castilla, a fourth game in a row without a win. Iván Pérez headed the Galicians in to the lead on the half hour mark from an Alvaro Peña corner, but Raúl de Tomás equalized some twelve minutes in to the second half after José Rodríguez and Aguza combined to set him up. The locals could have won it though had Manu not fired a penalty kick over the top after Derik pulled Rennella down inside the area with ten minutes to go. (09.03.14)

The top two both failed to win on Saturday night, although Eibar stay at the top of the table pending Sunday’s games after they at least managed a 0-0 draw at struggling Alcorcón. The locals themselves had dropped down in to the bottom four after nine home games without a victory, and although they had the better of the first half, once again they failed to find the target. Their best chance in fact came when Irureta prevented Diego Rivas from putting through his own net before the break, and the Basque side also didn’t cause too many problems for their hosts, Dani Giménez having to save from Garitano in the tenth minute, and Urko Vera with the match already in injury time. Deportivo though drop a point behind Eibar after they were beaten 1-0 by Mirandés, another team which started the weekend down in the bottom four. In a division which is typically low scoring, the Galicians (like Eibar) have forged their way to the top on the basis of a tight defence and an average of just over one goal scored a game, and neither keeper was particularly troubled in a dull first half. Insua and Toché did test Prieto after the restart, but with a quarter of an hour to go substitute Pablo Infante won himself a penalty off Alex Bergantiños, and stepped up to convert the spot kick himself. With two points separating seven clubs, the win takes the locals right up to sixteenth pending the rest of the games on Sunday.

The slip-ups by the top two has allowed other sides to close in on the direct promotion spots, and Las Palmas moved up to fifth after a 0-1 victory at Córdoba. The Canary Islanders started the weekend just a point above Chapi Ferrer’s new team in the table, and Aranda went close a couple of times before Tana got on the end of Dani Castellano’s cross to head the opener shortly before the break. Barbosa had to save twice from Xisco after the restart, but despite having Momo sent off for a second bookable offence with a quarter of an hour to go, the visitors held on for an important win against a direct rival for promotion. Sabadell are now level with Córdoba in the table after they thrashed regional rivals Girona 4-0, despite playing over half the game with ten men after Carlos Hernández picked up two yellow cards near the end of the first half. With half time approaching however Collantes put the locals ahead after Palatsi pushed Gato’s shot on to the post, and seven minutes after the interval Anibal headed a second from a corner. A few minutes later the Mexican striker got his second of the evening from the penalty spot after Chus Herrero was sent off for a foul on Gato, and Gato himself rounded things off with the fourth with a quarter of an hour to go. The defeat left Girona three points adrift at the bottom of the table, and it signalled the end for coach Javi López, who was replaced by Pablo Machin a few hours later after only eleven games in charge. (08.03.14)