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Second Division B - play-offs, day 2

Racing Santander and Albacete are the first two teams to win promotion to the second division A after both won through their group champions games on Sunday. Racing Santander beat group III champions Llagostera 1-0, the only goal in the whole tie coming in the last minute when Sellares headed a Rubén Durán corner in to his own net. A crowd of over 20,000 had turned up in the Sardinero stadium to cheer on their side, more than twice the entire population of the small town near Girona where their opponents are from. The Cantabrians dominated for much of the match, Javi Soria seeing his second half header pushed on to the post by Moragón, and Kone and Miguelez unable to convert chances late on, but the game appeared to be heading for extra time until that little bit of luck right at the end. Racing return to the second division after just a year away, and with the club returning to the hands of the true supporters after a long legal battle, they are back in business.

Albacete are also back where they belong after three long years in the wilderness, although their fans had to suffer once again before a 2-2 draw against Sestao River took them through on the away goal rule (the first leg finishing 3-3). As they did a week ago, the Basque side went two goals up, Jito converting a penalty in only the second minute after César Díaz handled in the area, and Gerardo Carreras scoring the second twenty minutes later after a mistake by Miguel Nuñez let him though. However with just over half an hour gone Rubén Cruz headed one back following a corner, and shortly before the break César Díaz made it all square after Samu laid the ball back from the by-line. Llagostera and Sestao have a second chance to be promoted though as both go in to the next round of the play-offs for the other two places, together with the six winners of the previous round.

As well as Nàstic and Lleida, who qualified yesterday, the other sides who will be in the draw for the semi-finals are Leganés, La Hoya Lorca, Real Avilés and L’Hospitalet. Leganés beat Guijuelo 1-0, Carlos Alvarez getting the only goal of the tie for the Madrid based team early on in the second half. La Hoya are through despite a 0-1 defeat against Las Palmas Atlético, Adrián’s late strike for the Canary Islanders not enough to overturn a 1-2 first leg result which saw the “Green Broccoli” through on the away goal rule. And Real Avilés cruised in to the next round with a 2-0 victory over Cartagena, Geni and Matías getting the goals in the first and last minute of the match to make it 5-1 on aggregate.

Cádiz are out of the promotion race once again though after they lost 2-1 at L´Hospitalet. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, the Andalusians appeared to have done enough when Juan Villar volleyed home a vital away goal with only twelve minutes to go. However ten minutes later Moyano equalized following a wide free kick, and with the game in the fourth minute of injury time the ex Cádiz forward Pirulo picked up Valentin’s headed pass to score the winner for the locals. That meant that four Catalan sides will be in the next round, and as they have to be kept apart in a draw which pairs the highest qualifiers against the lowest, it is already clear that Llagostera will meet Real Avilés, and Sestao will play Nàstic, with Lleida and L’Hospitalet to meet either Leganés or La Hoya.

The last two relegation spots were decided today as well, the two B sides Atlético Madrid B and Valencia Mestalla saving themselves after beating Caudal and Algeciras respectively. Both had already won their first legs away from home, and in the return matches Atlético won 3-0 with goals from Rubén Mesa before the break and Iván Sánchez and Samuel after the restart, and Valencia won 1-0, Chumbi getting the only goal with ten minutes to go. (25.05.14)

Catalunya’s Gimnàstic Tarragona and Lleida Esportiu are the first two teams to make it through to the second round of the play-offs after both won through their ties on Saturday. Nàstic were defending a two goal lead at Racing Ferrol, and they closed ranks to draw 0-0 in the second leg. The Galicians thought they should have had a couple of penalties before the break, and Comisaña and Barreiro went close later on, but the visitors held on to make it through. Meanwhile Nàstic’s regional neighbours Lleida came from behind to beat Toledo 2-1. Rufino ran through from midfield to put the away team in front just before the interval, but Raúl Fuster equalized with a well struck free kick on the hour mark, and Pere Milla poked home the winner five minutes later after the keeper blocked a shot from Chupe. (24.05.14)