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Second Division B - play-offs, day 3

With the first two promotion spots decided, the play-offs continued this Sunday for the two remaining places. The two losers from the group champions’ play-offs both get a second chance, joining the six sides who qualified from the previous round, with home advantage in their second legs. As luck would have it, four teams from Catalunya all reached this stage, and as they have to be kept apart as much as possible, the pairings virtually sorted themselves out.

Group III champions Llagostera visited Real Avilés, but the small-town team’s dreams of promotion appear to be ending after they lost 2-0. The Asturians dominated for much of the match, Moragón having to save from Borja Prieto before Alex Arias connected with an Omar cross from the right to open the scoring in the twentieth minute. And with a quarter of an hour to go Arias set up the second with a back-heel pass which Dani López drove in to the net off the near post.

Group II winners Sestao fared somewhat better however, a 1-1 draw at Gimnàstic Tarragona giving them the edge for the second leg. The Basque side started well, Carrera having a goal disallowed for a previous hand ball and Tato firing a shot over the bar. However Cuevas went close at the other end just before the break, and three minutes in to the second half Lago Junior got on the end of a Jesús Rubio corner to head the opener. Soon afterwards though Jito turned the ball in to the net after Reina could only push out a shot from Diamanka, and the visitors held on despite having Cabero sent off with ten minutes to go.

A high scoring game in a rainy Lorca, La Hoya and L’Hospitalet drawing 2-2 in the end. Nico headed the locals in to a fourth minute lead from a Morcillas cross, but twenty minutes later Pol latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area to equalize. Armando hit the bar with a free kick before the break, and Nico fired a shot wide midway through the second half, but with ten minutes left on the clock David Haro got on the end of a Aridai cross to put the Catalans ahead. However Pallares headed in a late corner for the "Broccoli Mecanica" to level the scores once again, and the game ended in disarray as players clashed, visiting defender Moyano getting himself sent off for head-butting an opponent.

The match between Lleida and Leganés ended without goals though, leaving everything to be decided in next weekend’s second leg. The Madrid based side were looking for revenge after the Catalans knocked them out of the play-offs last season, and Carlos Alvarez poked a shot just wide after intercepting a bad back pass early on. However the locals had the better chances after that, Queco Piña having to save a header from Pere Milla before the break, and Biel Medina, Miramon and Imaz all going close in the second half.

Racing Santander and Albacete both won promotion last weekend, but they still had to play off to decide the overall second division B champions. There was a relaxed atmosphere in the Sardinero stadium for the first leg of those games, although nothing was decided after the tie finished all square at 1-1. Both coaches used the occasion to give run outs to lesser used players, Ayina heading the Cantabrians in front from Iñaki’s cross with only five minutes gone. Moutinho levelled it though on the stroke of half time after a good team move, and both sides settled for the result in a fairly event-less second half. (01.06.14)