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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 42

The final two matches of the season took place on Sunday in relative calm following the dramatic events of the night before, neither really having anything at stake. Deportivo’s defeat at Girona meant that Eibar were already assured of the second division title for the first time in their 74-year history, and they celebrated with a 1-1 draw at Numancia. Both goals came from goalkeeping mistakes, Sergi Enrich charging down Irazusta’s clearance to give the home side the lead with a quarter of an hour gone, and Raúl Fernández allowing Gilvan’s cross to bounce past him near the end. The locals played over half the game with ten men after Isidoro was sent off for a second yellow card, and they finish the season in mid-table having drawn half of their matches. Alcorcón just missed out on the promotion race last weekend, but they finished in style with a 1-0 victory over Zaragoza. Oscar Plano headed the only goal from an Iribas cross midway through the second half to give his team their sixth home win in a row. Another defeat though for the Maños in what has been a very disappointing season, and they will be hoping that their new owners (whoever they will be) can get them back to the top flight next year. (08.06.14)

An amazing last weekend in the second division, with the final relegation spot in particular only being decided with virtually the last kick of the season! No less than 14 teams came in to Saturday’s fixtures not knowing which division they will be playing in next season, six fighting for the four promotion play-off spots and eight trying to avoid the drop. In the end Murcia, Sporting Gijón, Las Palmas and Córdoba will play off for the one remaining promotion spot, and Castilla, Jaén and Mirandés will go down with Hércules, who were already sure of being relegated last weekend.

Two of the play-off places were decided pretty quickly, with Sporting Gijón and Murcia wrapping up their respective games early on. Sporting beat Tenerife 3-0, Lekic running on to a long ball out of defence to open the scoring with less than two minutes on the clock. Carmona made it two on the quarter hour mark with a shot from outside of the area, and Lekic rattled the woodwork before Scepovic added a third with a header from Carmona’s cross shortly before half time. Murcia meanwhile beat Real Madrid Castilla 1-0, Kike García getting the only goal of the game with fifteen minutes gone after Dos Santos headed back a Saúl corner, the referee waving away appeals for offside. Pacheco had to make several saves after that, and Wellington Silva hit the post later on, but the result was in doubt until the final whistle. Castilla go down though, and consequently Real Madrid C will be relegated from the second division B to the regional third division.

Las Palmas had some problems however before running out 3-2 victors against Ponferradina, Asdrúbal getting a last minute winner to keep his side in the top six. The visitors still needed a point to be completely safe, and Barbosa had to make a couple of early saves before Fofo beat him with ten minutes to go to the break. That left the locals momentarily out of the play-off spots, and although Aranda ran on to Apoño’s pass to level the scores three minutes later, Yuri restored the lead for the away side midway through the second half. Once again though the hosts responded quickly, Chrisantus latching on to Nauzet’s headed pass to equalize, and with the game coming to an end Asdrúbal headed in a long free kick to wrap things up.

Córdoba secured their place in the play-offs despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Mallorca, a result which also kept the Balearic Islanders up for another season. The visitors had the better chances in the first half, Hemed in particular going close two or three times, but Aouate had to be at his best to keep out Xisco, Dávila and Pelayo later on. It was a close call for both sides though, and Córdoba only held on to that seventh spot as the two teams below them, Sabadell and Recreativo, also drew 0-0. The Andalusians started the game two points above their hosts in the table, and for a couple of brief periods (when Las Palmas were losing) they were actually in the play-off positions. The locals needed to win though to have any chance of promotion, and only a string of saves by visiting keeper Cabrero kept the scoreline unmoved at the break. His opposite number Nauzet was called into action to save a couple of times from Linares after the restart though, and Morcillo hit the post late on. With the game in injury time Nauzet was sent off for a foul on Nong, but the game ended soon afterwards.

Incredible drama though in the relegation battle, with Mirandés going down right at the end as Alavés came back from behind to beat Jaén 2-3 in injury time. The two sides (only promoted last year) started the day level on points in the drop zone, knowing that only a win would save one of them. The Andalusians began strongly though, and eight minutes in to the second half Jona headed them in to the lead from Fran Machado’s cross. But with Jaén just eight minutes away from safety the visitors scored twice in three minutes, Juanma connecting with Raúl García’s cross to beat René, and then setting up Quiroga for the second. Machado levelled the scores again a minute later to leave both teams back in the bottom four, but with the game in injury time Guzmán headed the winner following a short free kick to complete a Houdini-type escape.

Mirandés themselves thought they were out of the danger zone a couple of months ago, but a run of six games without a win had left them just two points above the relegation spots, and a 1-0 defeat at Lugo signalled the end of a two year stay at this level. Carlos Pita got the only goal of the game following a corner with twenty minutes to go to keep the Galicians in the second division, and despite a frantic last few minutes the visitors were unable to find the route to goal. It was scant consolation that even a draw would not have been enough, as in that case they would have been involved in a five-way points tie which would still have sent them down on the head-to-head record, although in fact as the nineteenth placed team they still have a slight chance of salvation, as they would be reinstated if any of the other second division sides fail to meet their financial obligations by the end of next month.

Girona saved themselves though thanks to a 3-1 victory over the already promoted Deportivo, the 21 points picked up in 13 games under new coach Pablo Machín just seeing them over the finishing line. With their work done, the Galicians didn’t put up much of a fight, and three goals in a twenty minute period around half time by Ortuño, Felipe and Eloi saw them off. Arizmendi did get one back for the visitors near the end, but by then the local fans were celebrating that, after 23 weeks in a row in the relegation zone, their side had finally seen the light. The match between Hércules and Barcelona B also kicked off at the same time as the other eight, albeit that neither side had anything at stake, as their head-to-head results would have been taken in to account in the event of a multiple tie on points. As it was though Eusebio’s side ran out 1-2 winners to finish an equal best ever third, leaving the Alicante based team firmly anchored to the bottom of the table and facing a grim future. Munir and Bagnack got the goals for the visitors before the break, and Eldin pulled one back following a De Lucas assist early on in the second half. (07.06.14)