Betis moved to the top of the table, for a few hours at least, after a convincing 4-0 victory over promotion rivals Valladolid on Sunday lunchtime. The Andalusians had gone thirteen games without defeat since Pepe Mel returned to the club, and the 40,0000 turnout for this match was the season’s best. There was only one team in it though, Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro going close before the two combined for Molina to steer a shot over Javi Varas shortly before half time. Portillo put Castro through for a second soon after the restart, and Molina hit the post a few minutes later with the keeper beaten. With twenty minutes to go the visitors were left with ten men after Chica was shown a second yellow card, and Castro scored two more in the last ten minutes to complete his hat-trick, the first from the penalty spot after André Leao brought down Dani Ceballos, and the second from close up after Varela crossed in from left of the area.
Las Palmas end the weekend in first place for the fifteenth week in a row though after they drew 1-1 at third placed Sporting Gijón later in the evening, albeit that they are now level on points with Betis. The Canary Islanders had the better of the first half, local keeper Alberto having to make several saves in particular from Vicente. However the locals came back after the break, Juan Muñiz putting them ahead from the penalty spot after Davi García pushed Bernardo in the area. Aythami equalized though just four minutes later after the defence failed to clear a wide free kick, and Alberto had to make a couple more stops late on to ensure the point. All of that meant that Girona could have gone top had they been able to beat Ponferradina, but a 3-0 defeat meant that they had to settle for fifth place. Richy turned Sobrino’s centre into his own net to open the scoring on the quarter hour mark, and Sobrino got on the end of Tete’s cross to bundle in the second some fifteen minutes later. With an hour gone Acorán made it three after a corner bounced through to him, and visiting keeper Kepa made a couple of good saves late on to ensure a clean sheet.
The win takes Ponferradina above Zaragoza to sixth after the Maños lost 3-2 to Mallorca. Truyols had a strike disallowed before Xisco headed the opener for the locals in the fifth minute. Some four minutes later though Borja levelled the scores from the penalty spot after Joao Víctor brought him down in the area, and two minutes after that Eldin put the visitors ahead with a shot from outside of the area which deflected off a defender and went through the hands of Cabrero. But Pedro was sent off soon afterwards after picking up two bookings in quick succession, and Bigas made it all square again later in the first half with a first time volley from Joselu’s cross. Visiting coach Popovic was shown a red card at the break for allegedly punching the Mallorca team delegate, and ten minutes after the restart Arana converted a penalty after Mario handled in the area to give Miguel Soler’s side a third victory in a row.
Mallorca are now tenth, a point ahead of Llagostera and Alcorcón in the table. Llagostera continued their recent good run with a 3-1 win over Alavés, the Catalans now having taken thirteen points from their last five games. Imaz put them in front in the seventeenth minute after Manu Fernández could only push out a shot from Sergio León, and León got the second just two minutes later, running on to Pitu’s long pass and lifting the ball over the keeper before turning a shot into the net. Later in the first half Querol got in front of the keeper to head on a long ball and run the ball in to the goal, and with ten minutes to go Juanma got one back for the visitors with a low shot from the edge of the area. Alcorcón meanwhile could only draw 1-1 with Recreativo, who stay down in the relegation zone as a result. The Madrid based side had not won at home since early December, but they took the lead midway through the first half when Guichón beat Rubén Gálvez with a well struck free kick. However they were left with ten men when Fernando picked up a second booking a few minutes after the interval, and Menosse saved a point for the Andalusians, turning a shot past Javi Jiménez after the keeper could only block a previous effort from Montero. (08.03.15)
Five matches on Saturday evening, largely involving teams in the lower half of the table. The league programme was overshadowed though by news that an ex-president and other officials of Osasuna had been arrested after allegations of match fixing at the end of last season, with some €2.4 million unaccounted for. On the footballing front, Osasuna themselves are in free-fall as well, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Racing Santander leaving them just two points above their hosts, who now occupy the last relegation spot. Both sides had changed their coaches this week after four losses in a row, but Alvaro García headed the Cantabrians into the lead on the stroke of half time after a series of chances, and Borja Granero headed in a corner midway through the second half to give Pedro Munitis a win in his first game in charge. Racing move above Barcelona B, who have only picked up one point from their last five matches after losing 3-2 at Lugo. Iriome and Pita combined to set up Isra Puerto for the opener in the eighteenth minute, but Sandro equalized on the stroke of half time after Dani Mallo failed to hold on to Grimaldo’s cross, and Cámara put the visitors in front with a low shot from the edge of the area after the restart. Caballero made it all square again however with a header from Iriome’s centre, and Luis Fernández got the winner with a final touch after Samper headed a last minute corner back towards his own goal.
Lugo are up to tenth pending Sunday’s games still a point behind Numancia, who won 1-0 against Mirandés in the first match of the weekend. The visitors had not won in seven games, but they had the better chances, with Urko Vera in particular causing problems for the local defence. However with ten minutes to go Julio Alvarez beat Razak with a well struck free kick to give his side the three points. Numancia’s victory takes them level with eighth placed Leganés, who were beaten 1-0 by Tenerife. Maxi Pérez got the only goal for the Canary Islanders shortly before the interval after picking up an assist from Juan Carlos Real, but Velasco hit the post after the restart, and local keeper Dani Hernández had to save from Chuli, Prendes and Morán later on to maintain the result. Raúl Agné’s team are now four points clear of the drop zone, and two above Albacete, who were held to a 0-0 draw by bottom club Sabadell. Both sides hit the woodwork, Rubén Cruz heading against the crossbar before the break and Collantes nipping in to turn a shot against the upright in the second half, but in the end both coaches settled for a point. (07.03.15)