Betis are back! Pepe Mel’s side are returning to the first division just a year after they went down, a 3-0 victory over Alcorcón on Sunday evening ensuring them top spot with two games still to go. Adán had to save from David Rodríguez early on, but otherwise the local keeper was hardly troubled, and with twenty minutes gone Rubén Castro picked up a Molina pass and ran on to lob Javi Jiménez for the opener. Some six minutes in to the second half the striker converted a penalty for his second of the evening and his 32 nd of the season after Dani Ceballos was brought down in the area by Guichón, and Molina rounded things off a few minutes later after Jiménez could only push out a shot by Piccini. Earlier in the afternoon second placed Girona moved closer to a first ever promotion to the top flight with a 1-0 win over neighbours Llagostera. Sandaza fired a shot against the post and Eloi brought a good save out of René as the locals dominated the first half, with Aimar heading a rare chance over the bar for the visitors. After the break Mata turned a shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy, but with a quarter of an hour left on the clock Sandaza connected with a Felipe Sanchón cross to beat the visiting keeper at the second attempt.
Las Palmas still have a mathematical chance of catching the Catalans, but otherwise the only team with a real possibility of beating them to second spot is Sporting Gijón, the Asturians remaining two points behind their rivals after a 2-0 victory over Tenerife. Bernardo headed just wide before Nacho Cases and Carlos Castro combined to set up Isma López for the opening goal on the strke of half time, and Castro shot inches past the post before picking up a Cases assist to make it two midway through the second half. Omar hit the post for the Canary Islanders later on, but they fell to another defeat which leaves them just three points above the relegation zone with two games to go. Valladolid will have to make do with a place in the play-offs though, a 1-3 defeat at home to sixth placed Zaragoza leaving them nine points below Girona in the table. Rubi’s side were actually leading at the break, Oscar converting a penalty after Mario handled in the area a few minutes before half time. Borja equalized though with a second penalty after Sastre brought down Vallejo midway through the second half, and the Maños scored twice in injury time to take the three points, Willian José firing home the first after Vallejo’s shot came back off the bar, and Eldin getting the second after connecting with Alamo’s cross.
Zaragoza’s win means that only Ponferradina can overtake them for the last play-off spot, although they themselves are now four points behind Popovic’s team in the table with a negative head-to-head record into the bargain. No less than six other sides say goodbye to their chances of promotion, including Numancia, who were beaten 0-2 by Racing Santander. Quique González put the Cantabrians ahead after with a shot on the turn a long throw-in came across to him with twenty minutes gone, and the on-loan Almería striker made it two from the penalty spot after substitute Kader brought him down in the area on the hour mark. The win takes Racing out of the bottom four, above Osasuna on head-to-head goal difference, and they may yet save themselves. Several teams in financial difficulties are also in danger of going down this year, including Albacete, who had a recent filing for bankruptcy cancelled by the Spanish courts. They at least made sure of avoiding the relegation spots though after beating Mallorca 4-2 in the last game of the weekend, the result taking them two points above their opponents and nine above the drop zone. The islanders went two up early on however, Brandon getting on the end of a Cifré free kick to open the scoring and Fofo beating Diego Rivas with another free kick. By half time though the Manchegans were level, Samu converting a penalty after Bustos fouled Carlos Moreno in the area, and Keko firing an angled shot past Rubén Miño just a minute later. With ten minutes to go Moutinho crossed in for Chumbi to make it three, and Moutinho himself wrapped things up with a shot from the edge of the area in the last minute. (24.05.15)
Las Palmas were the only one of the top five in action on Saturday, and they kept alive their hopes of making it into the direct promotion spots with a 4-3 victory over Barcelona B. Two goals from Araujo gave the Canary Islanders a first half lead, the first after picking up a pass from Jonathan Viera, and the second after his first effort was blocked. Viera latched on to Asdrúbal’s cross to make it three on the hour mark, and Asdrúbal himself headed the fourth from a Vicente Gómez cross with just under a quarter of an hour to go. At that point the game appeared to be over, but Dongou forced a shot past Raúl Lizoain just two minutes later, and Joan Román beat the keeper twice more with angled shots from the edge of the area to set up a nail biting finish. Paco Herrera’s side held on though for a win which takes them to within three points of second placed Girona pending their game on Sunday, and left the Catalans down at the bottom of the table after the rest of the day’s results.
Recreativo are off last place however after they beat Sabadell 3-1, a second win in a row for the Andalusians. Manu Molina connected with Caye Quintana’s cross to open the scoring in the seventeenth minute, and Montoro made it two early on in the second half after a short corner was played back into the area. Marcos García got on the end of a Cristian García cross to get one back with twenty minutes to go, but soon afterwards Pedro Ríos poked in a third after a good run by Nuñez to take the Huelva based side above both their opponents and Barcelona B. Recre are now just three points behind Osasuna, who stay outside of the drop zone after a 1-1 draw at Leganés. Kenan Kodro (son of the Real Sociedad striker) gave the Pamplona based side the lead from the penalty spot after César Soriano brought down Oier in the area shortly before the break, but Chuli saved a point for the locals after Diamanka won the ball back to set him up with six minutes left on the clock.
The result virtually ends Leganés’ challenge for the play-off spots, but Ponferradina are back on track after a 1-0 victory over Lugo. Manolo Díaz’s side had lost ground on their rivals after five games without a win, but they went in front with just under half an hour gone when Berrocal headed in a centre from Adán Gurdiel. Local keeper Kepa had some work to do after that, but any hope of a comeback ended when Diego Seoane picked up a second booking with a quarter of the match remaining. The result takes Ponfe to within a point of sixth placed Zaragoza pending their game on Sunday, and leaves the visitors still needing a point or so to ensure they stay up. Alavés also lost ground on the top six though after they were beaten 3-0 by Mirandés, who themselves are now level with their neighbours in the table. Alex Ortíz opened the scoring for the locals in the eleventh minute with a header from a Fran Carnicer free kick, Rúper made it two following an indirect free kick shortly before the break, and Pedro Martín wrapped things up from an Alex García corner with twenty minutes to go. (23.05.15)