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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 41

Girona are close to joining the already promoted Betis in the first division next season after a 0-1 victory at Mallorca on Sunday evening. The result keeps the Catalans two points clear of Sporting Gijón, and a win at home to Lugo next weekend will take them up for the first time in their history. The locals had nothing to play for other than pride, although they had the better of the first half, with Bigas and Brandon going close. Juncà and Cifuentes replied with shots just wide of the mark after the restart, but the visitors were left with ten men when Carles Mas picked up a second booking with a quarter of an hour to go. Three minutes later however Sandaza got what was to prove the only goal after Mata put him through, and although Richy was also sent off for a second bookable offence near the end, Pablo Machin’s side held on for an epic victory.

Sporting Gijón themselves beat struggling Sabadell 2-0, but it now looks more than likely that they will have to settle for a spot in the play-offs for the third promotion place. The Asturians went ahead midway through the first half, Carlos Castro turning a shot past Nauzet after the keeper could only block a shot by Guerrero. And less than ten minutes later Nacho Cases made two with a low shot after Isma López and Hugo Fraile combined to set him up. The only replies from the visitors were a couple of weak efforts from Collantes and Gato, and Nauzet had to make two or three saves after the interval to prevent the scoreline from increasing further. The news that Girona had won though silenced the crowd, and with the Catalans relegated as a result of the defeat, the atmosphere at the final whistle was subdued.

Las Palmas and Valladolid have already guaranteed their berths in the play-offs, and with both winning on Sunday they are destined to meet in the semi-finals, with the former having home advantage in the second leg. The Canary Islanders beat Zaragoza 0-2 to make sure of fourth place, the result leaving the Maños with work to do if they are to hold on to sixth spot. Jonathan Viera hit the post for the visitors before Araujo ran on to Roque’s through ball to open the scoring in the eighteenth minute. Cabrera had a headed goal ruled out at the other end for a borderline offside, but shortly before half time Viera fired an impressive shot past Bono to tie up the three points. Valladolid meanwhile won 0-2 at Alavés, and whatever happens on the last day they will end the season in fifth position. Both goals came in the last quarter of an hour, Roger getting the first from the penalty spot after Migue pushed over Jonathan Pereira following a corner, and Pereira himself wrapping things up in injury time after connecting with Roger’s cross on a quick breakaway.

The last play-off spot will be between Zaragoza and Ponferradina, the León based side moving to within a point of their rivals after a 0-1 victory at Racing Santander. Both teams had chances in the first half, Berrocal going close a couple of times for the visitors and Miguélez and Rubén Durán bringing good save out of Moldovan at the other end. However Aguilar headed in a corner midway through the second half to leave the Cantabrians on the brink of relegation. Next weekend Zaragoza visit Leganés and Ponfe are at home to Alcorcón. Llagostera’s challenge for the play-off spots is over though after they lost 0-1 to Mirandés, who themselves jump above their hosts to eighth place in the table. Sergio León put Razak to the test a couple of times early on, Emilio responding with a long shot against the crossbar. Some twenty minutes into the second half however Pedro got what was to prove the only goal of the game with a shot across Moragón from the edge of the area.

Further down the table Osasuna beat Recreativo 2-0 to move out of the bottom four, a result which means that Barcelona B, Sabadell and Recreativo themselves are relegated. Vujadinovic headed the opener from a long Roberto Torres free kick on the quarter hour mark, and David García fired home the second after Oier headed on another Torres free kick. The Pamplona based side are now three points ahead of Racing, and only a defeat at Sabadell coupled with a win by the Cantabrians at Albacete next Sunday will reverse the order. Elsewhere Barcelona B were beaten 2-5 by Leganés, and they go into the last match of the season at the foot of the table. Munir did fire the youngsters into an early lead, but strikes either side of the break by Eraso and Alvaro turned the scoreline around. Palencia headed the equalizer from Joan Román’s cross soon afterwards, but Peña headed the visitors back in front, and Eraso scored twice more late on to complete his hat-trick. Any of the relegated teams could still be reprieved however if another club fails to meet their financial obligations at the end of the season, with two or three struggling at the moment.

Tenerife are safe though after they beat leaders Betis 2-0. With promotion already tied up, Pepe Mel gave a run out to several of his lesser used players. However they were easy pickings for the Canary Islanders, Suso giving them the lead after Ifrán set him up following a quick passing move midway through the second half, and Ifrán himself got the second, connecting with Vitolo’s cross to turn a shot in off the far post with ten minutes to go. Betis ended with ten men after Lolo reyes picked up a second booking late on. Two other matches with nothing at stake, both ending in draws. Alcorcón and Numancia drew 1-1, David Rodríguez connecting with a Kiko Femenía cross to turn a shot in off Gaffoor to give the locals the lead in the tenth minute, and Sergi Enrich getting on the end of a Luis Valcarce cross to level it against his old club with a quarter of an hour to go. And Lugo and Albacete also played out a 1-1 draw, Fernando Seoane getting the opener for the Galicians shortly before the interval with a shot which took a deflection off a defender, and Chumbi beating Dani Mallo to save a point for the visitors with a quarter of an hour left on the clock. (31.05.15)