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Match round-up - Second Division, Day 39

Alavés are now three points clear at the top of the table after they beat Ponferradina 2-0 on Sunday evening, and they could even be promoted on Thursday if results go in their favour in the midweek games. Both goals came in the first half an hour, Laguardia heading the first from a Dani Pacheco free kick, and Manu García scoring the second from the penalty spot after Toquero was pulled back by Alan Baró in the area. Berrocal and Jonathan did test Fernando Pacheco at the other end, but the visitors couldn’t prevent a defeat which leaves them once again in the bottom four, albeit level on points with Mallorca and Almería. Earlier in the day third placed Nàstic won 0-1 at fourth placed Zaragoza in the mid-day kick-off, the result taking the Catalans to within a point of Leganés. The only goal came from a fiercely dispute penalty after the ball hit Guitián on the chest and deflected on to his arm with seven minutes to go, Naranjo (who had an early penalty claim turned down) converting the spot kick. The Maños had a chance to equalize though when they were awarded a penalty of their own after Tejero handled in the area, but Lanzarote fired his kick up in to the stands.

Osasuna are back up to fourth after coming back from two goals down to beat Numancia 3-2. The visitors raced ahead early on, Nacho opening the scoring with a long shot in the eleventh minute, and Pablo Valcarce adding a second on a quick counter-attack on the quarter hour mark. Merino got one back two minutes later however after an Olavide free kick was blocked, and the Pamplona based side scored two more in the last ten minutes, Roberto Torres converting a penalty after Callens handled in the area, and Merino heading in an Alex Beranguer corner with two minutes to go. Oviedo though are out of the play-off spots after they lost 3-1 at Almería. Linares put the Asturians in front after Michel set him up with just under an hour gone, but some eight minutes later Quique levelled the scores, and Kalu Uche and Chuli added two more in the last quarter of an hour to give caretaker coach Fernando Soriano (team captain only a week ago!) a great start in his new role.

Almería’s win takes them out of the relegation spots, above Ponferradina on goal difference, and leaves Llagostera still three points away from safety after they drew 0-0 at Mirandés. The Catalans have René and the crossbar to thank for the point though, the keeper making important saves from Ion Vélez, Alain, Provencio and Alex García, although Raúl Fernández also had to be on his toes to keep out Imaz before the break. Almería visit Llagostera next Wednesday though in a key match which could decide who stays up and who goes down. Bilbao Athletic were already relegated last weekend however, and they were beaten 2-0 at Lugo, who are now mathematically sure of another season in the second division. Pablo Caballero headed the opener from Iriome’s cross in the twentieth minute, and with the visitors down to ten thanks to an injury to Saborít, Joselu rounded things off with a late penalty after Etxeberría fouled Iriome in the area. (22.05.16)

Although the first division has finished, the second division still has a month or so to go, play-offs included. There were another five games this Saturday, leaders Leganés surprisingly beaten 2-3 by Huesca, who have been struggling recently to avoid the drop zone. A capacity 8,500 crowd saw Camacho put the visitors ahead on a quick breakaway in only the third minute. And although Szymanowski made it all square with a twice taken penalty after Nagore blocked Gabriel’s shot with his arm shortly before the break, Camacho restored the lead with a header from a Fran Mérida cross after the restart. A few minutes later Mérida made it three with a second penalty after Mantovani fouled Luis Fernández in the area, and although Asdrúbal got on the end of a Szymanowski centre to get one back, the visitors held on for a win which virtually ensures they stay up for another season.

The fight to make it in to the four play-off spots looks like going down to the wire though, with eight or nine teams in with a good shout. Girona are up to fifth pending Sunday’s games after they beat Mallorca 1-0, the result extending their undefeated home run to eleven matches. The only goal came from a hotly disputed penalty in the first minute of the second half, Cristian Herrera converting the spot kick after the referee ruled that Héctor Yuste had fouled Borja García in the area. Local keeper Becerra had to make the save of the night late on from Ortuño though to ensure the win. Alcorcón move back to within a point of the top six as well after they won 0-2 at Albacete, the Manchegans looking doomed to relegation after ending the day seven points away from safety. Oscar Plano got both goals for the visitors following defensive mistakes in the last twenty minutes, although the Madrid based team could have won by a bigger margin, David Rodríguez having two strikes ruled out for borderline offsides and then hitting the post from the penalty spot near the end.

Córdoba are level with Alcorcón too after they won 3-1 at Elche. The Andalusians started the match a point below their opponents in the table, but they took the lead midway through the first half, Florin beating Javi Jiménez with a shot on the turn after picking up a pass from Luso. Armando levelled the scores though with a header from a corner soon after the restart, and a couple of minutes or so later Mandi fired in a free kick which bounced off the bar and over the line, the referee incorrectly disallowing the goal. With an hour on the clock though Pedro Ríos restored the lead just two minutes after coming on, and Florin wrapped things up from the penalty spot in injury time after Fidel was fouled. Elsewhere Tenerife kept alive their slim hopes of making it to the play-offs, a 3-1 victory over Valladolid taking them to within five points of the top six. Nano scored twice for the Canary Islanders in the last quarter of an hour of the first half, and although Oscar González got one back after the interval, Lozano made sure of the three points in the first minute of injury time. (21.05.16)