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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 41

Alavés are the first team to be promoted to the top flight after they beat Numancia 2-0 in the penultimate match of the season! The Vitoria based side needed a win to tie up one of the two direct promotion spots before a tricky last day visit to Nàstic, and Toquero headed against the post before team captain Manu García headed the opener midway through the first half. Fernando Pacheco had to save from Pablo Valcarce and Del Pino, but with the first half coming to a close Raúl García made it two with a well struck free kick. That sealed it, and the Vitoria based side are back with the big boys after a ten year absence. The other direct promotion spot is between Leganés and Nàstic, although the Madrid based team keep their one point advantage after a 2-0 victory over Llagostera, and a victory at Mirandés next Saturday will see them go up. Gabriel gave the locals an early lead in front of a capacity crowd with a low shot past René, and Gabriel and Rubén Peña both went close before Miramón got on the end of Timor’s cross to make it two midway through the second half. The defeat means that Llagostera are relegated after two years at this level, and their future is now in doubt, with a possible merger with local club Palamós still being mooted.

Nàstic kept up the pressure on Leganés though, a 0-3 victory at Lugo maintaining their chances of a second promotion in a row. They must win though against Alavés next weekend, otherwise they will have no hope of catching Asier Garitano’s side, who have a better head-to-head record against the Catalans. The visitors went two up by the break, Mossa and then Emaná beating Roberto following Tejera corners. Reina had to save a Caballero penalty though after Madinda fouled Iriome in the area after the restart, but with the game coming to an end Jean Luc put Anibál through for him to score his team’s third. Whoever misses out on second place will however enter the play-offs for the third promotion spot together with three other teams, Zaragoza, Córdoba and Girona currently occupying those positions going in to the last day. Zaragoza hold on to fourth place though after they beat Oviedo 1-0, and they only need a draw at Llagostera next weekend to secure their spot. The Asturians came in to this match just two points below their hosts, with options themselves of making it in to the top six. However they failed to take their chances, and the Maños won it thanks to a controversial goal by Guitián in the twentieth minute after Rubén Miño had saved from Ángel, the referee ruling that the defenders shot had crossed the line before the keeper pushed it away again.

Córdoba are back up to fifth after they won 0-1 at Mallorca, a result which left the Balearic Islanders back down in the bottom four going in to the last day. Florin Andone got the only goal for the Andalusians on the half hour mark after Héctor Rodes set him up following a corner, but Ortuño came close to equalizing when he hit the crossbar near the end. Mallorca will be supporting Córdoba next weekend though as Oltra’s side host one of their rivals Almería, but for them to save themselves they still need to get a result at Valladolid. Girona meanwhile are finally up to the play-off spots after they won 2-0 against Alcorcón. The Catalans started the game a point behind their opponents, but with just over a quarter of an hour gone Rubén Sobrino picked up a Dmitrovic clearance to fire a shot back past the keeper for the opener. Cristian Herrera made it two after Granell’s shot was blocked with a quarter of an hour to go, and Mata could have had a third had his late strike not been ruled out by the referee. Curiously Girona’s last match is at Mallorca’s other rival Ponferradina, and it promises to be a nail-biting last weekend for all teams involved.

Despite the defeat Alcorcón still have a chance of making it back in to the top six, and Osasuna will also be waiting in the wings in case any of the sides above them fail. They too drop two points behind Girona though after they were surprisingly beaten 2-3 by Huesca, and having been in or around the top six all season their fate is now in the hands of others. The Pamplona based side had not lost at home in six months, and De las Cuevas volleyed them in to an early lead. However Berenguer was sent off for pulling down Tyronne as he advanced on goal, and Luis Fernández fired the resulting free kick past Nauzet to level the scores. Nagore put the visitors in front before the break, and although Mikel Marino made it all square again soon after the restart, Luis Fernández got the winner with two minutes to go. Huesca are now safe, as are Valladolid, who picked up the point they needed in a 2-2 draw at Elche. Roger gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half, and although strikes by Sergio León and Pelayo either side of half time turned the scoreline around, Juan Villar beat Javi Jiménez with twenty minutes to go to save the draw for his team.

Almería though are out of the relegation spots after a 2-1 win over Mirandés, and they now have a chance of saving themselves after taking seven points from their last three games under caretaker coach (and ex team captain) Fernando Soriano. Kalu Uche headed the Andalusians in to the lead from a ninth minute corner, and although Alex García levelled it with another header soon after the interval, Morcillo got on the end of a Pozo free kick to head the winner past Raúl Fernández with twenty minutes left on the clock. Almería edge in front of Ponferradina on goal difference, the León based side picking up an important point themselves in a 1-1 draw at Tenerife. Both teams had chances in the first half, Nano hitting the post for the Canary Islanders in the first minute, and Canada’s Hume missing a couple of chances at the other end. However Lozano put the locals in front after the break, and it was not until a quarter of an hour from the end that Raillo headed the equalizer which took the visitors a point above Mallorca in the table. Elsewhere there was a bit of a funeral atmosphere at Albacete, where the already relegated Manchegans beat bottom club Bilbao Athletic 2-1. All the goals came after the interval, Pulido getting a late winner after Santamaría had cancelled out Jason’s opener. (26.05.16)