Second Division A - Day 19

The second division started the year back in the doldrums, with only 15 goals in the eleven matches, and five of them from the penalty spot. Sevilla took over top spot winning a controversial match 1-2 against leaders Tenerife. The visitors went two goals up with a penalty in each half, and Tenerife pulled one back on the rebound after a third penalty was saved by the Sevilla keeper Notario. Both teams ended up with nine men on the park after referee Pérez Izquierdo sent off Lussenhof and Curro Torres for the home side and Prieto and Pablo Alfaro for the visitors. It was the 22nd time that Alfaro has been sent off in his career, the highest for any player in the Spanish leagues. Betis made it a double for the Sevilla teams, beating Leganés 1-0 on Saturday afternoon with a goal from César to go ahead of Tenerife to second, and in fact they held top spot for 24 hours until their city neighbours overtook them on Sunday. They have now picked up 16 points from their last six games. Levante, who lost for the first time this season away from home, played all the second half with ten men after Cabanillas got himself sent off for a second bookable offence near the break.

A one goal away victory too for Salamanca, who move up to fourth. Munteanu got the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the second half ending Extremadura's run of four wins in a row. Badajoz moved up to sixth extending their unbeaten run to nine matches with a 2-0 victory over Sporting Gijon. Bracamonte and Zafra got the goals in the first half hour of the game, both from set pieces after a corner. Murcia are now eighth after beating Eibar away with a second half penalty by Aguilar. Eibar, whose manager Ziarreta was shown the red card in the first half, dominated for much of the game but were missing their top scorer Llorente who was suspended. They are likely to miss him more in the future: Real Sociedad are recalling him and Xavi Alonso to rejoin their squad this month.

Atlético Madrid's good recent run came to a standstill with a 0-0 draw against a depleted Albacete side. Having won their last four games, including two in the cup against Salamanca and first division Osasuna, Atleti were confident of winning, but in the absence of the suspended Salva they couldn't get the ball in the net, and they ended the game with ten men after Njegus was sent off in the last minute. Albacete hold on to seventh place, with Atlético staying in thirteenth. Córdoba's new manager Sánchez Duque saw his team come back from an early goal by Morales of Leganés to earn a point with a penalty by Melgar in the second half. They stay in eleventh and sixteenth place respectively. Elche and Jaén drew 0-0, with another new manager D'Alessandro also in charge for the first time for the home side. He brought in new signing Vizcaino in place of Mazinho, who was fired for not turning up after his vacation in Brazil, claiming that the club owed him money.

He would have done better to take a leaf out of the book of the Compostela players. They have not been paid for three months, but they still turned up to win their second game in a row with a goal in each half from Aguado and Gudelj against Recreativo to move out of the relegation zone. The Huelva side had only let in six goals before this game, but they are still fifth despite the defeat. Compostela's place in the bottom four was taken by Getafe, who threw away a one goal lead in the last five minutes of the game against Racing Ferrol, who are now only one point behind them. US international striker Ante Razov equalised for Racing after Parrado had given the visitors the lead earlier on, and Manel sent fans home happy with a headed goal in the fourth minute of injury time. The two bottom clubs Universidad and Lleida did themselves no favours drawing 0-0. Only 900 fans turned up in Maspalomas in the Canary Isles to watch the game, and most of them wished they hadn't.