Second Division A - Day 21

Atlético Madrid moved closer to first division football with an impressive 0-4 victory at third placed Burgos on Sunday lunchtime. The home side were reduced to ten men seven minutes before the half time interval when José Mari was sent off rather harshly for a tackle from behind on Luque, and shortly afterwards Carreras put the visitors ahead. Hibic got the second soon after the restart, and substitute Dani added two more in the last quarter of an hour. Toni Jiménez played in goal for the visitors after Mono Burgos pulled out with cramp in the pre-match warm up. Atlético end the first half of the season with a record 46 points, seven ahead of second placed Xerez. Burgos drop four places to seventh, and have not won at home now since the end of September.

Only two games were brought forward to Saturday as the league programme resumed after a two week break. Second placed Xerez were narrowly beaten 1-0 at Oviedo, who move up two places to fifth. The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot when Oli was brought down early in the second half by Kutschera, Onopko rolling the ball home past keeper Luis. Xerez tried their best late in the second half, but with top scorer Pineda suspended and conditions becoming difficult as the pitch cut up they were unable to work their usual magic. Off the field of play Xerez may be returning to the town of Jerez to play their home games after half a season in exile at Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The local council have offered them the 7,500 seater Juventud stadium, although controversial president Luis Oliver will ask fans before making the final decision.

Xerez still stay five points clear of the third placed team, who after all the weekend games were over turned out to be Racing Santander. They recorded their seventh home win in a row on Saturday evening, 2-1 against bottom club Poli Ejido, although it it was a lot harder than they thought as the Andalucians put up quite a fight. The visitors took the lead through Angel Rodríguez after good work by Oscar Arpón, and it was not until shortly before half time that the Cantabrians replied, Bodipo heading the equaliser for his seventh of the season. The turning point came soon after the interval when Ejido were reduced to ten men after Sevilla earned himself a straight red card for a hard tackle on Bodipo. Even so it took a long time before Racing could take advantage, and after visiting keeper Marcos saved a penalty from Regueiro, substitute Mazzoni finally scored the winner eight minutes from the end.

Albacete moved up to fourth place, a point behind Racing and ahead of Oviedo and Recreativo Huelva on goal average, after defeating Leganés 1-2 in Madrid. José gave them the lead with a calmly taken goal with twenty minutes on the clock, but Miguel Angel levelled the scores before the break heading home a cross from Pardo. However the Madrid side's defender Julián Ronda was sent off on the stroke of half time, and although Carlos Aguiar reorganised his defence at the break, Basti took advantage to drive home the winner five minutes in to the second half. The first home defeat under Aguiar takes Leganés down in to the relegation zone.

Recreativo missed out on the chance to go third after being held to a 0-0 draw by Sporting Gijon in their first match at their new Nuevo Colombino stadium. Problems with the turnstiles meant that many supporters did not get in until well after the kick off, and the club eventually had to open the gates to avoid crowd trouble. Sporting dominated the first half and only a good performance by Huelva keeper César kept the scores level at the break. However the visitors were reduced to ten men after Juan was given a second booking early in the second half, and after that the game petered out to a draw. Recreativo ended the day down in sixth place.

Eibar kept up their challenge for the hotly disputed third promotion spot with a 3-1 victory over Elche. Sukia opened the scoring early in the second half for the hosts, with Nino levelling the scores for the visitors from the penalty spot after Galdames brought down Moha. However Sukia headed his second of the night a few minutes later, and Jon Solaun made it safe near the end. Only three points separate the Basque side, who are eighth, from third placed Racing.

Salamanca and Badajoz lose ground on the top group though after cancelling each other out in a 2-2 draw. Makukula kept up his impressive scoring record with two goals taking his tally for the season to ten, the first coming in the first minute from Pepe Domingo's cross. Jorge Zafra equalised on a counterattack, but Makukula headed his second before the break to restore the lead. It appeared that the points were going to stay at home until Molist put Alhinho's side back level near the end, heading home Mantecón's centre to stay a point ahead of their rivals in mid-table.

Córdoba took advantage of the high spirits on the eve of their cup quarter final with Figueres to record a much needed 1-3 victory at Racing Ferrol. All four goals came in the second half, with the visitors taking a two goal lead through an individualist Alfonso goal and a header from Manolo. Delporte scrambled one back on his debut for the Gallician side, but Lawal hit the killer blow in injury time to take his team to within a point of their opponents. Ferrol's French defender Burle was sent off in the last minute after receiving a second caution from the referee.

A new look Numancia also moved away from the bottom spots with a narrow 0-1 victory at Levante, who stay third from bottom. Iñaki caught out keeper Veiga near the end with a free kick from over 30 metres which crept in at the near post. Numancia manager Sánchez Duque has cleaned up the dressing room over the holiday period, but he was on the receiving end of punitive action this time, getting himself a red card for protesting.

Another new manager took over this week, Anquela moving up from the technical staff at Jaén to replace Francisco after he resigned before the holiday period. His team could not break down Murcia's defensive wall though, and with keeper Reinke stopping everything thrown at him, the game ended 0-0. Murcia climb out of the bottom four having a slightly better goal average than Leganés.

Extremadura also moved away from the relegation spots after a 1-0 win against Gimnastic Tarragona. New club president Juanito was applauded in his first appearance in the directors' box after the ex Atlético Madrid defender announced he was on the point of signing veteran strikers Kiko and Pier to the end of the season. In their absence Jorge Pérez provided the only goal in the second half despite playing with ten men after Juan Carlos Moreno was sent off for a second booking .