Second Division A - Day 34

Leaders Atlético Madrid were surprisingly beaten 5-1 by an Elche side who are making a late challenge for promotion. Serrano came face to face with Mono Burgos for the first time since the keeper was given a three month suspension for knocking the striker out two seasons ago, and the centre forward got the better of his adversary to open the scoring with a lob in the twentieth minute. Nino scored a second on the goal line a few minutes later, and Atlético were reduced to ten men before the break when Correa was sent off for arguing with the linesman. Elche's keeper Valerio saved a Diego Alonso penalty in the second half and soon afterwards Nino scored his second of the night from Moha's pass, taking him to the top of the Pichichi table with eighteen goals. Raúl Ivars got a fourth, again after good work by Moha, before Dani pulled one back for the visitors with a shot from outside of the area. But then Atlético were down to nine after García Calvo was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Israel completed the rout with a fifth goal in the last minute. Atlético have only picked up two points in their last four games, although they are still sitting comfortably at the top, ten points clear of the fourth placed side.

Bernd Schuster's Xerez closed up to within four points of Atlético after their 0-0 draw at Murcia. The home side were on top for most of the first half but could not find the net, with Godino missing the clearest chance midway through the half. Xerez did not even get close to Reinke's goal until shortly before the break, although Mena did cause some problems for the German keeper after the restart. As the game wore on the visitors used spoiling tactics to conserve the point, and Moreno got himself sent off for a second bookable offence near the end. Tito wasted a last minute opportunity to wrap it up for David Vidal's side, but the point was enough to see them move three points above the drop zone. Off the field of play controversial president Luis Oliver sold the club to local businessman José María Gil Silgado, and hopefully relations with the local council will improve as a result.

Third placed Recreativo Huelva failed to take advantage of the slips of the teams above them, losing 0-1 at home to Burgos. The visitors had gone no less than 874 minutes without scoring a goal, and there were mighty celebrations when Dani Pendín followed up after José Mari failed to head home a long free kick from the left wing half an hour in to the game. Both keepers made good saves in the first half, and Dani Pendín cleared a Raúl Molina effort off the line right at the end to ensure his side's first win in thirteen games. Recre non-playing substitute Oscar was shown a red card at the end for protesting, and the home fans invaded the pitch to complain about the visiting side's time wasting tactics. The Andalucians stay in the promotion zone though after the teams below them failed to take full advantage.

Racing Santander could have gone third had they beaten Sporting Gijon in the Molinon stadium, but in the end they were held to a 1-1 draw and had to make do with closing the gap on Recreativo to one point. Txiki put the visitors ahead in the ninth minute from Sierra's cross, and Lemmens saved well from Villa at the other end before half time. However Soto equalised for the Asturians in the second half after the referee played the advantage rule when Dani Borreguero was brought down in the area, and he almost scored a second a minute or two later when his long shot hit the post after Lemmens cleared badly. The Belgian keeper hit his head on the post in that incident, but recovered to play out the match. Sporting's Lozano was sent off in the last minute, but by then the game was over and his side keep up their six match unbeaten run, albeit dropping two places to eighth.

The winners of the day though were Oviedo, who closed up on the top spots after coming from behind to beat Numancia 1-2, thanks in part to another good performance by keeper Esteban late in the second half. The Sorian side took the lead through Real Madrid's on-loan young striker Aranda, who ran on to a long clearance by keeper Jonathan to beat Esteban on the half hour mark. However Geni levelled the scores with a header from a corner only one minute after the restart, and Jaime gave the Asturians the three points seven minutes later with a strike from inside the area, taking them to within a point of Racing and two of Recreativo. Numancia drop back to sixteenth, and are now only one point above the bottom four.

Albacete kept their outside chance of promotion alive with a narrow 1-0 victory over relegation candidates Gimnastic Tarragona. The only goal came in the tenth minute under controversial circumstances, referee Román González failing to spot that Basti had controlled the ball with his hand before scoring past Javi Ruíz. The young keeper saved well from José before the break to keep his side in the game, but the Catalans' challenge fizzled out in the second half after Pinilla and Herrero got in each others' way a yard from goal. Albacete move to within five points of third place, and Nàstic drop to bottom spot after the teams below them all picked up points.

Racing Ferrol drew 2-2 in an exciting match at Leganés, a result which leaves the Gallician side virtually out of the promotion race and takes the hosts back into perilous waters just three points above the bottom four. The Madrid side started well, opening the scoring through Miguel Angel after they had twice hit the woodwork. However Clotet hit the bar and Oscar had a goal disallowed before Emery equalised from Ismael's cross, and Ismael himself put the visitors in front soon after the interval. Fede Bahón salvaged a point with a header from a corner later on, and Ferrol ended the game with ten men after Pablo picked up a second yellow card after the goal.

Córdoba are also starting to falter after a run of six games without defeat under new manager García Remón, and they were beaten 0-1 at home on Saturday evening by their improving neighbours Poli Ejido. The home side had the better chances, with Platero shooting just wide in the first half and Alfonso seeing his effort cleared off the line with the keeper beaten after the restart. However on-loan Deportivo striker Changui was brought down by Ramón in the penalty area on the hour mark, and Oscar Arpón stepped up to beat Jauregui with the spot kick for the only goal of the match. Ejido have only lost once now in the last eight games, and for 24 hours they climbed out of the relegation zone before ending the weekend in twentieth spot.

New manager Manolo Jiménez recorded his first victory in charge of Jaén to take them back out of the relegation spots. Their 0-1 win at Salamanca moves them a point above the bottom four and gives them hope of surviving for another season in the silver division. The only goal of the game came in the fifteenth minute from the penalty spot, Pepelu converting the kick after Pedro handled in the area. The home side only managed their first shot at goal through Makukula late in the first half, and were impotent in front of Raúl, especially after Pedro got himself sent off when he picked up a second booking twenty minutes from the end. Salamanca ended the day in mid-table, but the crowd called for the head of manager Balta after having only taken one point from their last three games.

The Extremaduran derby between the team who carry the name of the province and their neighbours Badajoz ended in an all square 2-2, leaving Extremadura back down in the bottom four. The visitors started well, going into a two goal lead with headed goals from Pier and Jesús with less than half an hour on the clock, both after mistakes by keeper Baines. However Rodri pulled one back for Badajoz just three minutes later, and Molist struck the equaliser with a shot from outside of the area in the second half. The home side stay six points ahead of their rivals.

Levante climbed off the bottom of the table after drawing 0-0 with Eibar, although they felt hard done by after referee disallowed a second half headed goal by Setvalls for a dubious offside. Earlier on Salas had gone close with a lob and Lima had shot over the bar for the Valencia based side, and Sukia tested Rafa at the other end. Levante go a point above Nàstic, and are now only three points away from seventeenth placed Numancia. Eibar have drawn six of their last seven games, and look like ending the season once again in mid-table.