Second Division A - Day 35

Leaders Atlético Madrid beat Murcia 4-2, their first victory in five games, to get their promotion challenge back on track. The star of the match was Uruguay's Diego Alonso, who scored a hat-trick to help his side move six points clear at the top. Alonso opened the scoring from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Carrero in the area, and claimed a second three minutes before the break when he deflected Dani's shot past Reinke. Murcia pulled one back before the half time whistle though when the referee ruled that Armando had pushed over Loreto from behind, Cuadrado scoring from the penalty spot past keeper Sergio, who was replacing the injured Mono Burgos. Atlético should have gone further ahead when Alonso selfishly shot at Reinke with Dani free in front of goal, but Aguilera made it three soon afterwards when Dani put him through. Alonso did get his third goal in the last minute of ordinary time, and there was still time for Loreto to narrow the gap again with an injury time header.

Second placed Xerez lost ground on Atlético when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Leganés. It was an exciting match in which Bernd Schuster's side came back from behind twice before taking the lead and seeing it slide away when Oscar scored for the visitors in injury time. Leganés opened the scoring in the third minute when Sivori took advantage of a defensive mistake to beat Ramón. Cañizares headed an equaliser, but after Gamiz had hit the post for the away team, Miguel Angel restored their lead from the penalty spot when Pineda brought down Iván Pérez. With an hour gone Sivori got himself sent off for a second bookable offence, and Xerez turned the score around with goals from Pineda and Mena before Oscar struck. Schuster's nerves betrayed him and he was shown a red card, which means he will not be on the bench for next week's table topping clash at Atlético Madrid.

Recreativo dropped out of the top three after drawing 1-1 at Andalucian neighbours Jaén on Sunday lunchtime. The visitors were on top throughout the first half but failed to convert their chances, including a penalty which Raúl Molina missed with a quarter of an hour gone after keeper Raúl brought down David. Jaén did get the ball in the net though on the stroke of half time through Rueda, but it was ruled out for a previous foul. Recre took the lead midway through the second half through half time substitute Antoñito after good work by Cheli, but the home side levelled the scores six minutes later, Sierra beating César with a shot from the edge of the area only minutes after coming on.

Racing Santander took advantage of Recre's draw to move a point ahead of them up to third place with a 3-0 win over Badajoz. The Cantabrians dominated the first half but didn't score until just before the hour mark, Mazzoni converting Txiki's cross. That opened the way, and seven minutes later substitute Morán beat keeper Poli in a similar play, this time Sietes the provider. Five minutes from the end Diego Mateo finished off a good team move to take his side four points behind Xerez. Sunday was a low scoring day though, with three games ending score-less and two others being decided by a single late goal.

The teams lying in fifth and sixth place, Oviedo and Albacete, cancelled each other out after drawing 0-0 in a game in which the two keepers were the best players on the park. A big 12,000 crowd turned up to see their side take on their rivals but were disappointed with their first half performance, with only Angel and Tomic getting close to goal. The Asturians keeper Esteban made two good saves after the break from José and Duré, and at the other end Valbuena stopped shots from Pablo Díaz and Santamaría. The result leaves Oviedo three points off the promotion spots, with the Manchegans three points below them virtually out of the race.

Just below them Elche were held to the same score by Poli Ejido, who played the last hour of the game with ten men after Rios got himself sent off for a tackle from behind on an opponent. Serrano and Nino tested Segura in the Ejido goal early on, and Valerio made two important saves from Poschner and then Oscar Arpón before the break. Serrano had a goal disallowed for the visitors after the break and Sandro almost put through his own net, but Ejido held on to keep up their eleven game unbeaten run at home and move to within a point of escaping from the bottom four.

Sporting Gijon also played out a goal-less draw at Burgos, who have now recorded seven 0-0 results in their last ten games. The home side had scored their first goal in fourteen and a half hours of football last week, but it was back to usual as their forwards once again failed to find the mark. The better chances fell to ex Sporting forward Tcheryshev in the first half, with his best effort a shot against the post with half an hour on the clock. Sporting only went close late on when Michel came face to face with Tito, but he failed to find the mark. Both sides ended the day in mid-table.

A last minute goal by Makukula gave Salamanca an undeserved 0-1 victory over Eibar, taking his side up to a fairly safe tenth place. The big striker is being chased by several big clubs, but could in the end be going to French club Nantes. Up to his goal Eibar were the only side to get a shot on target, with Barkero shooting wide in the first half and Jorge Sánchez wasting a couple of chances after the break. Eibar's explosive manager Blas Ziarreta was sent off at the end for protesting.

Gimnastic Tarragona kept their hopes of survival alive after a 1-0 win over Córdoba. The only goal came three minutes from the end from Pinilla after keeper Jauregui failed to hold on to the ball, giving Nàstic a vital three points which takes them off the bottom of the table. They could have lost the game earlier on though as the visitors failed to take advantage of several scoring opportunities, the best coming in the first half when Herrero cleared off the line from López Ramos.

Extremadura drop to last position after losing at home 0-2 to Numancia, who started the day only a point above them. Both goals came from on-loan Real Madrid young striker Aranda, the first with a chip over the keeper before the break and the second at the third attempt after the restart. New signing Patrick Suffo made his debut for the visitors in the second half. Extremadura have now only taken one point from their last six games, and manager Iosu Ortuondo was given the axe the day after the match.

Levante moved to within a point of safety with a 1-2 win at Racing Ferrol, their fourth game in a row without defeat under manager Cantarero. The home side started off well, with Diawara shooting just wide twice early on. However Setvalls tested Aizkorreta with a long shot, and Descarga headed the visitors into the lead from Lima's corner just before the interval. Redondo headed the Gallicians back into the game in the second half, but after their defender Uriz got himself sent off, an injury time goal from Javi Peña gave the Valencia side the much needed three points.