Second Division A - Day 40

With two games to go to the end of the season, Atlético Madrid made sure of the second division title with a 3-2 win over Extremadura. Luis Aragonés gave a run out to some of his reserve players, and they struggled for a time before Diego Alonso took Dani's pass to score. Jesús levelled the scores for the visitors, but before the break Correa headed the leaders back in front. Extremadura equalised again early in the second half from the penalty spot after Santi brought down Manuel, Poli beating Toni who had just come on for Sergio at half time. However Atlético were not going to let them spoil the party, and after Diego Alonso hit the bar, the Uruguayan hit the winner to take him to the top of the second division Pichichi chart with 21 goals. Extremadura drop to next to bottom, and need a minor miracle to avoid relegation.

Racing Santander are now very close to returning to the first division after drawing 0-0 at Murcia. With the third and fourth teams Recreativo and Xerez meeting next week, anything but a victory by Xerez will mean promotion for Quique Setien's side irrespective of their own result at home to Atlético Madrid. Murcia though are only just above the bottom four on goal difference, and with a negative head-to-head record against most of their rivals they will be struggling to stay up. The game itself was a dull affair, with the visitors on top for much of the game but unable to penetrate Renke's net. Bodipo in particular missed several good chances, and Murcia came close to taking it when Sietes cleared from a Méndez header with the keeper beaten.

Recreativo Huelva closed the gap on Racing to two points with a 2-0 win over Salamanca and now can effectively ensure their promotion to the first division if they at least draw at home to fourth placed Xerez next weekend. Starting their match later than their Andalucian rivals, Lucas Alcaraz's side kicked off knowing that they were already losing, and within two minutes they themselves were ahead when Antoñito scored a brilliant individualist goal. The on-loan Sevilla striker added a second with less than a half hour on the clock from Raúl Molina's pass, and the crowd already started to celebrate. Salamanca did come back after the break, with César having to make important saves from Zegarra and Robert, but the second best defence in the league closed ranks to maintain the result.

The disciplinary committee handed out big penalties to the two clubs involved in last week's crowd trouble, with Gimnastic Tarragona picking up a six match ground closure and Xerez four. By coincidence the two met each other this Saturday, and an appeal by Nàstic meant the ban was suspended pending further investigation and the match could take place in the Nou Estadi. Fans turned up with black rubbish bags to protest any decision by the referee, and they had several occasions to get them out as they had a goal disallowed in the first half and then were reduced to ten men when Jubera picked up a second yellow card four minutes before the break. By then though they were a goal up after Deus headed home a cross from Méndez early on, and Herrero added a second just before the break after Deus set him up. Mena pulled one back from a free kick through the defensive wall two minutes from the end, but that was all and Bernd Schuster's side look like missing out on promotion.

Elche still have a remote chance of reaching the third promotion spot after a 2-0 victory over Burgos. Knowing that Recreativo had won the day before, Julian Rubio's side came out strongly, and Moha went close twice early on. Shortly before half time Nino was brought down in the area, but the referee waved play on and Melgar stuck the ball in the back of the net for the opener. Manu came on to replace the injured Burgos keeper Subero just before the break, but was carried off the field himself a quarter of an hour later, and their left back took over in goal for the last half hour. His name? Zubizarreta! He didn't do badly either, and was only beaten once, by Meca in the last minute.

Poli Ejido kept up their fight for survival with a 3-0 win over Oviedo which takes them level on points with Murcia. The Asturians turned up with six B team players due to injuries and suspensions, and the defeat ends any chance they had of promotion. Oscar Arpón opened the scoring midway through the first half beating Esteban with a low shot, and Arturo added a second after the restart with a strike into the top corner of the net. Either side could have scored, but with ten minutes to go Angel Rodríguez made it three heading home Raúl García's cross. Ejido have now only lost once in their last eight games, and ended the weekend in nineteenth place.

Oviedo's neighbours Sporting Gijon also gave up any hope of reaching the top three after a 0-1 home defeat by Levante. The visitors though were in more need of the points, and despite being forced onto the back foot early on, they took the lead in the first half after a defensive mix up allowed Kaiku to set up Roa. Soon after the interval Juanra was sent off for the visitors after picking up a second yellow card, and they were reduced to nine men a quarter of an hour from the end when Tabaré follwed him down the tunnel. Even so Sporting were unable to score, and Levante held on to move on to 47 points and stay a point ahead of the bottom four in seventeenth spot.

Last year Elche saved themselves with 46 points, but it looks like that will not be enough this season. With two games to go nineteenth placed Ejido already have that many, and with most of the bottom teams winning the battle is likely to go on to the last day. Jaén though already look doomed after throwing away a one goal lead to lose 2-1 to Córdoba. Sierra gave the visitors the lead, but their keeper Raúl gave away a penalty a few minutes later and got himself sent off into the bargain. Gallego converted the resulting kick, and then set up José Mari to head the winner in the second half.

Numancia moved on to 48 points with a convincing 4-0 victory over Racing Ferrol, inspired by new signing Patrick Suffo. The Camerooni international put his new side in front in the sixth minute, and could have scored again before Jaume nipped in to take advantage of a bad back pass to make it two. Rosu volleyed a third before half time, and Cuéllar beat keeper De Navas with a free kick shortly after the interval to complete the rout.

Badajoz also moved closer to safety with a 3-2 victory over Leganés, and they stay a point ahead of Numancia and one behind their rivals in fifteenth place. The Extremaduran side took a two goal lead early on, with defenders Amarilla and Roberto turning in crosses from Rodri. However the visitors pulled one back with an Iván Pérez header before the break, and after Oscar Sánchez was sent off for the locals midway through the second half, Villa levelled the scores from a Gámiz cross. The home side didn't give up though, and Rodri hit a late winner seven minutes from the end.

Albacete and Eibar did have nothing to play for and the game ended the way it started, 0-0. The only incident was a first half penalty save by the home side keeper Cano from Guerrero after Padilla brought down Aldeondo in the area. Duré shot wide for the locals a few minutes later, and the visiting keeper Iru saved well from Juanlu after the break. Both managers used the game to try out youngsters and give a run out to players not used much during the season.