|Second Division A - Day 42|
A tense night in the second division, with all teams kicking off on Saturday and four teams fighting to avoid the two remaining relegation spots. In the end though all four won their respective games, which means that Gimnastic Tarragona and Levante are the unlucky two who join Extremadura and Jaén in the second division B next season.
Nàstic came from behind with ten men to beat Extremadura 3-1, although results elsewhere meant it was academic. David Asensio, replacing the injured Pier, opened the scoring for the visitors shortly after the break from Poli's cross, but Ramis equalised six minutes later heading home a corner. The ex Deportivo defender got his marching orders seven minutes from the end for a foul on Costa, but Nàstic kept going and veteran striker Cuéllar scored twice in the last three minutes to give his side the win.
Levante were out of the bottom four for half an hour or so after they took the lead against Numancia on the stroke of half time. Setvalls opened the scoring for them after Kaiku set him up, and Kaiku headed a second himself with half an hour to go. It was all too good to be true though, and their spirits were dashed when news came through that Ejido had scored. Just in case the miracle happened they held on, with Alberto pulling one back for a final 1-2 scoreline. However they ended the day down in nineteenth place, and unless Oviedo or Las Palmas go bankrupt they will drop a division. .
Poli Ejido have done the impossible. At the halfway stage of the season they had only won two games and were four points adrift at the bottom of the table. However their 36 points in the second half under new manager Castro Santos has saved them in the end. They had to win their last game against already promoted Racing Santander though to do it, which they did rather belatedly by 1-0 thanks to a goal by substitute Angel. The Poli president admitted that he had offered bonuses to the opponents of the other three teams involved in the relegation struggle, but it appeared to make little difference, and they had to do it themselves in the end.
The other team which could have gone down were Murcia. They started with a two point advantage over their opponents, playing at home against already relegated Jaén. Even so they had to win to be sure, and they left it late, scoring three goals in the last twenty minutes for a 3-0 victory. Acciari started things off from Aguilar's corner, and Loreto added two more in the last ten minutes. Nono was sent off for the visitors for a second bookable offence shortly before Loreto's first goal.
Leaders Atlético Madrid had already wrapped up the title a couple of weeks ago, and they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Burgos. It was a dull game with little to play for, and Burgos packed the midfield with players to saturate their opponents. Diego Alonso gave Atlético the lead with his twenty-second goal of the season from Dani's cross, confirming his position as the league's Pichichi, two ahead of Salamanca's Makukula. However Merino levelled the scores before the break, and the second half only served to try out a few substitutes who had not played much this season..
Recreativo Huelva made sure of promotion last week, but they wanted to take second place. They didn't make it though after losing3-1 to Sporting Gijon, and had to make do with third. All four goals came in the last twenty minutes, with Villa scoring twice, including once from the penalty spot, to take his total for the season to nineteen. In between Soto headed a second for the home side, and Epitié scored a consolation goal for the visitors with a spectacular shot. Sporting ended the season in a respectable sixth place.
Xerez missed out on promotion, but at least they had some good news when manager Bernd Schuster turned down an offer from Rayo Vallecano and agreed to stay in Jerez for another season. An enthusiastic crowd turned up to cheer the side on, and they came back from a goal down to beat cash strapped Oviedo 2-1. Oscar had given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the first half, scoring against his namesake, the B team keeper who had come on when Amaro had got himself sent off for giving the penalty away against Rubén Reyes.The numbers were evened up in the second half when Nadj got his marching orders, and Mena scored twice later on to take his side back up to fourth, their highest ever position. Oviedo finished seventh, and have to find 40 million Euros from somewhere to pay their back debts and avoid being relegated to the second division B.
Elche have been the best side in the division in the second half of the season, but with nothing at stake they ended their campaign with a fizzle after drawing 0-0 against Eibar After a lively opening few minutes the game petered out to nothing, and keepers Valerio and Almunia had little to do. Elche dropped a place to fifth, behind Xerez.
Leganés were mathematically safe from relegation thanks to better head-to-head goal averages with their rivals, but just to make sure they beat Albacete 1-2 in their last game. They were behind at first though to a Basti strike in the eifgth minute, but a mistake by Albacete keeper Cano let in Oscar to level the scores soon afterwards. Sivori gave them victory in the second half, heading home a cross from Pulido.
The other two games of the day ended in fairly meaningless draws. Córdoba and Racing Ferrol drew 1-1, with Pablo scoring for the visitors after the restart and Ramón getting a very late equaliser for the Andalucians. Both managers used the occasion to give a run out to some of their reserve players, presumably with a view to deciding who stays next season. Not that it matters to Córdoba's fourth boss this season García Remón. His new club president told him after the game that he would not be requiring his services next season, and ex Extremadura coach Ortuondo will be the new man in charge.
Badajoz and Salamanca drew 2-2 earlier on Saturday. Again both teams were safe and had nothing to play for. Zegarra scored a second minute penalty but Zé Tó made it all square on the quarter hour mark. The second half was almost a carbon copy, with Robert restoring the lead for the visitors, and Zé Tó again levelling the scores soon afterwards.