Second Division A - Day 22

Alavés paid the price for their epic cup win over Celta midweek, the Vitoria based side being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Tenerife. The visitors came looking to close down their opponents and surprise them on the breakaway, and there were no real chances at goal until midway through the second half, when Quique De Lucas got free in front of goal but saw his effort turned away for a corner by keeper Alvaro Iglesias. Pepe Mel brought on Vucko and Nacho to join Rubén Navarro and Iván Alonso up front, but even so they were unable to score, and they ended the day in fifth spot.

The point was not enough though to see the Canary Islanders out of the relegation spots, and they could be joined again by Las Palmas after they were defeated 1-2 by Elche. The visitors scored twice in a three minute period late in the first half, Toro Acuña setting up Nino for the first and Dani Tortolero doing likewise for Zárate soon afterwards. Frutos came close to getting one back after the break, but Ruggeri's side held on until the last minute, when Momo scored a late consolation goal after Rubén's effort was blocked.

In the other game on Saturday evening, a second half penalty by Terrassa was enough to give them a 0-1 victory and end Xerez's run of nine games without defeat. The goal came when Dani Pendín fouled Molist in the area, Monty converting the kick. The locals should have made it all square though when they were awarded a late penalty for a foul by Rubén (who was sent off in the incident), but Calle failed to beat Morales. Xerez's new signing Shang Yi made his debut during the second half, the first Chinese player to play in any of the top two Spanish leagues. (31.01.04)

Leaders Sporting Gijon beat Getafe 0-2 on Sunday lunchtime to open up a bigger gap at the top of the table. The Asturians keeper Roberto had not let in a goal in five games, but he had to do well to keep out Pachón and Craioveanu either side of half time. But the visitors took the lead when new keeper Sergio Sánchez failed to hold on to Pablo Alvarez's shot on the hour mark, and Rubén finished things off with a shot from outside of the area in injury time. This was Getafe's first home defeat of the season, and they stay in seventh place, still though only three points off the relegation spots. (01.02.04)

Levante came from behind to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 later in the day and stay level on points with Sporting. The visitors took a surprise lead in the seventh minute when a long Peragón free kick went past everyone and in to the net, and Bolo could have made it two soon afterwards if Mora had not been attentive. But Jofre hit the bar before the break as the home side came back, and Rayo were left a man short when Azkoitia picked up a second booking twenty minutes in to the second half. Local manager Manolo Preciado had thrown on forwards Congo and Rivera minutes before, and they were to turn the game around, the former poking him a shot from Limones and the latter beating new keeper Saja with a long shot only a minute later. The Madrid based side were left with nine men when Peragón was shown a straight red card, and ten minutes from the end Limones made it three with another shot from outside of the area. The result sends Rayo back down into the relegation zone.

Sporting and Levante are now five points clear of Numancia, who held on to third spot once again even though their 0-0 draw at Córdoba meant they have not won in five weeks. Despite the result it was a lively match, with local keeper Jauregui having to save from an inswinging Miguel Pérez corner early on and another close up effort from Antonio later in the first half, and his opposite number Luis García turning a Villa header away for a corner in between. Montenegro wasted the best chance of the match for the Andalucians after the restart, and Villa should also have won it for them when he shot wide and then was stopped by Luis García towards the end of the match.

Eibar missed out on the chance to move into the top three when they were held to a 2-2 draw at bottom club Algeciras. The Basque side raced into a two goal lead in the first twenty minutes, Aitor latching on to a loose ball to beat Julio Iglesias and then Oscar Pérez scoring a second after a good run. Local manager Iosu Ortuondo made two substitutions before half time, but it was his third change Zárate who crossed in for Tevenet to head one back midway through the second half. Armentano and Tevenet both went close to equalising, but the fans had to wait for the last minute before Chico finally saved made it all square in the last minute.

Cádiz could also have been in the promotion spots had they won, but they had to settle for sixth place after they were beaten 1-0 by Poli Ejido, who climb out of the drop zone as a result. Both sides could have scored in the first half, with Oli going close for the visitors and Agostinho and De Nigris testing Armando at the other end shortly before the interval. The only goal though came midway through the second half, when Sabino got on the end of Agostinho's cross to beat the visiting keeper.

Salamanca took advantage of the slip ups by the teams above them to close up to within five points of the promotion spots after winning 3-1 against Leganés. The Castilian side had to come back from a goal down with ten men to do so though, Cañas getting his marching orders on the half hour mark after clashing with Marini, and Enría heading the visitors ahead three minutes before the break from Txiki's corner. The hosts levelled the scores though a minute later when Raúl Sánchez also scored from a corner at the other end, and Escoda put them ahead after the break after the keeper failed to hold on to Cano's shot. And with the game coming to an end Juampa got a third from the penalty spot after Alessandria fouled Escoda in the area.

Salamanca move back above Recreativo Huelva, whose 1-1 draw with Ciudad Murcia put an end to their run of four victories in a row. The South coast side took the lead seven minutes before half time when Loren got on the end of Viqueira's free kick to head past debutant keeper Alberto Cifuentes. But the visitors, under the watching eye of new manager Juanjo Enriquez, recovered well in the second half. Gúiza and Turu Flores both had chances before Jorge Sánchez equalised, and only some good goalkeeping from local keeper Toño saw his side to their twelfth draw of the season.

Almería were another side to change their manager last week, and although they have yet to name a replacement for Casuco, they improved slightly with a 2-2 draw at struggling Málaga B. The locals went ahead with half an hour gone when Geijo crossed in for Juanma to head past Cano, but Luna levelled the scores before the break with another header from Miguel Angel Benítez's free kick, the referee ruling that the ball had crossed the line before a defender cleared it away. Geijo restored the lead in the second half after good work by substitute Diego Castro, but once again Luna headed the ball over Luna to equalise again. The locals came close to winning it though when Diego Castro hit the bar late on. (01.02.04)