Second Division A - Day 23

Second placed Levante were beaten 1-0 on Saturday evening by neighbours Elche, who move up to within four points of the promotion spots. The visitors dominated throughout the first half, with Aganzo having efforts stopped by keeper Dani Mallo and then defender Cuéllar on the line. But Zárate forced a good save out of Mora at the other end after the break, and Moisés finally got what was to be the only goal with a 25 yard free kick. Moisés himself should have added a second soon afterwards, but Rivera could have saved a point for Levante if his late shot had not gone wide of the post.

Fourth placed Eibar were held 1-1 by Recreativo Huelva, not enough to take them above Numancia and in to the promotion spots. The visitors had taken thirteen points from their last five games, and they went in front in only the fourth minute when Iker Begoña headed home Benítez's free kick. Brit and Llorente both wasted chances to level the scores before half time, but Alaña finally equalised with another header from Romero's free kick a quarter of an hour in to the second half. Recre finished with ten men after Loren picked up a second booking in injury time.

Cádiz also failed to return to the top three after surprisingly losing 0-1 at home to relegation candidates Málaga B. Visiting keeper Lara put in a star performance, in particular with spectacular saves from Oli in both halves, and Jonathan Sesma headed against the post shortly before the break. But Geijo spoiled the day for the local fans with a shot from outside of the area on the half hour mark, and the youngsters held on for an important win which stretches their unbeaten run to five games.

Las Palmas moved away from the danger zone with a 0-2 win at Leganés. The home side had named Martín Delgado as their new manager midweek, and his side should have taken the lead when Txiki failed to take advantage of an early mistake by debutant keeper "Gato" Sessa. But Rubén picked up a pass from Tomás to score his sixteenth of the season ten minutes in to the second half, and a few minutes later Momo added a second after Rubén's shot was blocked. Sessa gave away a penalty on Calandria two minutes from the end but made up for his error saving Txiki's spot kick. (07.02.04)

Sporting Gijon's young side took another step closer to promotion with a 2-0 win over Alavés on Sunday lunchtime. Visiting manager Pepe Mel made several changes from the side which drew with Zaragoza in their midweek cup semi-final, and they found themselves behind when Christian Díaz headed a corner past a shaky Gaspercic with just over a quarter of an hour on the clock. Astudillo could have equalised early in the second half, but the Asturians had a claim for a penalty on Juan turned down by the referee soon afterwards. Pablo Alvarez put the result beyond doubt though five minutes from the end after Dani Borreguero and Rubén combined to set him up.

Sporting moved seven points clear of third placed Numancia, who were only able to draw 0-0 at home to Salamanca on Sunday evening. The Soria based side had not won in five games before this one, and they started nervously, with Tuni almost beating local keeper Luis García early on. Stelea saved efforts from Miguel Angel Nuñez and Xisco Nadal either side of the break, and Tuni and Niguel Pérez could both have won it for the visitors later in the second half. But in the end they had to make do with a point each, which is probably the best they could expect on this showing. . Only three points now separate the five sides fighting for the last promotion spot, and Salamanca themselves are only five points behind Numancia.

Nobody seems to want that third spot though, and Eibar, Alavés and Cádiz all failed to take advantage of Numancia's slip once again. Getafe did join the contenders though, moving up to fifth after a 0-1 win against an Almería side who have not won since the second week of November and who named Luis Angel Duque as their new manager midweek. The turning point of the match came when local striker Luna was sent off for striking out at Amaya eight minutes before the break, and Michel got the only goal midway through the second half when substitute Craioveanu set him up. The closest the hosts came to scoring was when their goalkeeper Valerio came up for a last minute corner, but his last minute effort was cleared off the line.

The struggle to avoid relegation is also getting tighter every week, and for example twelfth placed Córdoba are only four points above the drop zone. The Andalucians won 1-2 at Ciudad Murcia, who have now gone five games without a win despite a change of manager two weeks ago. The visitors took the lead through Villa early on, and new keeper Alberto Cifuentes saved a penalty from Pulpo González in the second half. And Nico Olivera made it two from González's cross near the end before Leandro got a late consolation, his first goal since joining this winter.

Poli Ejido dropped back into the bottom four after losing 2-0 at Terrassa, who climb up to midtable after picking up five wins in their last seven games. The Catalans took the lead when Gallego took a return pass from Juan Carlos to beat Kike midway through the first half, and Maikel went close two or three times to increasing their lead. The visitors were left with ten men when Calado got himself sent off for a foul on Juan Carlos, and Juan Carlos himself made it two ten minutes from the end after Gallego repaid him the favour for his earlier goal.

Rayo Vallecano move back out of the relegation zone after beating Xerez 2-1, who are now level with them on points. Jorge D'Alessandro included four of his new signings in his side, but it was Idiakez who opened the scoring with a long free kick around the half hour mark. Things started to look grim when ex Rayo defender Clotet headed home a corner after the break, and Graff got himself sent off for a second bookable offence. But Bolo headed Mario's cross past Unanua a quarter of an hour from the end to give his side their first win in four games.

The bottom two Tenerife and Algeciras did themselves no favours with a 0-0 draw in the Heliodromo Rodríguez López stadium. Neither keeper was particularly troubled by two attacks who failed to take their chances, and the only excitement for the disappointed fans was a second half goal by local striker Barata which was disallowed for a borderline offside. The Canary Islanders ended the day four points away from safety, with their opponents three points below them at the bottom of the table. (08.02.04)