Second Division A - Day 24

Las Palmas beat third placed Numancia 2-1, their third win in four games under manager David Vidal. Both goals from the locals came from new signing Jahic, the central defender getting on the end of Momo's corner on the half hour mark to head past Luis García, and scoring again with a second header from Momo's free kick half an hour later. Rosu had temporarily levelled the scores with a penalty two minutes after the restart when the Romanian forward himself was brought down by Matheus, and Moreno came close to saving a point when he hit the post with a late free kick. The result takes the Canary Islanders safely up to mid-table, and leaves Numancia out of the bottom three having gone seven games without a win.

Meanwhile Las Palmas's neighbours Tenerife played out yet another 0-0 at Recreativo Huelva, the fourteenth draw of the season for both. It was dull game, with the only chances for the locals falling to Toedtli and Uche either side of half time, with Corona and César Belli both wasting opportunities late in the second half. Tenerife have now gone seven games without a goal and thirteen without a win, and ended the weekend third from bottom, four points away from safety. Sergio Kresic's side extended their unbeaten run to seven games, although their third draw in a row means they are now seven points adrift of the promotion places.

In the third match on Saturday evening, Poli Ejido beat fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano 1-0 to climb out of the relegation spots and leave the Madrid based side back down in the bottom four. The result signalled the end for Rayo's manager Jorge D'Alessandro, who was sacked the following day after only two and a half months in charge. The only goal came from a spectacular long range volley from Paco García ten minutes before half time which left Saja clutching at air, and Sabino and Agostinho both had chances after the break to increase the lead. The visitors' only opportunities fell to Bolo, but he was unable to beat Kike. Rayo's Iriney was sent off with a straight red card near the end, and Poli's on-loan signing from Real Sociedad, Avimled Rivas, was also shown the red card for insulting the player as he was leaving the pitch. (14.02.04)

Getafe came from behind to beat Málaga B 2-1 on Sunday lunchtime and move ahead of Numancia into third spot. The Madrid based side put in a disappointing first half though, and went behind four minutes after the restart when Geijó collected a pass from Diego Castro to beat Sergio Sánchez. However local manager Yosu Uibe immediately threw on forwards Craioveanu and Pachón, and the move worked when Craioveanu first set up Michel for his fourteenth goal of the season and then crossed in for Alberto to head a late winner. Málaga B ended the day down in next to bottom spot.

Eibar could have been in that third spot themselves had they won, but they dropped down to sixth after losing 1-0 at Córdoba. The Basque side were never really in the match, and Pulpo González and Nico Olivera should both have put the Andalucians ahead in the first hour. The goal though came from Montenegro, who caught keeper Riesgo out with a long free kick twenty minutes from the end when everyone was expecting a cross. Their first home win in 2004 takes Córdoba safely up to mid-table. (15.02.04)

Leaders Sporting Gijon surged further ahead at the top of the table with a 0-3 win at bottom club Algeciras on Sunday evening, and they have now taken 22 points from their last eight games. The Asturians took the lead in the ninth minute after Tevenet gave the ball away, Bilic taking advantage to beat Julio Iglesias. And the Croatian striker got on the end of Juan's long cross to head a second against the run of play near to half time. Local manager Iosu Ortuondo made three changes at half time, but Sporting's well ordered defence were clearly on top, and keeper Roberto beat Emilio Isierte's twelve year old club record in the 67th minute when he extended his unbeaten record to 705 minutes. Seven minutes later Rubén crashed a third goal into the local net to round off the scoreline and take his side nine points clear of the fourth placed side.

Levante are the only side who can keep up with Sporting, and they remain three points behind after a late Rivera goal gave them a 1-0 win over Leganés. It was not an easy victory though, and local keeper Mora had to be at his best to save twice from Rodríguez before the break. Up to that time only Limones and Cuéllar had troubled his opposite number Raúl, who saved well from Rivera after the restart. Melgar went close with a free kick as the visitors piled on the pressure later on, but they were caught out five minutes from the end when Rivera won the match with an individualist strike.

Alavés shrugged off their midweek cup defeat with a 2-0 win over Almería, and they are now only a point behind third placed Getafe. The Vitoria based side had not scored a single goal in their last three games and once again they took a while to get going, Valerio turning their first real effort from De Lucas away for a corner midway through the first half. And it was not until visiting defender Lago was sent off for a second bookable offence on the hour mark that they found the space they needed. Only three minutes later Rubén Navarro opened the scoring with a low shot, and substitute Kiko wrapped things up with a second goal in injury time.

There were defeats for the three of the teams immediately below the chasing pack, Cádiz, Salamanca and Elche, all of whom lose ground on the sides above them. Cádiz lost 1-0 to an improving Terrassa, who themselves enter the fight for the third promotion spot after moving to within a point of their opponents in eighth place. The Catalans scored the only goal of the match three minutes into the second half with a hotly disputed penalty which Juan Carlos converted, and had several chances later on to increase the lead, especially after visiting striker Oli was sent off for elbowing Rubén.

Salamanca's four match unbeaten run came to an end when they lost 1-2 at home to Ciudad Murcia. The Castilians had the better of the early minutes, and shortly after Raúl Sánchez hit the post, the club's top scorer beat Alberto Cifuentes from the penalty spot after Timpani fouled José in the area. Timpani made up for his mistake though levelling the scores five minutes later with a headed goal, and the visitors took the lead before the break with another penalty after the referee ruled that Stelea had fouled Kaiku, Aguilar converting the kick. And Kaiku could have made it three after the break if his volley had not rattled the crossbar.

Elche threw away a one goal lead and fell 2-1 at Xerez, leaving Oscar Ruggeri's side down in eleventh place, some seven points off the promotion spots. The East coast side took the lead midway through the first half when Nino picked up a pass from Velasco to beat Unanua. Moreno and Calle wasted chances to equalise either side of half time, but Mena got the goal the Andalucians were looking for on the hour mark. And Cachorro gave them a much needed victory with a free kick later in the half, leaving Rayo Vallecano down in the bottom four. (15.02.04)