Second Division A - Day 27

Second placed Levante were beaten 2-0 on Saturday night by Eibar, who close up to within three points of the promotion spots as a result. The Valencia based side had never won in the Ipurúa stadium, but they started well and Reggi and Aganzo both went close before the break. Local keeper Riesgo kept his side in the game after that, in particular saving from Reggi in the second half, but the Basques eventually went ahead when Corredoira scored from close range twenty minutes from the end. Manolo Preciado threw on all his forwards, but Eibar got a second goal in injury time when Gaizka Saizar beat Mora on the breakaway. The result ended the home side's run of five games without a win, and left Levante down in third place at the end of the weekend.

Getafe are now three points behind Levante with a game in hand after they beat bottom club Algeciras 3-0. All three goals came in the first half, with Chico starting things off with a spectacular header past his own goalkeeper whilst trying to clear Bernaus's cross in the tenth minute. Uranga made it two with a long shot five minutes later, and Michel got the third just before the interval when he deflected Craioveanu's shot into the net. Armentano could have got one back if Sergio Sánchez had not been at his best in the second half, but it was all academic and Algeciras ended the weekend seven points behind the team above them. Their manager Iosu Ortuondo had promised to resign last week if his side did not win the next two games, and he kept his promise, handing in his notice after the match.

Elsewhere Recreativo Huelva recorded their sixteenth draw of the season and their eight without goals after a 0-0 result at Málaga B. Despite being in next to last position in the league, the locals had the early chances, Geijo going close twice. But Recre pushed them back from then on, with Benítez shooting wide and Viqueira hitting the post on the stroke of half time. Either side could have scored after the restart, but the home side were left with ten men a quarter of an hour from the end, and substitute Toedtli came close to winning it for the visitors in the last minute when shot was turned away for a corner by keeper Goitia.

Almería were held to a 1-1 draw by Córdoba, their sixteenth game in a row without a win. Luis Angel Duque's side started well, with Jauregui saving from Lozano in the first minute, and Francisco opened the scoring a few minutes later with an angled shot after a mistake by the defence. Luna could have made it two if he had not shot straight at the keeper, but after that the visitors took control, and Nico Olivera levelled the scores around the half hour mark after the local defence had blocked three or four shots in a row. Both sides had chances after the break, but in the end they had to settle for a point apiece which left Almería (who led the table at the start of the season) down in the relegation zone at the end of the weekend. (06.03.04)

The big match on Sunday midday was the Canary Island derby between Tenerife and Las Palmas, which the locals ended up winning 2-0 to move out of the relegation zone for a few hours or so. The visitors had not lost in the Heliodoro Rodríguez López in fifteen years, but they were pushed back right from the start, with Keko putting Sessa to the test in only the third minute. A quarter of an hour later Keko set up Raúl Martín for him to open the scoring, and after La Paglia brought a good save out of Sessa again, the new signing got on the end of a corner to head home a second. Momo, Rubén and Barata all went close as Las Palmas tried to fight back, but Tenerife held on to move to within two points of their neighbours.

Leganés also moved out of the bottom four after they beat Terrassa 1-0 in their Sunday morning kick off match. It was a boring match, and what excitement there was came from the hosts in the first half, Txiki failing to convert Calandria's cross early on and wasting another chance a few minutes later. Ten minutes before the break Enría scored was to be the only goal of the game, the Argentine striker getting on the end of ball from his compatriot Pablo Rodríguez to beat Morales. But after that neither side managed to trouble the opposing keeper, giving the Madrid based side only their second home win of the season.

Leaders Sporting Gijon were held to their second draw in a row on Sunday night, this time 1-1 by Salamanca, but still stay three points clear at the top of the table. After an even start the Asturians took control, and Bilic and Miguel both went close either side of half time. Ten minutes in to the second half the locals were awarded a hotly disputed penalty when Aurelio fouled Pablo Alvarez, which Dani Borreguero converted. But Borreguero failed to beat Stelea from a second penalty a few minutes later after Juan Pablo fouled Yago, and soon afterwards David Cano beat Roberto with a long shot to square the match. It was the first goal the keeper had let in at the Molinón stadium in nine games, and means they have only managed two points from their last three matches.

Numancia took advantage of the poor results of the top two to overtake Levante and close back up on the Asturians. Their 1-0 win over Poli Ejido was their third in a row, although it was not an easy victory and they could have given it away in the end. The soria based side had most of the play in the first half, with Culebras going close with a header and Pulido shooting wide. The only goal came late in the first half when Kome took advantage of a defensive mistake to score, and the Camerooni international could have got a second after the break had he been able to get more force behind his shot. De Nigris just missed the target for the visitors though after the restart and Luis García had to be at his best to save from Pineda a couple of minutes later.

Meanwhile challengers Cádiz and Alavés cancelled each other out with a 1-1 draw. The Andalucians took the initiative for much of the match, with Ibán Espadas going close before the break and De Quintana trying his luck from long range after the restart. There were not many scoring opportunities at either end though before Vucko opened the scoring for the visitors around the hour mark after a mistake by Abraham Paz. With ten minutes to go though Oli made it all square after Espadas played on a cross from Babangida, keeping Cádiz one point behind their opponents in sixth and seventh place respectively.

Rayo Vallecano threw away a one goal lead to lose 2-1 at Elche, and they are once again only a point outside of the bottom four. The Madrid based side were on the back foot in the first half, with defenders clearing at the last minute from Moisés and Velasco. But they took the lead seven minutes before the break with their first shot on target, Azkoitia's effort taking a deflection off a defender to wrong-foot Dani Mallo. Elche had more luck in the second half though, and they turned the scoreline around with two goals in eight minutes from Moisés, the first a header from Luis Gil's cross and the second a long shot. Even so Rayo came close to saving a point near the end when Dani Mallo stopped Pablo Sanz's shot on the line at the second attempt.

The battle to avoid relegation is hotting up, with only three points separating eight teams. Xerez put aside their financial woes for ninety minutes and moved back out of the drop zone with a 0-1 victory at Ciudad Murcia, who are now only a point above them. The locals got off to a good start, with Güiza having a claim for a penalty turned down and then seeing an effort saved by Unanua a few minutes later. But the visitors went in front before the break when Clotet got on the end of Cachorro's free kick to head past Cifuentes. Dani Pendín got himself sent off during the half time interval for using foul and abusive language in an argument with one of his own fans (apparently over the fact that the players haven't been paid in several months), but even with ten men Xerez could have scored again when Francis hit the bar. (07.03.04)