|Second Division A - Day 29|
Fourth placed Getafe kept up their push for the promotion spots with a 1-0 win over Córdoba on Saturday evening. The Madrid based side got off to a lethargic start, and Fleurquín alomst put the visitors ahead when he headed a corner just wide in the eighth minute. Amaya went close though at the other end a couple of minutes later, and on the quarter hour mark Gari Uranga headed what was to be the only goal of the match from Craioveanu's free kick. With one eye on Wednesday night's rearranged match with Alavés, manager Yosu Uribe gradually rested his key players to conserve the result.
Getafe move three points clear of sixth placed Eibar, who were held at home to a 0-0 draw by Poli Ejido. The two sides had met each other five times before this match, four of which had ended without goals, and the result was therefore no surprise. The game was not without scoring incidents though, and with only six minutes gone both had rattled the woodwork, Marcelino for the visitors in the second minute and Dani for the locals four minutes later. Keepers Basauri and Kike held fast though to ensure a point for their respective teams.
Meanwhile Ejido's neighbours Almería were recording their first win in 18 games, beating struggling Las Palmas 3-0. After a dull first half, the visitors almost scored straight after the restart when Cano made a desperate save from his own defender César. But césar made up for it a couple of minutes later, taking advantage of a defensive mistake to open the scoring, and Víctor salas added a second two minutes later. David Vidal made a triple change for the Canary Islanders, but to no effect and Ortíz set up Francisco for a third goal a few minutes later.
Almería climb out of the relegation spots for 24 hours at least, distancing themselves from Málaga B, who threw away a two goal lead and ended up drawing 2-2 against Salamanca. The home side started well, and Geijo went close twice before he finally beat Stelea on the quarter hour mark to open the scoring. Robi deflected a shot from Rubén past the keeper for a second, and it could have been three before the break when Stelea produced an excellent save from Geijo. Visiting manager Felipe Miñambres was sent off for arguing a few minutes later, but his side came back after the break, José scoring from Amieva's pass and Raúl Sánchez saving a point from the penalty spot after Abel fouled Tuni. (20.03.04)
The title race was thrown wide open on Sunday lunchtime when leaders Sporting Gijon were beaten 1-2 by third placed Levante. The visitors had the better of the opening minutes, and they took the lead on the half hour mark when an active Reggi was fouled by Sastre in the area, ex Real Madrid midfielder Rivera converting the resulting penalty. Local manager Marcelino brought on more attacking players for the second half, but they were caught out by a quick breakaway, Sérvulo finding Rivera for him to score his second of the night twelve minutes from the end. David Bauzá got one back a minute later after his shot took a deflection off a defender to wrong-foot Mora, but the keeper made a last minute save from Rubén to ensure victory for his side. Levante move up to within one point of the Asturians, who stay top pending Numancia's game later in the day.
Tenerife climbed out of the bottom four with a 2-1 win over Xerez, leaving their Canary Island rivals Las Palmas down in their place. The home side took the lead a quarter of an hour into the game when Keko headed La Paglia's free kick past Unanua, and Keko made it two from the penalty spot on the half hour mark after Català fouled Raúl Martín. Mendoza pulled one back before the interval, but they were unable to do any more, even though the hosts played the last fifteen minutes with ten men after their left back Roberto Carlos (not the famous one) got sent off for a second bookable offence.
Leganés also moved away from the danger zone with a 2-0 win over Elche at midday on Sunday. Inspired by Medina and Melgar in the centre of midfield, the Madrid based side went in front midway through the first half when Txiki volleyed over the head of Dani Mallo. Local keeper Raúl had to be at his best though to keep out a couple of dangerous free kicks from Moisés before the break and a long shot from Granero after the restart, but Melgar made it two from the penalty spot late on after Benja fouled Calandria.
Numancia took advantage of Sporting's defeat to move above the Asturians on goal average after a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano. The visitors could have wrapped things up in the first half though, with local keeper Luis García making a series of first class saves from Idiakez, Biagini and Peragón amongst others. Local manager Quique Hernández made his first substitution with only a half hour on the clock, ex Nottingham Forest and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Carlos Merino replacing defender Jaime Molina. That steadied the ship, and Pineda produced the miss of the night when he shot over from only a yard or so in front of goal. Merino it was though who won it for the Soria based side, his spectacular shot leaving Saja with no chance a quarter of an hour from the end. Numancia substitute Toril was sent off in the last minute after picking up a second yellow card, but they had done enough to record their fifth win in a row and move back to the top of the table. Txetxu Rojo's side drop to next to bottom place as a result.
Alavés lost ground on the top three after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Recreativo, although it could have been worse if Kiko had not equalised with virtually the last kick of the match. The Andalucians came into the game undefeated in 2004, and Raúl Molina could have given them the lead a couple of times if Gaspercic had not been on the ball. Palermo was making his debut for the locals and De Lucas failed to take advantage of his pass early on. Vucko also went close twice, but the visitors took the lead when Iker Begoña set up Camacho midway through the second half. Alavés were left with ten men when Astudillo was sent off soon afterwards, but Kiko popped up to save a point at the end. The Vitoria based side play fourth placed Getafe midweek in a match postponed from week 26, and if they don't win that one they could be waving goodbye to promotion.
Meanwhile Cádiz kept their slim hopes alive with a 2-1 win over neighbours Algeciras, who are now eleven points adrift at the bottom. The hosts took the lead in the first minute when Manolo Pérez followed up after Iñaki blocked a shot from Pavoni, and Oli got a second a few minutes before half time with a header on the run from Pavoni's cross. Raúl López and Oli had shots saved and Pavoni hit the post as the locals came out looking to finish the game off after the restart, but the visitors pulled one back when Zafra beat Navas later in the second half.
Many changes though down in the bottom half of the table, where only three points separated ten teams at the end of the weekend. Ciudad Murcia and Terrassa both inched up the table after a 2-2 draw, a match which either side could have won. Maikel put the visitors ahead in the thirteenth minute with a headed goal from a corner, but Güiza picked up a pass from Camuñas to equalise ten minutes later and Aguilar put the home side ahead from the penalty spot after the restart when Camuñas was brought down by Navas. Cristian Díaz and Güiza both missed opportunities to extend the lead before Maikel took advantage of a defensive mistake to round Cifuentes and score, and the German born striker could have completed his hat-trick in the dying minutes had the keeper not produced a vital save. (21.03.04)