Second Division A - Day 30

Rayo Vallecano pulled away from next to bottom spot in the table after a 2-0 win over Ciudad Murcia. The Madrid based side were forced back in the first half, with Robles hitting the bar with a free kick and Saja having to make some important saves, in particular from Leandro on the stroke of half time. But seven minutes from the end Peragón got on the end of Azkoitia's cross to head his side in front, and two minutes later Bolo got a second after Luis Cembranos set him up. Rayo move six places up the table pending Sunday's games, now just two points behind their opponents.

Las Palmas were unable to copy Rayo though, and they find themselves in the spot previously occupied by Txetxu Rojo's side after being held to a 1-1 draw by fellow strugglers Málaga B. David Vidal's side were bettered throughout the match by a rival who have only lost once now in the last twelve games, although they went in front against the run of play when Tomás headed home Angel Sánchez's free kick shortly before half time. The visitors carried on attacking though, Sessa having to save from Diego Castro and Manolo hitting the bar before Paco Esteban got the equaliser a quarter of an hour from the end.

Terrassa though moved safely up to mid-table with a 2-1 win over Eibar. It was a hard fought match on a wet pitch, with rain falling throughout the ninety minutes, but the Catalans got off to the best possible start when Maikel picked up Quique Martín's pass to beat Basauri in the first minute. Corredoira equalised just a minute after the restart, but the Basques were left with ten men when Lambea picked up a second booking near the end, and Maikel ran through to hit the winner in the last minute of normal time. (27.03.04)

Last week's leaders Numancia were held to a 1-1 draw by Elche on Sunday lunchtime, and ended the weekend in second spot. It was (as they say) a game of two halves, with the visitors dominating the first 45 minutes and the hosts coming back after the break. Rosu put the Soria based side ahead after a quarter of an hour following a good team move, but they were unable to add to their lead and Nino almost equalised when he had an effort cleared off the line with the keeper beaten. Ruggeri replaced a disappointing Toro Acuña at the break, and his replacement Zárate was a major improvement. After a long period of pressure, Elche finally levelled the scores when Nino got on the end of Luis Gil's cross to volley past Luis García, although Numancia almost stole a win when Zárate hit the bar with a last minute free kick.

Cádiz moved up to eighth in the table after defeating Leganés 0-1, and they ended the weekend eight points away from the promotion spots. The only goal came on the half hour mark when a mistake by Alessandria allowed Dani Navarrete to run on and score past keeper Raúl. Earlier in the half Txiki had failed to capitalize on an error from Raúl López at the other end. Txiki and Borja both came close for the locals after the break, but substitute Iban Espadas missed the easiest of chances to increase the lead in the last minute. The result ends Leganés's brief run of two home wins in a row, and they are now only two points off the drop zone.

There was a change of leader for the third week in a row, Levante moving into top spot after beating Almería 2-1 on Sunday evening. The game was almost called off due to the heavy rain but in the end they played on, the waterlogged pitch making for a dull first half. Local manager Manolo Preciado brought on strikers Aganzo and Sérvulo at the break, but the visitors struck first, Francisco taking advantage of the slippery surface to beat Mora. Aganzo equalised though twenty minutes later, heading home a centre from Jofre, and with ten minutes to go he got the winner with another header. Almería could have saved a point when they hit the bar in the last minute, but they ended the day just a point outside of the bottom four.

Sporting Gijon are now third after losing 2-1 to a last minute penalty at Xerez. The locals took the lead on the quarter hour mark when Del Pino connected with Rodri's cross to beat Roberto, and Mena missed a chance to make it two before the interval. The Andalucians were left with ten men for the last twenty minutes after Del Pino picked up a second booking, but Unanua held fast until the second minute of injury time, when Rubén scrambled an equaliser. A minute later though the referee awarded a dubious penalty and sent off Samuel, and Mena struck the winner from the spot.

It was another low scoring weekend though, with only 19 goals in the eleven games. Fourth placed Alavés lost ground on the leaders after drawing 0-0 at Córdoba, and they are now five points adrift of the top three. As in most of Spain, the pitch was wet and slippery following a heavy rainfall, but the locals adapted to the conditions better than their rivals and Ramón and Olivera both went close in the opening five minutes. After that though neither side particularly troubled the opposing keeper, and in they end they settled for a point apiece.

Getafe took advantage to move a point ahead of Alavés up to fourth place after a 0-1 victory against a Salamanca side who have not won now in eight games. The Madrid based team dominated the first half and could have scored when Alberto headed against the woodwork, and then Uranga brought a good save out of Stelea. Raúl Sánchez had a clear penalty appeal turned down at the other end though, and the referee caused further woes for the locals when he sent off David Cano two minutes after the restart. The winning goal didn't come until ten minutes from the end, Craioveanu finding Vivar Dorado for him to fire a shot past Stelea.

Recreativo kept up their unbeaten record in 2004 with a 1-0 victory over bottom side Algeciras, and they move up to sixth spot in the table. The Huelva based side had the better of the first half, and Raúl Molina put them ahead eight minutes before the break when he picked up a pass inside the area before beating Julio Iglesias. The visitors came out looking for the equaliser after the restart, but Recre were always dangerous on the counterattack, with Oscar Arpón hitting the bar and Iglesias having to make late saves from Toedtli and Molina to keep the scoreline unchanged.

Poli Ejido won their relegation battle with Tenerife, also by 1-0, leaving both Canary Island teams down in the four relegation spots. The locals were in control from the beginning, with Prats, Juanlu and Sierra all going close early on. And a few minutes later Sabino got on the end of Sierra's corner to head his side in front. Midway through the first half though Sabino was sent off for a hard tackle on an opponent, and Tenerife got back into the game. Marrero brought on Martín Posse in place of a defender, and Manolo, La Paglia and Posse all had their chances. But they were unable to beat Kike and his well organised defence, and Calado could have increased the lead with a late free kick. (28.03.04)