|Second Division A - Day 31|
Leaders Levante threw down a challenge to the chasing teams with a 1-5 win over Málaga B on Saturday night. The locals actually dominated the opening minutes, with Mora saving three times from Geijo, and they took the lead around the half hour mark when Juan Rodríguez (back with the B side after failing to win a place in the first team) finally managed to beat the keeper. But the Valencia based side took over from then on with an impressive display, Descarga firing an equaliser and Aganzo getting a second before the interval. Local defender Mario gave away a penalty on Aganzo and got himself sent off ten minutes in to the second half, Rivera converting the kick, and Aganzo got his second of the night and his team's fourth a few minutes later. And after the Andalucians were left with nine men when Merino also picked up a second booking, Alexis headed the fifth from a corner.
With Numancia and Sporting playing on Sunday, fourth placed Getafe closed to within a point of the promotion spots with a 3-0 victory against struggling Las Palmas. Both sides had early chances, Nano and Uranga for the locals and Angel Sánchez for the visitors, but the goals didn't come until the last half hour of the game. Craioveanu finally opened the scoring, collecting Alberto's cross to beat Sessa, and Cubillo got the second, also after an assistance from Alberto. Pachón finished things off in the last minute, leaving the Canary Islanders down in next to bottom spot. The defeat signalled the end to David Vidal's brief spell as manager, although the club are unable to pay the half a million euros which Vidal is demanding and are trying to negotiate a settlement to enable them to name a replacement.
Eibar also moved up the table after thrashing a poor Rayo Vallecano 5-0. A defensive mistake let in Cuevas for the first goal in the twentieth minute, and Saizar went close before getting a second five minutes after the restart. After that the visiting defence fell apart, and Karmona, Garitano and in the last minute Brit added to the scoreline. Rayo's lady president Teresa Rivero left the ground in disgust before the end, but her side stay above the drop zone for now thanks to defeats for the bottom three.
Algeciras in particular are another step closer to relegation after losing 0-1 at home to Córdoba. Although the South coast side put keeper Jauregui to the test in the opening minutes, the visitors took the lead against the run of play when Ramón beat Julio Iglesias from a corner midway through the first half. Jauregui saved from Tevenet, Armentano and Zafra, and Berruet cleared off the line from José Marí as the home side pushed forward, but a well organised defence held on for three points which takes then clear of the drop zone.
Ciudad Murcia also moved away from the relegation spots after beating Elche 2-0, leaving visiting manager Oscar Ruggeri's job hanging by a thread. The home side were on top throughout the game, Camuñas crashing a shot against the woodwork in the first half, and Güiza eventually opened the scoring twenty minutes from the end when he ran on to a long punt upfield by the keeper to run past Djorovic and beat Dani Mallo. Camuñas headed a second goal four minutes from the end for the final result. (03.04.04)
Cádiz kept themselves in the running for promotion after beating neighbours Recreativo 3-1 on Sunday lunchtime, the Huelva based side's first defeat in 2004. Both teams started the day level on points, but it was the locals who went ahead shortly before half time when Jonathan Sesma headed past Toño following a corner. Recre equalised two minutes after the restart, De Quintana turning the ball into his own net trying to clear Viqueira's free kick, but after a period of pressure in which Oli hit the post, the veteran defender made up for his mistake by heading his side back in front. Both sides had players sent off in the last five minutes, Abraham Paz for the locals and Toedtli for the visitors, and Jonathan Sesma scored a late third for the home side after Toño gave away a penalty. (04.04.04)
The top three kept up their lead over the rest after Numancia and Sporting Gijon followed in the footsteps of Levante and won their respective matches on Sunday evening. Numancia beat Leganés 3-0 to hold on to second spot just a point behind the leaders, all three goals coming in the second half of the match. Calandria let the Soria based side off the hook though early on, but Pineda headed the locals into the lead from Velasco's cross three minutes after the restart. Manager Quique Hernández took off a forward Rosu to strengthen the defence, but his replacement Jaime Molina exceeded expectations when he headed a second goal just four minutes later after Moreno set him up. Fagiani added a third from a long free kick soon afterwards for what was in the end a comfortable victory.
Sporting won 1-0 against Poli Ejido in front of a 25,000 crowd, getting their campaign back on track after two defeats in a row. The visitors had come to defend though, and Julián Rubio packed the midfield in order to smother any creative play from the Asturians. And it was not until the second half that they finally made any headway, Ismael, Pablo Alvarez and Rubén all going close. And then Bilic finally burst past his markers to score what was to be the only goal of the match with twenty minutes to go, keeping the Gijón based side four points clear of fourth placed Getafe.
Alavés kept up their challenge with a 1-0 win over Salamanca, and they ended the weekend in fifth spot just five points outside of the promotion spots. It was not a pretty match though, and neither side really troubled the opposing keeper in the first forty-five minutes. The only goal came from a De Lucas penalty eight minutes in to the second half after Juampa fouled Pablo in the area. A few minutes later the referee awarded a penalty at the other end after Edu Alonso at the other end, but he changed his mind after consulting the linesman and gave a free kick outside of the area. Salamanca did their best to save a point though, and local keeper Gaspercic made an important save from Tuni in the last minute.
Xerez moved away from the danger zone after a late 1-2 win over Almería, Dani Pendín getting the winning goal in injury time. The locals were the better side in the first half, and took the lead from the penalty spot three minutes before the break when Català brought down Francisco, who converted the kick himself. A minute later though the scores were level again when Dani Pendín produced a spectacular volley from Rodri's cross. Either side could have scored after the restart, but Pendín got on the end of Canito's free kick to get his second of the night right at the end.
Almería only stay above the bottom four thanks to a better goal difference than Tenerife, who drew 0-0 at home to Terrassa. Despite the result it was an interesting game, with Keko heading against the bar for the locals in the opening minutes and both sides creating chances after that. Monty got the ball in the net for the visitors three minutes after the restart only to see it ruled out for a borderline offside, and Rodri hit the post late on. Visiting keeper Morales made vital saves from Vitolo and Raúl Martín at the other end though to keep the scoreline unchanged. (04.04.04)