Second Division A - Day 33

Sporting Gijón consolidated third place in the table after beating struggling Rayo Vallecano 3-1. Another big crowd turned up to see Bilic give them the lead in the twentieth minute after good work from Miguel, but the visitors levelled the scores ten minutes later when Azkoitia took advantage of a defensive mistake to head past Roberto. The Asturians came out strongly after the break though, and Miguel scored twice in the first quarter of an hour to put the game beyond Rayo's reach. Txetxu Rojo's side ended the day back down in the relegation spots after the other results went against them.

Cádiz though lost ground on the leaders after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Córdoba, and they realistically now have little chance of reaching the top three places. The visitors needed points to move away from the drop zone, and they could have gone ahead early on, Pulpo González hitting the post and Montenegro and Berruet going close. Mario hit the woodwork at the other end after the restart, but Córdoba should have won it when they were awarded a penalty after Paz brought down Gracia, Nico Olivera putting the spot kick wide.

Tenerife meanwhile moved clear of the bottom four after beating Elche 2-1. Keko intercepted a bad back pass by Otero to put the Canary Islanders ahead in the tenth minute, but Dani Tortolero got on the end of Luis Gil's cross to equalise before the break. Raúl Martín and La Paglia both had chances to but the hosts back in front, but Enke had to keep out an effort by Nano at the other end. Keko won it though when he picked up a centre from Jesús Vázquez to beat Dani Mallo, and they held on despite having Vitolo sent off near the end for a second booking.

Leganés kept themselves out of the bottom four with a 1-1 draw at Eibar, the eighth time the Madrid based side have taken points from the Ipurúa stadium in their last eleven visits. The Basque side dominated the first half but could not convert their chances, and the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half time when Borja fired a shot past Basauri following a corner. Amorrortu brought on Saizar in the second half and he brought a top class save out of Raúl before Cuevas struck the equaliser from Dani's cross. And the keeper saved again from Saizar in the last minute to ensure a much needed point.

Alavés moved up to within two points of the promotion spots after beating second placed Levante 3-2 on Sunday lunchtime. The game got off to an electric start, Palermo setting up Edu Alonso to open the scoring in the twelfth minute and Jofre replying with a magnificent strike from thirty yards out only four minutes later. Rubén Navarro restored the lead ten minutes before the break when he headed Edu Alonso's cross past Mora, but once again the visitors levelled the scores soon afterwards when Reggi took advantage of a lack of concentration by Angel Sánchez to shoot under Gaspercic. A heavy rainstorm slowed the game down in the second half, but Edu Alonso struck the winner five minutes from the end to leave the promotion race wide open.

Fifth placed Getafe failed to keep up with the leading teams after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Xerez, and they ended the weekend five points away from the promotion spots. Despite their financial problems, the visitors came into the game on the back of three wins in a row, and their well ordered defence kept out the local strikers throughout the match. When the Madrid based side did get through, keeper Unanua was up to the task, making good saves from Uranga and Craioveanu either side of half time, and Francis could have won it for the Andalucians when he cut through the defence in the second half only to shoot into the side netting.

Numancia increased their lead at the top of the second division to four points after beating Ciudad Murcia 0-2. Both goals came late in the second half, Antonio getting on the end of Rosu's cross to head past Alberto Cifuentes and Xisco Nadal adding a second right at the end, only five minutes after coming on as substitute. The Soria based side had been pinned back in the first half though, and only good goalkeeping by Luis García had kept the scores level at the break.

Recreativo moved up to sixth place after a 3-1 win over Salamanca, keeping alive their slim hopes of promotion. Uche started things off in the ninth minute, and added a second midway through the second half to make it four goals now in his last two games. Raúl Sánchez pulled one back from the penalty spot after Escoda was fouled two minutes later, but Moreno restored the two goal cushion for Sergio Kresic's side soon afterwards.

Las Palmas are in deeper trouble after they were defeated 2-0 by bottom club Algeciras, who had lost their last six games and had not won a match since the end of January. The first goal came from the penalty spot in the second half, Armentano converting the kick after keeper Sessa had brought down Jorge Zafra. And a quarter of an hour later the Andalucians were awarded a second penalty after Quique Romero was pushed, this time Sessa saving Armentan's kick but watching helplessly as the forward headed the ball back in to the net. Las Palmas's fourth manager of the season Henri Stambouli was watching from the stands as caretaker boss Tino Luis took the reins, but a couple of days afterwards the ex Mali coach handed in his notice saying that he was getting no support from the players and the staff.

Málaga B and Poli Ejido did themselves no favours with a 0-0 draw, leaving the locals still down in the relegation zone and their rivals just two points above the bottom four. Both sides hit the woodwork, Sabino for Ejido a few minutes after the restart and Juan Rodríguez for their opponents from a last minute free kick, but otherwise keepers Goitia and Kike were on top. The home side ended with ten men after Manolo was sent off a quarter of an hour from the end for a foul on Agostinho.

Ejido's neighbours Almería are also closer to the relegation spots after they were beaten 0-2 by Terrassa, ending the weekend just one point above nineteenth placed Rayo Vallecano. Both goals came from headers after the break, Recio getting on the end of Quique Martín's corner just a minute after the restart and Martín himself scoring the second five minutes from the end from a Juan Carlos cross. By then Almería were a man short after Valois was sent off for a second bookable offence. (18.04.04)