Second Division A - Day 35

A disappointing result for third placed Alavés on Saturday evening, the Vitoria based side being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Poli Ejido. The visitors set their stall out early on, lining up with six defenders, and only a header against the bar from Martín Palermo troubled ex Alavés keeper Kike in the first half. Angel Rodríguez wasted a good chance for the Andalucians immediately after the restart, but two minutes later Palermo hit the woodwork again, this time a shot against the post with the keeper beaten. After that though there was little goalmouth action, and Ejido went away with a valuable point which should keep them out of the relegation zone for another week. Alavés could be out of the top three if Sporting win on Sunday, but at least thy extended their unbeaten run to ten games.

Getafe took advantage to close up to within three points of the Vitoria based side after beating Terrassa 2-0. The Catalans could have been in front early on if Sergio Sánchez had not saved well from Molist, but Pachón felt he should have had a penalty at the other end soon afterwards. The locals opened the scoring though when Alberto dived low to head Pachón's cross past Morales, and Uranga came close a couple of times to adding to the lead before the break. Rodri tested Sánchez with a free kick after the break, but Pachón headed a second goal from Vivar Dorado's centre and only some good goalkeeping from Morales kept the home side from scoring again near the end.

The real drama of the day though came from the lower reaches, with Málaga B coming from a goal down to beat fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano 2-1 and move out of the bottom four. Both sides started the day level on 37 points, but the visitors took the lead whem Marqués chipped the ball over the advancing Goitia in the eighth minute. Both sides missed opportunities before Juan Rodríguez headed the equaliser from Nacho's free kick midway through the second half. Then with ten minutes to go Rayo were left a man short after Peragón was sent off for a second bookable offence, and the locals took advantage to score the winner when Geijo headed home Manolo's cross.

Meanwhile next to bottom side Las Palmas won 1-2 at Córdoba to move to within a point of Rayo. Top scorer Rubén started things off in the sixth minute following a corner, taking him back level with Pichichi Raúl Sánchez on 18 goals, but Pulpo González equalised before the break after Cicovic had blocked an effort from Ramón. But the Canary Islanders came out strongly after the interval, and after Jauregui saved from Momo, Jahic headed Carmelo's corner past the keeper to give his side their first win in nine games. Both sides ended with ten men after Larrainzar and Tomás were sent off near the final whistle. (01.05.04)

A goal-less draw on Sunday lunchtime between Recreativo Huelva and Levante, a result which favours the visitors who stay in second place in the table. Starting the day seven points off the promotion spots, the locals needed a win to keep up their push to return to the top flight. However they were unable to get through the defensive web which the Valencia based side set up around keeper Mora, and only a couple of late efforts from Toedtli gave the locals anything to shout about. Levante manager Manolo Preciado was sent off in the second half after picking up two cautions for protesting to the referee.

It was a strange weekend in the second division, with all four of the top sides failing to win. Leaders Numancia were defeated 1-0 by Tenerife, a result which leaves them only just ahead of Levante on goal difference. The Canary Islanders started nervously, and Enke was called upon early on to save from Pineda and from Fagiani's free kick. But at half time the visitors were left with ten men after Fagiani was shown a red card in the players' tunnel for insulting the referee, and Quique Hernández replaced two attacking players to try and defend the draw. Cristo Marrero eventually won it for the home side though, his header from La Paglia's corner taking a deflection off a defender to wrong-foot Luis García, and Enke made a vital save from Octavio in the last minute to ensure the three points and take Tenerife three points clear of the danger zone.

Fourth placed Sporting Gijón missed a good opportunity to return to the promotion spots after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leganés. The Asturians were unable to make any inroads on the visitors' defence at first, and Calandria could have given the Madrid based side the lead midway through the first half when he headed over the bar. But on the stroke of half time right back Diego Alegre beat keeper Raúl after good work by Pablo Alvarez and Bilic to put the locals one up. Miguel had to clear an effort from Calandria off the line after the restart though as Leganés pushed forward, and a few minutes later Calandria pounced on a loose ball in the area to get the equaliser. Cristian Diaz and Ismael both came up against Raúl later in the half, but in the end both sides had to settle for a point which left the home side a point behind Alavés and meant that the visitors ended the weekend down in the bottom four.

Cádiz pulled off an extraordinary comeback, fighting back from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Salamanca. The visitors mastered the wet conditions better than their opponents, and Aurelio gave them the lead following a corner on the quarter hour mark. Mario should have equalised soon afterwards when he crashed a penalty against the bar, but José ran on to chip the keeper and make it two midway through the half and Tuni added a third before the interval. Local manager José González brought on Oli and Jonathan Sesma for the second half, and Oli pulled one back from Velázquez's cross twelve minutes after the restart. Sesma hit the post six minutes later, and De Quintana beat Tom a quarter of an hour from the end before Iban Espadas headed the equaliser with two minutes to go to send the home crowd wild.

Eibar's slim hopes of promotion were dashed when they lost 0-2 to a Ciudad Murcia side who were under new management, Fernando Zambrano taking over from Juan Jose Enriquez midweek. The Basques were on top at the beginning, with Gorka Brit bringing a good save out of Alberto Cifuentes and sending another shot wide. But the visitors took the lead with virtually their first shot at goal, Joao Pinto beating Basauri with a well struck free kick on the half hour mark. Camuñas made it two after the break when he headed home a corner, and although Brit hit the post at the other end later on there was no way back for the hosts.

Almería avoided dropping in to the bottom four after defeating Elche 3-1, but although they moved up to fifteenth place they are still only four points above next to bottom Las Palmas and two off the relegation spots. The locals took the lead as early as the second minute when Ortíz got on the end of José Angel's cross to beat Dani Mallo, and Francisco and Ortíz both went close before Víctor Salas made it two. Moisés pulled one back from the penalty spot before the break after he himself was brought down by Jaime, and Valerio had to be at his best to keep out efforts from Nino and Arnal in the second half. But with the game coming to an end Francisco rounded the keeper to wrap the game up.

The last game of the evening between Algeciras and Xerez was called off due to heavy rain in the South of Spain, and the fixture has been rescheduled for the last week of May. (02.05.04)

Algeciras continue to avoid the inevitable drop, and they still have a mathematical chance of survival after beating Xerez 2-1 in the match postponed from day 35. The visitors dominated from the start against their neighbours, and took the lead in only the fourth minute when Canito picked up a cross from Francis to beat Iñaki. José Marí got his third goal in two games though after a defensive mistake to level the scores before the break, and he and Armentano both forced good saves out of Unanua after the restart before Chico deflected Tevenet's shot past the keeper for what was to be the winning goal. Xerez had a chance to level the scores right at the end when Calle was brought down by Chico in the penalty area, but Iñaki saved the striker's spot kick. (27.05.04)