Second Division A - Day 1

Four matches from the second division were brought forward to Saturday, with three of the four newly promoted sides in action. Lleida and Racing Ferrol faced each other in their first game back at this level, with the visitors running out 1-2 winners thanks to two hotly disputed penalties. The first came just before the break when Dani Marín pushed over Mario Bermejo, who transformed the spot kick himself. Nakor levelled the scores a minute after the restart, running on to a pass from Santos to lob Bello Amigo, but a second Bermejo penalty after Txema tripped Antonio Moreno on the edge of the area was enough to give the Galicians the three points.

A controversial penalty was also enough for a much-changed Poli Ejido to beat another of the new teams Pontevedra 0-1. It was a hard fought match, particularly in the first half when the only real chance fell to visiting striker Toedtli. The only goal came midway through the second half when the referee ruled that Luciano had fouled Llorens, Calado converting the kick. Charles came on for the locals and managed one shot at goal in the three minutes he was on the field before being sent off for elbowing an opponent, and both sides ended with ten men after Enguix was also given his marching orders near the end.

Tenerife also won 1-0 against Elche, although they left it late in the end to do so. The locals adapted better to the stifling heat (which reached almost 40º), and Gavilán had a goal disallowed for offside in the first minute. Moisés did have a goal ruled out at the other end a few minutes later for the same reason, but otherwise the Canary Islanders were on top, with Keko and La Paglia both going close more than once. The visitors reacted near the end with Benja hitting the bar and Keleman saving well from Moisés, but five minutes from the end a free kick from Antonio Hidalgo took a deflection off the defensive wall to beat Unanua for the winning goal.

In the other match played on Saturday, Eibar got off to a good start with a 2-1 victory over Cádiz. The Basque side were already two goals up midway through the first half, Quique Mateo volleying home the first from a corner and Llorens scrambling the second, also following a corner. The visitors came back after the break though, with new signing Mirosalvjevic pulling one back, and only a couple of first class saves by Iraizoz kept the locals ahead in the end. (28.08.04)

No doubt the result of the weekend though was Valladolid's 2-4 win at Dmitri Piterman's Alavés on Sunday lunchtime. Aduriz put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot early on after he was fouled by keeper Juan Pablo, and was to complete his hat-trick with goals either side of half time against a shaky defence. Oscar Sánchez completed the rout scoring a fourth goal with only an hour on the clock, and Pape Thaw finally headed one back a few minutes later. Valladolid were left with ten men when Marcos was sent off for stepping on Quique De Lucas, and De Lucas himself got a second consolation for the Vitoria based side from the penalty spot in the last minute.

In fact it was an extraordinary start to the season in a second division which had a reputation for draws last season, with all eleven games ending with a winner. Terrassa head the table thanks to a 3-0 victory over Salamanca after a thunderstorm and a power failure caused the match to be stopped for an hour or so midway through the first half. Maikel put the Catalans ahead once play resumed, lobbing keeper Jon Ander on the stroke of half time, and after David Cano was sent off for a foul on Molist, Juanele set up Crisitian for a second goal. The visitors were left with eight men after Tomas and then Cañas were sent off for second bookable offences, and Molist took advantage to score a third right at the end.

Newly promoted Gimnastic Tarragona join Terrassa and Valladolid in the top three after a 2-0 win against Real Murcia, a team who were two divisions above them last season. The visitors started well, with Michel hitting the post within seconds of the kick off. But Nàstic settled down, and Codina took advantage of a sloppy back pass by Varela to nip in, round Olave and score soon early in the second half. Lusarreta fired in a second eight minutes later after two earlier shots had been blocked, and Manolo Preciado's side were unable to come back despite three attacking substitutions.

More normal though at this level was the lack of goals, the other four matches on Sunday all ending with single goal victories. Celta began their attempt to return to the top flight with a 0-1 win over Almería, spoiling the party which was set up to celebrate the home side's switch to the newly inaugurated Mediterranean stadium. Both sides started nervously but eventually got going, Jandro bringing a couple of good saves out of local keeper Valerio and Lozano hitting the bar at the other end, the referee turning down appeals by the Almería players that the ball had crossed the line. Celta were given a penalty though on the hour mark after Rebosio fouled Capucho, and Jandro converted the kick to give his side the three points.

A 0-1 away win too for Recreativo Huelva against Sporting Gijón, a result which could have been bigger had local keeper Roberto not been on top form. The only goal came from an Angel Rodríguez free kick seven minutes after the restart, and Sporting didn't manage an effort on goal until Calandria shot wide midway through the second half. The Asturians ended the game with ten men after Jeffrey picked up a second booking near the end, and the 14,000 or so fans left the Molinon stadium disillusioned.

There were two Southern region derbies later in the evening, with a new look Xerez beating Málaga B 1-0 thanks to a last minute penalty. Either side could have scored in an even first half, Cachorro hitting the woodwork for the home side and Julio Iglesias having to save a couple of times from visiting forward Abel. Iglesias was in action again after the break as Paco Esteban and Abel both broke through, but with the game already in injury time the referee awarded a penalty to the locals for a foul by Dopico on Basti, and Dani Pendín converted the kick. Dopico picked up a second booking for the incident and César Navas followed him to the changing rooms after he too picked up a second yellow card for protesting.

Ciudad Murcia also beat Córdoba 1-0 to take them above their city rivals Real Murcia, who they will meet in a league match for the first time in their history later in the season. The locals controlled the match, with Aguilar and Güiza both going close early on, and they took the lead when "Spiderman" Ubeda headed on a corner for Gibanel to finish off. Güiza, Ubeda and Falcón all missed chances after the interval, but the visitors could have saved a point in the end had Miki not made a couple of vital saves from "Pulpo" González. (29.08.04)