Second Division A - Day 20

Celta missed out on a chance to move up into the top three when they were beaten 2-1 by Eibar on Saturday evening. The Basque side had not won in six games, but they went two up early on, Kike Mateo opening the scoring with a free kick which took a deflection off the wall, and adding a second after intercepting a bad back-pass by Sergio. Sava and Jandro went close to pulling one back, but Moisés could have got a third before the break and Mateo had what would have been his hat-trick disallowed by the referee. Pinto saved well from Mateo and Llorente soon afterwards, but Canobbio latched on to a loose ball to score for the visitors and give his side a chance of a comeback. Eibar closed ranks after that though and held on to hand their opponents their first defeat in twelve matches and move back above them in the table to fourth spot pending Sunday's games.

Real Murcia's brief revival came to an end after they were thrashed 5-1 by Lleida. The Catalans had lost their last four games, but they raced into a two goal lead in the first quarter of an hour, Rubén getting ahead of his marker to head Stankovic's free kick into the net and Escoda firing an angled shot past Juanmi following corner. The visitors fought back though, Rangel having to make a first class save from Iván Alonso's free kick, and on the stroke of half time Richi got a goal back, the referee turning down appeals for offside. Rangel was in action after the restart to save from Luismi, but Català headed a third from Sergio's corner and soon afterwards Murcia were left with ten when Marañon picked up a second booking. Lleida took advantage to score twice more in the last ten minutes through Arnal and Nakor.

Almería's new caretaker manager Alfonsín got off to a good start after his side recorded a last minute 1-0 victory against Recreativo. Although the first chance fell to the visitors when Rosu tested Valerio, the locals dominated for much of the match. Manolo failed to find the target when through on goal before the interval, and Toño had to save from Galca and Jamelli amongst others after the restart. With the game already in injury time and apparently heading for a draw, Ibon Espadas touched on Juanma's cross for Jamelli to fire a shot past the keeper and give his side their first win in five games. (15.01.05)

Alavés consolidated their second place in the table with a 1-0 win over third placed Elche on Sunday lunchtime. The Vitoria based side were under pressure though in the first half, with Bonano having to make saves from Peragón, Nino and Ismael. However Elche were left with ten men just five minutes in to the second half when Noguerol picked up a second booking, and a few minutes later Nené got what was to be the only goal of the match with an angled shot wide of Unanua. The visitors still caused some problems for the local defence though until Turiel was also sent off ten minutes from the end, at which point their challenge ended. (16.01.05)

Terrassa ended Cádiz's run of nine games without defeat after coming from behind twice to beat the league leaders 3-2 on Sunday evening. Dani Navarrete put the visitors ahead in the tenth minute with a little help from David Charcos, but Charcos and Rodríguez both tested visiting keeper Armando before their side were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half time when Abraham Paz fouled Monty. Juan Carlos converted the spot kick, but almost immediately referee Arcas Piqueras gave another penalty at the other end after Jesús Muñoz handled, and Manolo Pérez restored the lead. Five minutes after the restart there was third penalty, again converted by Juan Carlos after Jordi Navas was brought down, and Maikel struck the winner for the Catalans late on. Cádiz could still have saved a point though when they hit the post in injury time.

Valladolid missed out on the chance to move up into the top three after a shock 0-1 defeat at the hands of bottom club Córdoba, who had only picked up six points all season before this game. The Southerners have signed nine players in the winter transfer window though, and they hit the woodwork twice in the opening minutes, the first from a Cristian Alvarez free kick and the second from a shot by López Ramos. Debutant keeper Saja had no problems dealing with efforts from Aduriz and Víctor at the other end, and Ruano could have put the visitors ahead before they were awarded a penalty after Ricchetti pushed over Villa. Cristian Alvarez converted the kick, and after Ricchetti was sent off for a second booking, Bilic came close to extending Córdoba's lead in the final minutes.

Only three points separate six sides though fighting for the last promotion spot, with Gimnastic Tarragona staking their claim after a 1-0 win over Sporting Gijón. The visitors had the early chances, Pablo Lago hitting the post and Valencia saving well from Pablo Alvarez. But the locals had three or four chances leading up to the break, particularly from Bolo and Cuéllar, and Iván Anía wasted another opportunity in the second half when free in front of goal. Pinilla won a penalty for Nàstic though a quarter of an hour from the end when fouled by Sastre which he converted himself to make it ten games without defeat, taking the Catalans up to seventh in the table.

Racing Ferrol kept in touch as well after coming back twice to draw 2-2 at Xerez. The locals took the lead in the ninth minute when Lekic beat Bello Amigo, and Mena should have made it two before the break. The Galicians equalised though just four minutes after the restart when Carlos's cross was finished off by the second division's Pichichi Mario Bermejo, his fourteenth of the season in the league. Francis restored the lead on the hour mark, but Granon made it all square again a few minutes later to save a point for his side and signal the end for local manager Paco Chaparro, who was sacked later in the week.

Tenerife lost more ground on the teams above them after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Poli Ejido, and they finished the weekend down in fourteenth spot. There were few opportunities in a dull first half, Keleman saving from Vucko and Kike having few problems stopping a shot from Belli at the other end. But on the stroke of half time Vucko got on the end of Pedro Vega's cross to put the visitors ahead. Pepe Moré threw on Gavilán and Kiko Ratón in the second half though, and ten minutes from the end they combined for Kiko to head the equaliser. Ejido ended with ten men after Enguix picked up a second booking in injury time.

Down at the bottom, Ciudad Murcia moved to within two points of Salamanca and safety after beating them 2-1, a result which left visiting manager Felipe Miñambres on an ultimatum to improve things immediately or face dismissal. The away side actually took the lead against the run of play when Aurelio headed past Miki midway through the first half, but Cuevas equalised for the locals before the break. And new signing Luque came on in the second half to strike a shot which Lupidio deflected into his own net to give Julián Rubio's side a first win in thirteen games.

Pontevedra are still without a home win all season after drawing 1-1 with Málaga B, for whom José María Bakero took over on his first coaching assignment this week after Antonio Tapia was promoted to their first team. Bakero was in the stands to watch his new side take the lead on the quarter hour mark when Rubén followed up after Moso failed to hold on to Abel's free kick, and they could have been further ahead by the interval if the woodwork had not got in the way. The Galicians fought back after the restart though, and Changui and Javi Rodríguez both missed chances before Capdevila levelled the scores to earn a point and save the head of coach José Aurelio Gay, at least for another week. (16.01.05)