Second Division A - Day 31

Celta moved six points clear at the top of the table pending Sunday's games after beating Salamanca 2-0 on Saturday evening. Fernando Vázquez opted to play on-loan Jesús Perera up front, and the ex Mallorca striker went close a couple of times before getting on the end of Canobbio's cross to head the opening goal past Tom, his first for the club since joining in the winter. Curiously it was the first time the Galicians had led at the break all season at the Balaidos stadium, and it was more of the same after the restart, Perera adding a second from Capucho's centre and then just failing to get his hat-trick with a shot against the post soon afterwards. Brit tested Pinto a couple of times at the other end as the locals eased off, but the result was never in doubt and Celta take another big step towards an immediate return to the top flight.

A single goal from Keko in the second half gave Tenerife a 0-1 win over Almería, leaving the South East coast side further down in the relegation spots. The hosts were desperate for a victory, and visiting keeper Alvaro had to be at his best to keep out Ibán Espadas and Ortíz in the first half. Adorno shot over the bar before the interval, and half time substitute Luna also went close a couple of times after the break. But Vitolo, Gavilán and Keko all tried their luck as the Canary Islanders took control, and with seven minutes remaining Keko took advantage of slack defending to score the winner and extend his side's undefeated run to eight games. Almería coach Fabri was sacked a couple of days later, with ex Espanyol and Zaragoza boss Paco Flores taking over.

Xerez and Terrassa played out a 0-0 draw in the other match on Saturday evening, a result which takes the Catalans above Almería and out of the relegation zone. After a dull first half in which neither keeper had any work to do, the locals could have taken the lead when Morales stopped an acrobatic shot from Cachorro. A few minutes later though Maikel got the ball in the net at the other end, but the referee disallowed the strike after his linesman incorrectly ruled that the ex Xerez forward was offside. Juanma Lillo's side were left with ten men for the last quarter of an hour after Jordi Navas picked up a second booking, but even so the locals were unable to score and they ended the day in mid-table, having only picked up two points from their last five games. (02.04.05)

Cádiz consolidated their second position in the league with an important 1-3 win over fourth placed Alavés on Sunday lunchtime, a result which leaves the Vitoria based side seven points behind them in the table. Bodipo and Navarro went close for the hosts as they had the better of the first half, but just before the break Pavoni put the Andalusians ahead with a shot which went in off the post. After that the visitors sat back to defend their lead, Oli clearing one effort from Carpintero off the line with the keeper beaten, and with four minutes remaining Jonathan Sesma got a second goal on a rapid breakaway. Chuchi Cos had brought on Alexander Mostovoi for his debut a few minutes earlier, and the Russian midfielder pulled one back in the last minute of normal time. But with the home side throwing everything forward, Pavoni got his second of the game to put the result beyond doubt.

The defeat of Alavés means that Eibar stay in third place despite a surprise 1-2 loss against bottom club Pontevedra on Sunday evening. The Basque side took the lead in the twelfth minute when Manuel scored on the follow up after Quique Medina's free kick was blocked by Mora, but the visitors levelled the scores with a Javi Rodríguez penalty midway through the first half after Oskitz fouled Capdevila. The Galicians were left with ten men though shortly before half time when Asier Salcedo picked up a second booking, and the locals should have taken the lead after the restart when Llorente failed to beat Mora with the goal at his mercy. But Pontevedra were always dangerous on the counterattack, and after D'Amico and Capdevila wasted chances, Javi Rodríguez got the winner with another hotly disputed penalty when Manel brought down Charles.

Recreativo took advantage to move up to fourth after beating Córdoba 3-1, and they are now only three points off the top three. Benítez put the locals in front with only ten minutes on the clock after Verza set him up, but Txiki picked up a pass from Ruano just five minutes later to level the scores. Recre lost Azkorra and Benítez to injury, but shortly before the break Uche restored the lead, and the visitors were left with ten men when Marc Bertrán picked up a second booking just three minutes after the restart. Aitor made it three a few minutes later, and although numbers were evened up when Galván was also shown a second yellow card with twenty minutes to go, the result was never in doubt. The defeat cost the job of Córdoba manager Crispi, technical director Juan Carlos Rodríguez taking over as the side's fourth coach this season.

Elche missed out though after losing 3-1 at Sporting Gijón, the Asturians getting all three goals in the last twenty minutes after the visitors had taken the lead. All the play in the first hour of the game was in Elche's half of the field, with Pablo Alvarez and Ismael going close and Caballero saving from Calandria. But Yosu Uribe's side went in front against the run of play when Luis Gil beat Roberto after good work by Ismael. Three minutes later though Sporting were awarded a penalty when Trotta held back Bauzá, and substitute Biagini converted the kick. And the Argentine forward combined with fellow substitute Juan to set up Calandria for a second goal before Juan himself wrapped things up with a lofted shot from 35 yards out which caught the visiting keeper off his line.

The results generally favoured Valladolid, who now find themselves jut four points behind Recreativo in seventh spot after beating Gimnastic Tarragona 0-1. Marcos Alonso took over from Sergio Kresic as the visitors' coach midweek after a run of six games without a win, and the new man reverted back to his side's traditional five man defence. And with just under a quarter of an hour on the clock they took the lead when keeper Felip slipped trying to reach Ortíz's pass, allowing Víctor to score. After that they sat back to defend the lead, and were only troubled by a couple of efforts from Ibon Begoña and Bolo after the break.

Down at the bottom of the table, Real Murcia made life difficult for themselves after throwing away the lead twice to draw 3-3 with Poli Ejido. Casuco's side had several chances in the first half, Acciari finally converting one from Julio Alvarez's cross to head his side in front and Alvarez himself getting the second from Varela's pass. Jacobo headed one back though after the restart from Pedro Vega's cross, and after Karanka and Juanma missed chances at the other end, Toedtli levelled the scores with a shot from inside the area. Murcia were awarded a penalty with five minutes to go when Kike brought down Luismi, midfielder Paco García taking over the gloves after the keeper was sent off for the foul, but unable to stop Julio Alvarez's spot kick. But Juanma put through his own net two minutes from the end after a dreadful mix up in the local defence, and the crowd's joy turned to anger against their own players, in particular keeper Olave, who was involved in ugly incidents with some of the fans after the game.

Had Murcia won they would have moved out of the relegation spots, level with their city neighbours Ciudad Murcia, who drew 0-0 at Lleida. It was a dull game, with the two keepers only in action once in the first half, José Juan saving from Crusat on the quarter hour mark and Rangel keeping out Gibanel later on. The visitors sat further back after the interval, but José Juan was not bothered again until a couple of minutes from the end when substitute Stankovic crashed a free kick against the bar. Ciudad had extended their unbeaten run to six games, and they keep their heads out of the water for the time being.

Racing Ferrol did move away from the danger zone though after a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Málaga B, ending a run of seven defeats in a row. Local keeper Bello Amigo had to be on his toes to keep out Diego Castro and Alberto in the opening minutes, but Vosalho got what was to be the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time, following up after his first header was blocked. Fininho caused some problems for the local keeper with his free kicks after the break, but Juanito could have increased the lead had Goitia not kept him out near the end. (03.04.05)