Second Division A - Day 40

Joint leaders Alavés were not able to celebrate their promotion to the first division after losing 1-0 to Gimnastic Tarragona on Saturday evening. Both sides had their chances in a lively first half, in particular De Lucas going close twice for the visitors and Abel and Bolo both trying their luck for the home side. Dmitri Piterman's side were left with ten men when Coromina was sent off for a second bookable offence shortly before half time, but they held their own and could have taken the lead in the second half when De Lucas set up Carpintero, keeper Valencia somehow getting a hand to his shot to keep it out of the net. But with the game in injury time and a scoreless draw on the cards, Iván Anía unleashed a long shot which squeezed past Bonano to send the visitors home empty handed.

Alavés are still three points ahead of third placed Cádiz though after Víctor Espárrago's side were held to a 1-1 draw at struggling Pontevedra. The Andalusians started the game on the defensive, but they were dangerous on the breakaway and Pavoni and Enrique both brought excellent saves out of local keeper Moso in the first half. Ten minutes after the restart Oli headed the visitors into the lead following a wide free kick, but a few minutes later Rubén Reyes equalised, the referee turning down Cádiz's appeals for a foul on the keeper and further upsetting them soon afterwards when he sent off Abraham Paz for a second bookable offence. Reyes missed an open goal later on and De Quintana cleared a Javi Rodríguez effort off the line as the Galicians came looking for a victory, but Manolo Pérez could have won it for their opponents when he failed to beat Moso in the last minute. (04.06.05)

Celta are the first team to win promotion to the first division after beating Xerez 1-3 on Sunday evening. Canobbio gave the Galicians the lead in the eighth minute when he turned in Toni Moral's cross almost on the goal line, and two minutes later Jesús Perera picked up a pass from Canobbio to make it two. The hosts came back though, Roteta hitting the post before David Narvaez scrambled one back shortly before the break. And they could have been level soon after the restart had Pinto not saved a Mena penalty after Sava fouled Roteta in the area. Canobbio wrapped things up though a quarter of an hour from the end when he got on the end of a Juan Sánchez cross to score his second of the night, taking his side three points clear of Alavés at the top of the table.

The other two places are still up for grabs though, and only four points separate four sides with two games to go. Recreativo moved up to within a point of Cádiz after winning 2-3 at Lleida, Gastón Casas getting the winner a quarter of an hour from the end from the penalty spot after Eduardo fouled Rosu. The Andalusians thought they had won it a lot earlier though, Casas taking advantage of a hesitant defence to open the scoring in the fourth minute and Català heading Viqueira's free kick into his own net to put the visitors two up. But But Rubén beat Luque with a long free kick on the half hour mark, and after Casas and Rosu both wasted chances in the opening minutes of the second half, Crusat made it all square with twenty minutes to go.

Eibar are level with Recreativo after a 1-0 win over Real Murcia, and they too are in with a chance of promotion which for them would be the first time in their history. Mendilibar's side started well, Garitano and Iñigo both going close before Dani Cifuentes scored a somewhat fortunate goal, Iñigo failing to reach the full back's long cross but doing enough to put off Juanmi and allow the ball to bounce in to the net off the far post. The Basque side sat back after that though and allowed the visitors to take control, Iraizoz doing well to keep out efforts from Iván Alonso and Mariano Fernández before the interval. But they tightened up after the restart and Casuco's side were barely allowed a look at goal throughout the second half.

The relegation spots are more wide open than ever after this weekend's results, and any four from nine sides could go down. Terrassa climbed off the bottom of the table with a 3-2 win over Racing Ferrol, taking them to within three points of safety. Cristian started things off against the run of play with a shot from just over the halfway line which flew over the head of Bello Amigo into the net, and Juan Carlos added a second from the penalty spot following a foul by Tena to give his side the lead at half time for the first time this season. A second Juan Carlos penalty just three minutes in to the second half seemed to have settled the game, but Antonio Moreno pulled one back with a long shot and Granon reduced the gap to one goal with ten minutes to go. Juan Carlos was sent off for a second bookable offence, but the Catalans held on take three very valuable points.

The result only took Terrassa above Pontevedra though, as Córdoba came from a goal down to beat Elche 1-2 and move to within a point of what would be one of the greatest escapes of all time. The locals had not scored a single goal in three matches, but they went ahead midway through the first half when Nino beat Saja following a corner. Five minutes later though Selu headed another corner down through Caballero's legs to level the score, and although Rubén should have restored the lead for the home side, it was Sérvulo who got the winner for the Andalusians with a low shot from outside of the area near the end.

Salamanca also picked up three points in an impressive 1-4 win at Tenerife, and they move out of the bottom four above Ciudad Murcia, who they meet next weekend. Andoni Goikoetxea's side were behind at the break though, Raúl Martín's shot taking a deflection off Chupri to wrong foot Keleman. But the coach brought on an inspired Gorka Brit at the break, and within eight minutes or so he had won himself a penalty after a foul by Kirian which he himself converted to level the scores. Two minutes later the ex Osasuna striker set up Deus for him to head the visitors in front, and he scored two more later on to complete his hat-trick, the first after rounding his marker to beat Keleman, and the second with another penalty after the keeper brought him down in the area five minutes from the end.

Ciudad Murcia are back in trouble though after drawing 0-0 against relegation rivals Málaga B, who stay three points clear of the drop zone as a result. There was an 8,000 crowd in the Condomina stadium after the management decided to allow free entry to anyone wearing the club colours, but their side put in a disappointing performance against an opponent who had only turned up to defend. Güiza missed a couple of chances, and Falcón should have scored from a set-piece Luque free kick which he directed straight at keeper Goitia. Bakero's side closed up shop even further after the interval, and only another effort from Güiza caused any problems for them. But the point should see them safe, even though they do have tricky games against Pontevedra and Terrassa to come.

Almería moved level with Málaga B after beating Sporting Gijón 1-0, a second win in a row for Paco Flores's side. Iban Espadas and Luna both went close for the locals before Luna got on the end of Vellisca's cross to head his side in front midway through the first half. Jaime had to keep out an effort from Pablo Alvarez with keeper Valerio beaten though to maintain the lead at the break, and with his side down to ten men after Adorno was sent off, Valerio made a first class save from Calandria at the end of the game to stop Sporting from taking a point. The Asturians are lacking motivation though after going several months without being paid, and although they are sure of staying up, they have only taken two points from their last five games.

Almería's neighbours Poli Ejido are now only a point above them after throwing away an early lead to lose 2-1 at Valladolid. Pedro Vega put the visitors ahead after cutting in from the wing to shoot across Lledó in the fourth minute, and only a great save from the keeper stopped him from getting a second before the break. Marcos Alonso brought on Aduriz and Casillo in the second half though, and Aduriz levelled the scores a quarter of an hour from the end with his first goal since returning from a serious injury. And with the match in the fourth minute of injury time the striker added a second from the penalty spot to give his side their third win in a row and take them up to sixth in the table, albeit with no chance of going up. (05.06.05)

PS. Celta's promotion has been put on hold after the club were denounced by Cádiz, Recreativo and Alavés for fielding an ineligible B team player Toni Moral during the last two games against Terrassa and Xerez. The rules are complicated, but in order to be able to play those two matches the player should have played five games in a row, which due to an injury he had not been able to do. The disciplinary committee decided that the claim had arrived too late to change the result against Terrassa, but their 1-3 win at Xerez was overturned and a 3-0 score was imposed. Celta say that this was an oversight and they will be allowed to appeal, but if they can beat Eibar next weekend they will in any case still be promoted. (10.06.05)