Second Division A - Day 18

Tenerife's season is going from bad to worse, and their run without a win was extended to eleven games after they lost 1-2 at home to Racing Ferrol. Toni Moral put the Canary Islanders ahead in the third minute after Edu Moya set him up, but Baha took advantage of a failed clearance by Cristian Alvarez to equalise soon afterwards. Moisés should have given the visitors the lead shortly before the break when he missed a penalty after being brought down by Moral, and the locals were left with ten men when César Belli picked up a second booking just a couple of minutes in to the second half. And with seven minutes to go Granon got on the end of a Carlos cross to score the winner and take the Galicians out of the bottom four pending the rest of the midweek games. After the match new coach Antonio López decided to quit after only seven games in charge, and president Víctor Pérez said he and his board would also leave the club after the shareholders meeting in January. Nobody appears to want to take over.

Lleida also moved out of the bottom four temporarily at least after holding Real Madrid Castilla to a 0-0 draw earlier in the evening, a result which still meant that the youngsters moved up three places to seventh. The home side were missing top scorer Soldado, called up for first team duty, and in his absence nobody was able to take advantage of the dangerous crosses of Balboa. Palencia had to clear from Sergio in a rare attack from the visitors before half time, but otherwise the Catalans were content to sit back and defend their lead, and they could have even won it when Nakor got through in the last minute only to be frustrated by Cobeño. (20.12.05)

Xerez moved three points clear at the top of the table pending Recreativo's match on Thursday after beating Albacete 3-1. Geijo opened the scoring for the Andalusians on the quarter hour mark after heading home a cross from Ismael, but Mario Bermejo equalised just four minutes later after keeper Julio Iglesias failed to clear. Bajic restored the lead though later in the half when he beat Rubén Martín on the far post after Moreno headed on another cross from Ismael, and the keeper had to be at his best to stop an effort from Pedro Ríos after the restart. The visitors fought back though, and Iglesias had to make important saves from Pacheco and Parri. But with the game coming to an end Pedro Ríos saw Martín off his line and fired in a shot from inside his own half which siled over the keeper's head and in to the net.

Valladolid stay in third place, albeit nine points behind the leaders, after a thrilling 3-3 draw with fourth placed Levante in which the visitors took the lead three times. Riga took advantage of a hesitant defence to head the first past Bizzarri in only the third minute, and Manchev could have made it two soon afterwards if the keeper had not been on his guard. Oscar Sanchez equalised on the half hour mark after a free kick from Pedro López, and although Manchev restored the lead two minutes later with another header, Llorente made it all square again almost immediately after Tote set up Capdevila for him to cross in for the striker to head past Cavallero. The goals continued after the restart, Ian Harte putting the Valencia based side in front for a third time with a free kick, and Sousa saving a point on the follow up after substitute keeper Aizpurúa saved Baraja's penalty, Cavallero having been sent off for giving away the spot kick. Coaches Marcos Alonso and Mané were also both given their marching orders for protesting as nerves frayed later on.

Sporting Gijón failed to take advantage though after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Poli Ejido. The visitors packed their defence right from the start, and only a couple of free kicks from Juan caused any problems for Bello Amigo and his defence. Salmeron's side were dangerous on the breakaway though, and shortly after Keko brought a good save out of Roberto, the ex Tenerife striker touched a ball on past the keeper to open the scoring. Substitute Calandria headed the equaliser though midway through the second half, and Pablo Alvarez came close to winning it for the Asturians near the end with a couple of shots which Bello Amigo kept out and another which hit the crossbar. The table is once again very tight, and only one point separates five sides battling for the third spot.

A late goal from Crusat gave Almería a 2-1 win over Málaga B to put Paco Flores's team back in the fray and to leave their opponents further down in the relegation zone. The game got off to a lively start, Michel just missing the target twice and Saúl hitting the post at the other end with just over five minutes on the clock. Michel put the home side in front from the penalty spot a few minutes later after Ezequiel fouled Ortíz, and only a good save from Javi Muñoz prevented him from increasing the lead before the break. However Borja made it all square after Valerio couldn't hold on to Saúl's cross six minutes in to the second half, and it appeared that the game was heading for a draw before Crusat popped up to get the winner and end his side's run of three defeats in a row.

Elche's five match unbeaten run came to an end when they were hammered 4-1 by Ciudad Murcia, and they drop down the table to seventh. Abel Resino's side had only scored two goals in their previous six games, but they took the lead late in the first half when Goitom got on the end of Luque's cross to head past Sergio Aragoneses. Up to that point the visitors had been on top, but Kome extended the lead for the hosts with an individualist goal a few minutes after the restart. Luque added two more, the first with a shot from outside of the area and the second after picking up a pass from Falcón, and Nino's late strike was scant consolation.

Ciudad move up level with neighbours Hércules and Real Murcia after the two sides cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw. The locals dominated early on, Moisés hitting the post with a long shot and Sisi bringing a good save out of Juanmi before Dani Borreguero opened the scoring following a corner. Carreras tested Sergio Sánchez at the other end though before Julio Alvarez equalised on the stroke of half time with a well taken free kick. Both sides hit the woodwork after the restart, Iván Alonso for the visitors and Toché for the home side, but in the end they had to settle for a point apiece.

Gimnastic Tarragona are also level with the group on 26 points after a 0-1 win at Numancia, who stay in the bottom four as a result. The Catalans had won their previous three away games, and after Llera tested Juan Pablo with a free kick, Cuéllar put them ahead with a shot from close to goal after Bolo had headed on Ismael's cross. Andoni Goikoetxea brought on Jordá and Del Pino in the second half, but they were unable to make any inroads against Alvaro and his well ordered defence. (21.12.05)

Last weekend's leaders Recreativo Huelva surprisingly lost 2-0 to bottom club Castellón on Thursday, and they drop to second spot, three points behind Xerez. Raúl Sánchez got on the end of Pedro Hernández's cross to put the locals ahead with only five minutes on the clock, and Castell set up Héctor for him to score a second around the half hour mark. Things got worse for the Andalusians when Dani Bautista was sent off for a second bookable offence just before the break, and although the visitors did cause some problems for the local defence after the restart, Pepe Moré closed the game down with defensive substitutions later on. The result still leaves Castellón in last place, but they are now only two points away from salvation.

Lorca moved up to join the group on 26 points after beating Eibar 0-3, a result which cost the job of local manager Carlos Terrazas. The Basque side had not scored at home in the last four games, nut could have taken the lead in the third minute when César's free kick came back off the crossbar. But after that the visitors took control, and went in front just five minutes in to the second half when César turned a cross from Robles in to his own net. Substitute Maldonado added two more in the dying minutes, the first after a bad clearance by the defence and the second with a header, to leave the hosts further down in the relegation zone. (22.12.05)