Second Division A - Day 20

Three games were played on Saturday in the second division, with Gimnastic Tarragona moving up to within two points of the promotion spots after beating Hércules 0-1. Visiting keeper Alvaro Iglesias had to be at his best to keep out the local forwards early on, and new signing Carlitos had a goal disallowed for a previous foul, but the best chance of the first half fell to Ismael Irurzun who headed against the bar. Ruz had to clear an effort from Moisés off the line as the hosts continued to attack, but Irurzun gave the Catalans the lead after Sergio Sánchez could only parry an effort from Bolo. Moisés and Sergio Fernández both came close to equalising, but the visitors held on for their fifth away win in a row. It was the Alicante based side's first home defeat in almost twelve months, and they have now gone six games without a win.

Ciudad Murcia and Albacete drew 0-0, a result which left both safely in mid-table. The pre-match build up was all about the coaches, Abel Resino and César Ferrando having both worked together at Atlético Madrid last season, but in the end neither came out on top. Local keeper Jaime was in action early on to save from Parri and Gato, and Rubén Martín made saves from Piti, Falcón and Rivero at the other end. Santi came on for the visitors at the interval and almost scored immediately, and Luque tried his luck for hosts. But the final minutes were for Albacete, and Jaime made a couple of important late saves from Aranda and Parri to keep the scores level.

Eibar moved out of the bottom four pending Sunday's games after beating Poli Ejido 3-1. Roberto Olabe was in charge of the Basque side for the first time in their Irurúa stadium, and he saw his side score their first goal in seven matches when Mairata headed home a corner ten minutes before the break. The visitors equalised five minutes later when Tena turned a shot from Víctor Salas past Etxeberría, but the locals restored the lead two minutes after the restart when Curro Vacas deflected an effort by Jaime past his own keeper. Eibar were left with ten men when Azkoitia picked up a second booking, but even so César made it three from the penalty spot after substitute Manolo was fouled in the area. (14.01.06)

The top two, Xerez and Recreativo, continue to outdistance the rest, and they shared the points in a 1-1 draw on Sunday lunchtime. The home side had the better chances early on, Geijo shooting just wide twice, but Julio Iglesias had to make a good save from Gastón Casas before the break, and from Rosu soon after the restart. Moreno thought he had put the hosts ahead when Luque stopped his header on the goal line, but with twenty minutes to go Ismael did beat the keeper with a long shot. However five minutes from the end Rosu picked up a pass from Viqueira to level the scores and save a point for his side. The result leaves Lucas Alcaraz's side five points clear of their neighbours at the top, ensuring them the honorary title of winter champions. (15.01.06)

Other than the first two teams the rest of the league is wide open, with only nine points separating the last promotion spot from the first relegation spot. Valladolid edged back up to third despite being held to a 3-3 draw by Racing Ferrol. Marcos Alonso's side went ahead three times, the first in only the third minute when Llorente took advantage of a bad clearance by Bouchard to score. Granon had already hit the bar at the other end though, and Baha headed an equaliser on the quarter hour mark. Losada restored the lead a quarter of an hour in to the second half, and Llorente and Losada both had chances to put their side further ahead before Jorge Rodríguez made it all square again with a spot kick after Bizzarri gave away a penalty. Five minutes later Sousa put the locals ahead for the third time, but the Galicians saved a point with a late shot from Joselito which Bizzarri turned in to his own net.

Last week's third placed side Almería fell to a 1-0 defeat at Lleida and ended the weekend in fourth spot. The VCatalans had not won at home in over two months, and although they dominated the first half they didn't have a shot at goal until Sergio tested Valerio either side of half time. Acasiete headed against the post for the visitors before the interval, but the hosts took the lead early in the second half when Povedano headed Sergio's corner down into the far corner of the net. Paco Flores threw everything forward after that, but when Acasiete was sent off in the dying minutes for a second bookable offence their challenge ended.

Levante are level with Valladolid and Almería though on 31 points after drawing 1-1 at Lorca. The locals had the better of the opening minutes, and De Carlos put them ahead midway through the first half when he intercepted a bad back pass by Alexis to score. Visiting coach Mané pulled off Sandro and Courtois five minutes before half time to bring on N'Diaye and Nagore, but his side were left with ten men soon after the restart when Descarga picked up a second yellow card. De Carlos should have extended the lead a minute later but failed to beat Aizpurúa, and soon afterwards N'Diaye volleyed home a spectacular equaliser from outside of the area.

Sporting Gijón and Elche are just a point behind the three after sharing the points in a 2-2 draw. Visiting keeper Unanua had to be on his toes to save from Pablo Alvarez early on, and Calandria put the Asturians ahead in the twentieth minute after picking up a pass from Dorado. Raúl Ivars levelled the scores shortly before half time after good work by Alfedo, but the hosts went back in front early in the second half when Calandria was brought down in the area by Mario, Pablo Alvarez slotting home the resulting penalty. It looked as if Sporting were on their way to a place in the top three when Enguix gave away the ball in midfield in injury time, and Nino took advantage to save a point for his side.

Good results though for most of the bottom clubs, with Castellón finally climbing out of the relegation spots after beating Real Madrid Castilla 3-1, their third win in a row. Pepe Moré's side fell behind early on though, Javi García beating Oliva with a shot from the edge of the area in the tenth minute. However the hosts turned the scoreline around later in the first half, Aurelio equalising with a well struck free kick and Raúl Sánchez picking up a pass from Héctor Bosque to score the second. Visiting defender Arbeloa headed an effort from Castell off the line before the break, but Raúl Sánchez got his second of the night on the hour mark after keeper Cobeño could only parry a header from Xavi Moré.

With their match kicking off later, that result left Tenerife temporarily down in the bottom four, but they bounced back with a 3-1 victory over Real Murcia, their first win in 13 games. The Canary Islanders took the lead ten minutes before the break when Toñito set up Toni Moral, but their joy only lasted three minutes before Iván Alonso headed Carrera's cross past Keleman. With twenty minutes to go though Marañon got himself sent off for bringing down Cristo Marrero in the area and Cristian Alvarez drove home the resulting penalty. Diego Alonso came close to levelling the scores soon afterwards, but young substitute Angel Rodríguez wrapped things up in injury time after connecting with a pass from Marrero.

The last two also met, Numancia coming from behind to win 2-1 against Málaga B, who ended the weekend four points adrift at the foot of the table. The visitors were well on top in the first half though, Usero putting them in front after a bad clearance by Rubén in the fifth minute, and Saúl, Calderón and Marc Torrejón all going close before the break. Andoni Goikoetxea's side cane back after the restart though, Manolo saving from Pineda before the striker beat the keeper with a header ten minutes from the end. The match appeared to be heading for a draw, but Miguel finished off a cross from Montenegro to give his side their first home win in three months. (15.01.06)