Second Division A - Day 25

Lorca made it up in to the second division promotion spots for the first time in their brief history after a 3-0 win over Albacete. The visitors had won their last four games and if anything they had the better of the first half, with Álvaro testing Jauregui on the half hour mark. And they appeared to have the upper hand when Berruet was sent off for a second bookable offence just a minute after the restart. However the home side rallied after that, and Marc Bertrán put them in front when he headed home Ramos's cross a few minutes later. Jorge Sánchez made it two midway through the second half after winning the ball off Cañas, and the striker rounded things off with a second goal, beating Rubén Martín with a strong shot in injury time. The Murcia based side have now gone nine games without defeat, including five wins in a row.

Gimnastic Tarragona are just a point behind Lorca though after they beat struggling Eibar 0-1, the seventh away win in a row for the Catalans and the fourth with the same scoreline. Their Basque opponents are currently down in the relegation spots, but they had the chance to go ahead in the twentieth minute when David García brought down Juan Domínguez in the area. However Alvaro Iglesias guessed correctly and saved César's spot kick. A few minutes before half time though the referee awarded a rigorous penalty at the other end when Diego Reyes fell under a challenge from Mairata, and Irurzun had no problems beating Etxeberría. After that the Catalans sat back to defend, Alvaro keeping out efforts from Susaeta, Azkoitia and Palios to ensure the three points.

A penalty was enough as well to give Hércules a 1-0 victory over Castellón, their first win in eleven games. It was a good start for caretaker coach José Bordelás, who took over from Juan Carlos Mandia after he was fired midweek. Moisés brought a couple of good saves out of visiting keeper Oliva before the veteran striker opened the scoring from the spot after Carlitos was brought down by Aurelio shortly before half time. After that the locals were content to defend their lead, keeper Sergio Sánchez stopping several efforts including two from Héctor, and although they lost Patri to a red card in injury time they had already done enough to take the much needed three points.

The other two games on Saturday evening ended without goals. The match between local rivals Ciudad Murcia and Almería was expected to be a lively affair given the recent good form of the two sides, but in they end they cancelled each other out in an eventless 0-0 draw. Neither keeper had any work to do before the break, and Ciudad's Jaime was only in action once after the restart to save Acasiete's header. The locals could have won it in the end though had Goitom and Luque not wasted good chances later on.

Sporting Gijón were unable to do more than take a point from their home game against bottom club Málaga B, and the Asturian side have now gone nine games without a win, the last four without scoring a goal. The only chance from either team before the interval came when visiting keeper Manolo saved well from Biagini. The Andalusians themselves had not won since week 13, but they had the best opportunity to do so when the referee awarded them a dubious penalty late on for a foul by Pablo Alvarez on Diego Castro on the edge of the area. However Castro fired his kick wide of the mark, and soon afterwards the referee called it a day. (18.02.06)

Recreativo top the table this weekend after a 0-1 victory at Valladolid on Sunday lunchtime. The Andalusians survived an onslaught in the first half, with Víctor and Alvaro going close in the opening minutes and Llorente having a goal disallowed for offside after a previous effort came back off the crossbar. However the visitors scored with their first attack at goal on the stroke of half time, Javi Baraja turning the ball in to his own net following a corner. The hosts kept up the pressure after the restart, with Llorente in particular putting another good chance over the bar, but when Morales was sent off for a second bookable offence two minutes from the end it was all over. Valladolid have not now won at home since late October, and the defeat signalled the end for coach Marcos Alonso, who was fired soon after the match ended.

Last week's leaders Xerez drop down a place after they were held to a 1-1 draw by an improving Numancia later in the day, and they still have not won in 2006. Lucas Alcaraz lost his top striker Geijo to an injury early on, but his replacement Iván Rosado came close to setting up Moreno on the half hour mark, the shot from the team captain being kept out by Juan Pablo. Azkorra tested Julio Iglesias at the other end after the restart, but Pedro Ríos appeared to have given the hosts a victory at last when he converted a second half penalty after Jordi Navas handled in the area. Andoni Goikoetxea brought on new signing Hamilton Ricard though, and the Colombian forward made it all square following a quick breakaway a couple of minutes from the end.

Meanwhile Levante are back up to third after beating Real Murcia 1-0, their third win in a row. The visitors caused some problems for their opponents with early counter attacks, Richi in particular shooting just wide. But Reggi gave Mané's side the lead with a spectacular volley midway through the first half (his first goal since the opening day of the season), and could have added one or two more after the restart. Riga and Manchev also wasted opportunities later on, but Murcia almost saved a point when Iván Alonso fired a shot over the bar near the end.

Real Madrid Castilla also confirmed their place in the top half of the table with a 0-1 win at Tenerife, a ground which has not been fortunate for Real Madrid's first team in the past. Young striker Roberto Soldado got the winner a quarter of an hour from the end with a free kick which took a deflection off a defender, his 13th of the season taking him three goals clear of his nearest rivals for the second division Pichichi trophy. Earlier on the Canary Islanders had looked the more likely to take the three points, Cobeño having to be at his best to keep out efforts from Cristo, Toni Moral and Maikel, and Ayoze having a penalty appeal turned down.

Elche drop further down the table though after Poli Ejido came back from a goal down to beat them 2-1, a result which takes the Andalusians just two points behind their opponents. Both sides had chances in the opening minutes before Raúl Martín put the visitors ahead with an individualist goal shortly before the break. Nino missed a great chance to extend the lead after the restart, and just a couple of minutes later Pedro Vega levelled the scores following a quickly taken free kick. And with the game coming to an end Toedtli headed the winner from a corner to take his side further away from the danger zone.

Ejido are now level with Lleida and three points ahead of Racing Ferrol after the two sides drew 1-1. The Catalans should have been well ahead by the break, Bilic missing an early chance before combining with Bruno to open the scoring in the eighth minute, and Camacho also failing to beat Bouchard soon afterwards. Dani Marín put through his own net though in the Galicians first attack, and Bouchard saved a Juanlu penalty after Bilic had been fouled by Nacho. Santos also hit the post after the restart, but the visitors held on for a valuable point. (19.02.06)