|Second Division A - Day 29|
Leaders Recreativo will remain top of the table at the end of the weekend, even though they were held to a 0-0 draw at Poli Ejido on a rainy Saturday evening. The home side had not lost at home though since the turn of the season, and they took the early initiative with Victor Salas shooting just wide and Curro Vacas hitting the bar in the first five minutes. The visitors hardly created any chances in the first half, but the introduction of Uche at half time changed things, and the Nigerian forward made his mark early on with a shot over the top before Xavi Jiménez hit the post later on. There were further opportunities for both sides, but in the end they settled for a point apiece which takes Poli closer to salvation and keeps Recre ahead of the pack.
Xerez drop out of the promotion spots though after being beaten 3-1 by Tenerife, and Lucas Alcaraz's side have still not won a game the start of 2006. The Canary Islanders had lost their last four games themselves, but they took the lead in the tenth minute when youngster Ricardo beat Julio Iglesias with shot which deflected in off Gerardo. Mendoza equalised with a chip over keeper Bernardo soon afterwards, but César Belli restored the lead when he headed Fagiani's corner past the keeper close to half time. And Toni Moral headed in Cristo Marrero's cross a few minutes after the restart to give David Amaral's team a much needed win which keeps them clear of the relegation zone for the time being.
A thrilling match at Elche, where the hosts ran out 4-3 winners over Albacete. Julian Rubio's side took the lead four times in all, but it was only when Raúl Ivars got their fourth eight minutes from the end that the Manchegans gave up the fight. Rubén Suárez opened the scoring with a free kick in the sixth minute, and although Juanlu fired a shot through the legs of Unanua to equalize soon afterwards, Rubén restored the lead with a second free kick before the break. Gato made it all square with a header two minutes in to the second half, but Nino beat Rubén Martín with another long shot a few minutes later to make it 3-2. Mario Bermejo equalised for a third time a quarter of an hour from the end from a possible offside position, and Buades could have won it for the visitors when he hit the bar. Seconds later though Ivars scored the winner to keep his side safely in mid-table.
Ciudad Murcia kept their hopes of going up alive with a 1-0 win over Hércules, ending the Alicante based side's brief recovery and leaving them back on the verge of the drop zone. Over half of the 2,000 crowd were supporting the visitors in this local derby, and Moisés wasted the best chance to put them ahead on the half hour mark. Goitom had had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside at the other end a couple of minutes earlier, and Kome got what was to be the only goal of the game just three minutes after the restart when he picked up a pass from Mané to score. Hércules could have saved a point though when the referee ruled out an injury time strike from Schiavi, also for a questionable offside.
Ciudad's neighbours Real Murcia were also in action on Saturday evening, and they saved a point with a late goal in a 1-1 draw at Lleida. It was a dull match though, and neither side really troubled the opposing keeper until Rubén beat Juanmi with a well struck free kick on the hour mark. The visitors came out after that and Rangel had to save from Héctor and Julio Alvarez, but it looked like the Catalans were going to pick up a much needed three points until Diego Alonso took advantage of slack defending to nip in and head home the equaliser. (18.03.06)
Lorca moved up in to the top three after a 2-1 win over Real Madrid Castilla on Sunday lunchtime. The first chance fell to the visitors, Negredo shooting wide, but after that the hosts took control, with Sava, Maldonado, Berruet and Jorge Sánchez all going close. Maldonado finally put them ahead when he latched on to Jorge Sánchez's through ball on the half mark, but Javi García crashed home a spectacular shot five minutes before the break to equalise. Maldonado beat Cobeño to restore the lead though before the interval, and the home side could have won by a bigger margin had De Carlos not hit the woodwork after the restart. (19.03.06)
Gimnastic Tarragona held on to second place, just two points behind Recreativo, after a 1-1 draw later in the evening against a Racing Ferrol side who have not won at home in two months. The few chances there were in a dull first half came from the locals, Juan Carlos bringing a save out of Rubén Pérez and Carlos and Juan Carlos both putting efforts wide. The Catalans played most of the second half with ten men after Cuéllar was sent off for a hard tackle on Carlos and they went behind when Pezzarossi headed home a Moisés free kick. Pinilla missed a penalty soon afterwards, but even so Jaio equalised with an effort following a corner which Cobas helped in to his own net ten minutes from the end, and Pinilla could have won it for the visitors when he hit the post in the dying minutes.
Levante climbed back up to fourth, level on points with Lorca, after beating Málaga B 2-1. The Valencia based side raced in to a two goal lead within the first twenty five minutes, Ian Harte opening the scoring from the penalty spot after keeper Nauzet brought down Reggi in the area, and Reggi himself getting the second after Javi Ridríguez headed on a cross. But a slip by Ceballos left Boselli free to head Pina's cross past Cavallero ten minutes later, and Pina almost equalised when he hit the bar soon afterwards. The locals were left with ten men when Harte was sent off for a second bookable offence, but they held on without too many problems to leave their opponents in next to bottom spot.
There are only four points between the top five though, Almería joining in the fray with a 0-1 victory at bottom club Eibar to stay a point behind Lorca and Levante. The hosts were desperate for points after eight games without a win, and new loan signing Gorka Brit put Valero to the test with less than a minute on the clock. But on the half an hour mark Kalu Uche got on the end of Galca's free kick to head the ball past Etxeberría and put the visitors ahead, and the keeper had to be at his best to stop Jonathan from extending the lead early in the second half. Brit had a late strike ruled out for offside, but after Nené was sent off for a second bookable offence it was all over for local coach Roberto Olabe, who was fired soon after the match ended.
Valladolid still have an outside chance of promotion as well, and they are now eight points off the top three after a 1-0 win over a depleted Castellón. Alfredo Merino's side created half a dozen chances as they dominated the first half, with Víctor going close two or three times and Broli shooting straight at keeper Oliva. But the visitors started the second half well, Zafra hitting the woodwork with a free kick soon after the restart. The locals got the goal they wanted though on the hour mark, Víctor converting a penalty after Pardo brought down Oscar Sánchez in the area, and Pepé Moré's side were unable to break down a well ordered defence after that.
Numancia's nine match unbeaten run came to an end though after they lost 1-0 to Sporting Gijón, who move back above them in the table. The Asturians got off to the best possible start, Calandria opening the scoring in the first minute of the game when he connected with Pablo Alvarez's cross to head past Juan Pablo. Local keeper Roberto had to save efforts from Palacios, Moreno and Tevenet to keep his side ahead by the break, and the visitors also had a couple of penalty appeals turned down. But even though the locals ended the match with ten men after Michel was shown a second yellow card late on, they held on for a victory which keeps them safely in mid-table. (19.03.06)