Second Division A - Day 38

Ciudad Murcia moved up into the top three pending Sunday's games after beating struggling Racing Ferrol 2-1 on Saturday evening. Luque opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the tenth minute after Jonathan handled in the area, taking him level with Uche at the top of the Pichichi chart with 17 goals. The midfielder missed a chance to score again later in the first half, but Piti beat Bouchard with a spectacular shot to put the hosts two up by the break. However Raúl Pérez gave away a penalty on Granón at the other end after the restart which the French midfielder converted himself to set up a nail biting finish.

A last minute goal from substitute Corredoira was enough to give Numancia a 1-0 win over Albacete, keeping them just four points behind Ciudad in the table. Hamilton Ricard had an early goal disallowed for a foul on the keeper, but otherwise the visitors were on top, with Aranda heading against the post in the first half and hitting the crossbar a few minutes before Coredoira picked up Trashorras's pass to score the winner.

Albacete are fairly safe however, as are Hércules and Elche, who edged away from the drop zone after drawing 0-0 in their provincial derby. Despite the result it was an exciting match, with Gomis clearing off the line from Miguel early on and the local striker hitting the bar with another long shot in the first half. The visitors improved after the break, but even so they had keeper Aragoneses to thank for saving them a point. .

Eibar though are relegated for the first time in 18 seasons after drawing 1-1 with Lleida, who equalised in the last minute. The Basque side had to win all their remaining games to have even a slight chance of staying up, but Iñigo gave them hope when he got on the end of Susaeta's free kick to open the scoring midway through the first half. But they had Miguel sent off for a second bookable offence ten minutes from the end, and with the game already in injury time Unai levelled the scores from a free kick.

The point was not much use for the Catalans either after Tenerife moved five points clear of their rivals with a 2-1 win over Poli Ejido later in the evening. Toñito gave the Canary Islanders the lead when he headed home Fagiani's cross midway through the first half, but Toedtli had an effort cleared off the line before Pedro Vega equalised with an angled shot soon after the restart. Visiting defender Tena was sent off though after picking up a second yellow card, and just two minutes later Jesús Vázquez collected another pass from Fagiani to strike home the winner. (20.05.06)

Recreativo lost 2-1 to Almería on Sunday lunchtime, but even so the Huelva based side are still favourites to go up. The hosts went ahead early on when Jonathan touched in Lozano's free kick, and Luna could have put Paco Flores's side further head when he hit the bar shortly before the break. Kalu Uche did make it two though after another Lozano free kick just three minutes after the restart, but his brother Ikechukwu Uche headed one back for the visitors twenty minutes from the end to overtake Luque in the Pichichi table and set up a thrilling finish.

Later in the evening Gimnastic Tarragona drew level with Recre on points after beating Castellón 0-2, and the two leaders are now seven points clear of the fourth placed side with four games remaining. Veteran striker Antonio Pinilla got both goals for the Catalans in the first twenty minutes of the match, the first with a header following a free kick and the second on the far post from Ismael's cross. Half time substitute Raúl Sánchez had a goal ruled out for a borderline offside after the restart, but the locals could not prevent their first defeat in seven games.

There is a battle royal for the third promotion spot though, with six teams separated by six points coming in to the final straight. Levante got a nose ahead of the rest after beating Sporting Gijón 0-2, the win taking them back up to within five points of the leaders. The Valencia based side went ahead in the tenth minute when Alexis took advantage of a mistake by debutant keeper Alejandro, and Ettien added the second just two minutes after the restart, picking up a long pass from Harte to round the keeper and score.

Levante are now two points above Murcia based sides Ciudad, who won yesterday, and Lorca, who recovered from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Valladolid. The locals are still not sure of staying up, and they started well with Llorente hitting the bar early on. Víctor finally put them ahead from the penalty spot after a foul by Fernando Vega two minutes in to the second half, but substitute Alex Alves saved a point when he beat Bizzarri a quarter of an hour from the end.

Xerez are not out of the running though after they beat Real Murcia 2-0.Geijo put Lucas Alcaraz's side ahead with a low shot in only the fourth minute, and Samuel missed a great chance to equalise when his penalty kick was saved by Tete five minutes before the interval. Lekic wrapped things up though for the Andalusians when he got on the end of Granero's corner to beat Juanmi midway through the second half.

Real Madrid Castilla thrashed already relegated Málaga B 4-1 in the first offical match in the newly named "Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium", Soldado getting a hat-trick to move back to the top of the Pichichi chart ahead of Uche and Luque. The youth international striker opened the scoring in only the second minute, and added a second goal from the penalty spot after Marc Torrejón was sent off for bringing him down. Balboa came on to make it three after the restart, and although Abel got one back, Jurado set up Soldado for his third of the night and his nineteenth of the season near the end. (21.05.06)