Second Division A - Day 39

Levante held on to third spot in the table after coming from behind to beat Valladolid 2-1 on Saturday evening. Both sides had chances i the first half, Pablo Casar bringing a good save out of local keeper Cavallero and Alexis going close at the other end following a corner, Manchev having a penalty appeal turned down in the same play. Víctor put the visitors ahead on the hour mark, his long shot somehow creeping under the body of Cavallero. But Ian Harte converted two hotly disputed penalties soon afterwards, the first after Congo went down under a challenge from Iván Hernández and the second when Manchev was tackled by Curbelo, to give the Valencia based side the three points.

For a few minutes Lorca had sneaked past Levante in the table, their 1-0 win over already relegated Eibar earlier in the evening keeping up their hopes of promotion in their first season at this level. It was not an easy match though, and their Basque rivals could have taken the lead early on through Iñigo and Rafa. Maldonado went close a couple of times before the break, and in the end he was to get the winner after picking up a pass from Ramos to beat Rubén Falcón. Even so keeper Orland Quintana had to be on his toes to stop Solabarrieta from equalising later on.

Málaga B are another side who were already relegated, but they recorded a 3-1 victory over Almería to move off bottom spot and virtually end their opponents' hopes of going up. The Andalusians were already ahead in the second minute when Gonzales-Vigil took advantage of slack defending to score, and although Acasiete headed an equaliser from Crusat's free kick, Silva hit the post before Usero restored the lead on the stroke of half time. Perico made it three fter the restart, and keeper Manolo kept out Jonathan a couple of times after that to ensure the victory.

Eibar and Málaga B will be joined by Racing Ferrol, who are also mathematically down after losing 2-3 to a Tenerife side who themselves were floundering just above the bottom four. The Galicians had only won three times at home all season, and they were two down at the break after Toñito headed past Bouchard and then added a second with a chip over the keeper. Half time substitute Baha headed one back after the restart, but Maikel restored the two goal cushion with a header from a corner, and Baha's second goal of the evening late on, also from a corner, was scant consolation.

Elsewhere Real Murcia virtually assured another season in the second division after winning 3-1 against Hércules, who themselves are still not sure of staying up.Tato headed Sergio Kresic's side in to the lead in the seventh minute, but Moisés missed a penalty at the other end before Pedro León volleyed home a spectacular second on the half hour mark. And Carrera added a third in the second half following a corner before Kiko Ratón headed a late goal for the visitors. (27.05.06)

Leaders Recreativo were held to a 2-2 draw by nine man Castellón on Sunday lunchtime, and now have to wait a little longer before they can be sure of going up. Marcelino's side took the lead when Uche picked up a pass from Cheli to beat Raúl Jiménez in the twentieth minute, but Xavi Moré got on the end of Zafra's free kick to equalise ten minutes later. Uche restored the lead five minutes before the break with a shot from outside of the area, his twentieth of the season, but once again the visitors levelled the scores soon afterwards when Jonan García turned the ball in from close up after Zafra crossed in. Castellón were left with nine men when Miguel García and Rodri were both sent off with ten minutes to go, but they held on for an important point in their fight to avoid the drop, and could even have secured a win had Toño not kept out Raúl Sánchez near the end.

Gimnastic Tarragona are just one point away from reaching the first division for the first time in 56 years after beating Numancia 1-0 on Sunday evening. The Tarragona based side took the three points thanks to a second half strike from Diego Torres, and will ensure promotion if they take a point at Xerez next weekend. The visitors started the game with an outside chance of going up though, and Ruz did well to clear twice early on. But Merino and Bolo both went close either side of half time before Torres beat the offside trap to force a shot past Juan Pablo. Pineda could have equalised two minutes later when he hit the post, but otherwise Nàstic had things under control.

Both Nàstic and Recre benefited from a 0-0 draw by fifth placed Ciudad Murcia at Elche, and with third and fourth placed Levante and Lorca due to meet in the next to last match, either could go up next weekend. "City" started the weekend just two points outside of the top three, but they were unable to break down a well ordered defence of a side who were still not sure of safety. Luque rattled the woodwork for the visitors early on and Goitom did likewise ten minutes from the end, and local keeper Sergio Aragoneses was put to the test a number of times. But the home side also had their chances, particularly through Nino, and in the end a draw was a fair result.

Down near the bottom of the table, Lleida kept their hopes of salvation alive with a 2-1 win over Castilla. All the goals came in the first half, with Santos heading the locals in to the lead from Sergio's free kick and Jurado replying with a shot from outside of the area before Bilic converted a penalty after Rubén brought down Santos. Soldado hit the post early in the second half, and after local defender Unai was sent off for a second bookable offence, debutant keeper Miguel kept out the Real Madrid B striker a second time to give David Vidal his first win since he took over four games ago and take his side four points behind Castellón.

Poli Ejido moved closer to safety with 1-0 win over Sporting Gijón, who themselves are now level on points with their opponents. The locals had the better chances in the first half, Sunny, Calado and Toedtli all going close, although Calandria and Lagos caused some problems at the other end either side of half time. The game appeared to be heading for a draw though until Vucko came on for his first run out in two months. Within three minutes the Croatian striker headed home a López Ramos cross for the winner, but a couple of minutes later he got himself sent off after picking up a second yellow card.

Albacete made sure of staying up after beating Xerez 2-0, a result which ended the Andalusians' hopes of promotion. David Sánchez put the Manchegans ahead early on with a shot from the edge of the area, and Sanzol kept his side in front with a string of good saves, including a free kick from Granero before the break and a penalty from Alex Colorado after Ferrón had fouled Moreno early in the second half. Sánchez wrapped things up with his second of the night after Aranda laid the ball back, and the post kept David De Coz from getting a consolation goal for the visitors near the end. (28.05.06)