Second Division A - Day 19

Second placed Almería lost 2-1 at Málaga on Saturday evening, and they could end the weekend out of the promotion spots. The locals took the lead in the tenth minute after Salva headed back Edgar's cross to enable Perico to score from close up. But shortly before the break Almería equalised from the penalty spot after the referee ruled that Salva had pulled back Mairata, Mario Bermejo converting the kick. Young debutant Popo came on though to cut past three defenders and beat Westerveld for the winner late on, although the visitors could have saved a point when Mané hit the woodwork with an injury time free kick.

Sixth placed Xerez also lost 0-1 to Albacete, their fifth defeat in a row. Azkorra got the only goal for the visitors on the quarter hour mark, heading home Parri's wide free kick, And after that a well ordered defence kept out the local forwards, the only chances a Geijo effort which was blocked, a Camuñas free kick which brushed the bar, and a shot from Moreno which Valbuena dealt with comfortably near the end.

Hércules are within a point of Xerez after a 0-1 win against Lorca side who drop further into the relegation zone as a result. De los Santos opened the scoring in only the sixth minute of the game after getting on the end of Juanlu's pass following a quickly taken free kick. And after that Lorca's only reply was a shot just over the bar by Rueda later in the first half. It was a ninth game in a row without a win for the Murcia based side, and new coach José María Salmerón will have his work cut out to turn things around.

Bottom club Vecindario are now just four points behind Lorca after coming from behind to beat local rivals Tenerife 2-1. All the goals came in the last ten minutes or so, with Suso getting on the end of Angel's shot to turn the ball past Keleman and give the visitors the lead. Young substitute Carlitos headed the equaliser almost immediately though, and Atxabal headed home a Mario Prieto free kick a couple of minutes later to give their side a much needed three points. (06.01.07)

Valladolid increased their lead at the top of the table to seven points pending the evening's games after beating Alavés 1-0 on Sunday lunchtime. Mario Suárez put them ahead with a spectacular shot in only the second minute, and although Ogbeche tried his luck a couple of times either side of the break, the result never appeared to be in danger. Sisi could have put them further ahead later in the match, but they had done enough to extend their unbeaten run to thirteen games.

Real Murcia were the only side to keep up with Valladolid, a 0-2 win at Real Madrid Castilla keeping them four points behind the leaders in second place. Neither side had a clear cut chance until eight minutes in to the second half, when Abel beat Codina with a well struck free kick to open the scoring. And with the home side throwing everything forward in the final minutes, ex Castilla forward Adrián Martín picked up a pass from Richi to wrap things up.

Sporting Gijón drop out of the top three though after losing 3-1 at Ciudad Murcia. José Luis Oltra's side have the best home record in the league, but Sporting's away record is also amongst the best, and they took the lead in the tenth minute when Barral hooked the ball in to the net after the defence failed to clear a Diego Castro cross. Just a minute later though the locals were level when Goitom headed home Luque's centre, and Luque gave them the lead with a hotly disputed penalty after Goitom was brought down by Roberto just a couple of minutes after the restart. The visitors came close to equalising a couple of times, but Luque made sure of the three points with a free kick later on.

Salamanca also lost ground after being held to a 2-2 draw by Las Palmas, although they still ended the weekend in fourth place. All the goals came in the first half, with Braulio putting the locals ahead from Zé Tó's pass on the quarter hour mark. Marcos Márquez headed a Castillo free kick past Felip to equalise though a couple of minutes later, and although Zé Tó restored the lead with a header from Quique Martín's cross, Márquez levelled the scores once again following a corner on the stroke of half time. Things quietened down after the break, and the locals ended with ten men after Mario picked up two yellow cards in a minute near the end.

Elsewhere Poli Ejido and Numancia cancelled each other out in a match without goals. Both sides started the day exactly level on points and goal average, but the visitors had several chances before Moreno won a penalty for himself at the other end. Juan Pablo saved his kick though, and local keeper Kiko also had a bit of work to do before Poli had a goal by Cristian disallowed for what the referee considered to be a foul on the keeper.

Down at the other end of the table, Ponferradina moved to within a point of climbing out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over Castellón. The Castilla-León based side took the lead ten minutes in to the second half when Rubén Vega picked up a pass from Fran and fired a shot past Oliva. The visitors should have equalised when Alessandria was sent off for handling in the area five minutes from the end, but Rubio guessed correctly and saved Nakor Bueno's spot kick.

Ponferradina are now two points above Elche, who could only draw 1-1 at home to Cádiz. New signings Coelho and Fajardo were making their debuts for the locals, and Coelho had some nice touches before his corner picked out Fernando Niño to head the opening goal with half an hour gone. Bellvis should have added a second from Fajardo's cross soon afterwards, but with the first half coming to a close De Quintana headed home Nano's free kick to equalise. Nano had a goal disallowed for offside soon after the restart, but both sides settled for a point in the end. It was not enough to save local coach Luis García though, and he was fired after the match. (07.01.07)