Second Division A - Day 35

A set back for second placed Almería on Saturday evening, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Xerez ending their unbeaten run of twelve games. The home side went ahead with two goals either side of half time, Camuñas getting the finishing touch after Prieto headed on Luque's corner, and Geijo adding the second after Westerveld blocked a shot from Aguilar. Any hope of a fight back from Unai Emery's side ended when Acasiete was sent off for insulting a linesman midway through the second half, and Camuñas wrapped things up a few minutes later after picking up a pass from Geijo to round the keeper and score. It was a good result for Xerez's new coach Miguel Angel Roldán, who took over from Pepé Murcia a few days ago.

Almería could still be mathematically promoted next weekend though after fourth placed Ciudad Murcia were held to a 1-1 draw by Castellón. Goitom put the locals ahead midway through the first half after beating four or five defenders "a la Messi", but just four minutes later Tabares equalised, beating José Juan from inside the area. Ceballos went close to giving the home side the three points near the end, but Castellón held on to clock up another point in their fight to distance themselves from the relegation spots.

Cádiz are back up to fifth after beating Poli Ejido 0-1, a fourth defeat in a row for Antonio Tapia's side who are still only four points above the drop zone pending Sunday's games. There was little action until close to half time, when Pablo Hernández missed an easy chance for the visitors and Pedro Vega brought a good save out of Armando at the other end. Ten minutes after the restart though Miguel García's free kick deflected into the net off Raúl Torres, and Armando and the woodwork did the rest.

Sporting Gijón and Alavés drew 1-1, a result which leaves the locals three points and the visitors two points off the bottom four. The Asturians have not won at home since the start of 2007, but they took the lead in the twentieth minute when Congo picked up a pass from Barral to beat Porató. Barral missed a couple of chances to put his side further ahead, and Jandro equalised just before the break after Arthuro set him up. Quique Yagüe's team could have won it though with opportunities for Jandro and Aloisi at the end of each half.

Las Palmas moved closer to safety after coming from a goal down to beat Hércules 3-1, although they too are only level with Sporting in the table. Albacar and Márquez hit the post at either end before Sendoa took advantage of a defensive mistake to put the visitors ahead shortly before the interval. However Alberoni turned in a Trashorras cross with a quarter of an hour to go, and strikes from Víctor and Márquez in the last ten minutes gave the Canary Islanders a much needed three points. (28.04.07)

Valladolid celebrated their promotion with a 1-1 draw against third placed Real Murcia on Sunday lunchtime, extending their unbeaten run to 29 games. The visitors were looking for revenge after losing to Medilibar's side earlier in the season in the inauguration of their new stadium, and after applauding their opponents on to the pitch (according to league tradition), Aranda and Iván Alonso went close to spoiling the fans' evening. But Manchev had a penalty appeal turned down, and four minutes before the break Víctor got on the end of Sisi's cross to put the hosts ahead. Lucas Alcaraz's side equalised though straight after the restart when Iván Alonso turned in Jofre's cross, and although Manchev hit the woodwork twice, in the end honours were shared.

The top three places are all but sure though, and for yet another week the teams behind them faltered. Salamanca for example were held to a 0-0 draw on Sunday evening by an improving Málaga, who have not lost now in four games. Chances were few and far between though, with Roberto and Quique Martín going close for the locals, and Couñago replying for the visitors before the break. Keepers Tete and Goitia were only called upon in the dying minutes, and both sides ended with ten men after Roberto and Molinero were shown second yellow cards late on.

Numancia drew 1-1 with Albacete, a result which left both safely placed in the top half of the table. The home side went in front on the quarter hour mark when Julio Alvarez converted a penalty after young keeper Javi Martínez brought down Gorka Brit. But half time substitute Azkorra equalised just six minutes after coming on, connecting with Bauzá's cross to beat Juan Pablo. Alvarez, Brit and Bolo all had chances for the locals late on, and Moreno had a goal disallowed at the other end.

Three of the four relegation spots appear to have nametags on them, Lorca being one of them after a last minute 2-3 defeat at the hands of Tenerife left them eleven points away from safety. All the goals came after the break, Ramos opening the scoring for the locals from the penalty spot after Marc Bertrán handled in the area. Visiting coach Casuco (who is from Lorca) brought on Angel with half an hour to go, and within five minutes he had scored twice to turn the scoreline around. Javi Rodríguez headed an equaliser again from a De Carlos cross, but Angel got on the end of Bertrán's cross to complete his hat-trick in the second minute of injury time.

Elsewhere Ponferradina and Vecindario drew 3-3, a result which, in spite of the entertainment value, left both clubs further down in the bottom four. Morales got on the end of Goñi's cross to head the visitors into the lead midway through the first half, and although Rubén Vega equalised with a deflected free kick on the stroke of half time, Morales put his side back in front just a minute after the restart. Xisco made it three a few minutes later, and the Canary Islanders appeared to be on the way to a first away win. But Baha got one back following a corner, and Raponi saved a point with a well struck free kick in the last minute.

The last relegation spot is wide open though, with nine teams separated by just five points with seven games still to go. Real Madrid Castilla are the current incumbents however after they were beaten 2-1 by Elche. Gastón Casas opened the scoring for David Vidal's side early on, and Coelho hit the post later shortly before the break. Peragón made it two later in the second half when he headed in a Bellvis cross, and Negredo headed one back for the visitors with two minutes to go. (29.04.07)