Second Division A - Day 18

Málaga are back on top of the table pending Sunday's games after beating Sevilla Atlético 3-0 on Saturday evening. Neither keeper was particularly troubled in the first half, but substitute Salva Sevilla tested Málaga's Goitia a couple of time after the restart and his namesake Salva Ballesta missed an easy chance at the other end. All the goals though came in the last quarter of an hour, with Hidalgo beating Varas after Baha headed on Calleja's cross, and Salva getting on the end of Eliseu's centre to score a second less than a minute later. And with the game coming to an end Salva connected with another cross from Eliseu to get his second of the night and his side's third.

Sporting Gijón hold on to third spot after a 3-2 win over Alavés. Barral beat Bernardo to open the scoring with just over half an hour gone, and the striker laid the ball on a plate for Diego Castro to get the second on the stroke of half time. Omar appeared to have wrapped things up when he made it three just a couple of minutes after the restart, but with twenty minutes to go Mena took advantage of sloppy defending to get one back, and three minutes later Aganzo headed home a corner to reduce the gap to one goal. Referee Pérez Riverol was the protagonist after that though, sending off Sporting's Sastre and Alavés players Gaspar and Toni Moral, all for second bookable offences.

Elche remain just two points behind the Asturians after a 2-1 victory over Poli Ejido. Noel-Williams goal ran on to a long ball from Raúl Martín to put the locals ahead on the quarter hour mark, but just five minutes later Moreno equalised after the defence failed to clear a free kick. Both sides had chances after that, but the game appeared to be heading for a draw when Fajardo caught out Alvaro Iglesias with a long shot just three minutes before the final whistle.

Real Sociedad are just a point behind David Vidal's team after coming from behind to beat Tenerife 2-1. The Canary Islanders dominated the early play, and Nino put them ahead following a twentieth minute corner. But five minutes before half time visiting keeper Juan Pablo was sent off after bringing down Delibasic outside of the area, and the Basque team wrested back control. Díaz de Cerio hit the bar soon after the restart, and a few minutes later Elustondo equalised from Estrada's cross, the referee turning down appeals for offside. And seven minutes from the end a mistake by substitute keeper Raúl Navas allowed Díaz de Cerio to head home the winner, extending the unbeaten run by Chris Coleman's side to nine games.

Hércules lost ground on the chasing pack though after they were held to a 0-0 draw by bottom club Las Palmas. The Alicante based side only came close with a couple of efforts from Edu Albacar and a header wide of the mark from Blas Pérez before the break. The home side did a little better, but even so the closest they came to scoring was when visiting keeper Unai Alba almost dropped a long shot by Trashorras into his own net.

There were eight Saturday games in all in the last weekend before the Christmas break, with Cádiz moving safely up to mid-table after a late 0-1 win at Gimnàstic. Dani went close a couple of times in the first half, and the Catalans responded with a shot against the bar from Mairata and a couple of chances from Miku either side of half time. Nàstic were left with ten men when Abel Buades picked up a second booking with a quarter of an hour to go, and two minutes from the end Gastón Casas beat Roberto on the counter-attack to snap up the three points. Javi López's side have not won now in six games, and fans called for the coach's resignation at the end.

Next to bottom club Racing Ferrol sank further down the table after a 0-2 defeat against Salamanca, their twelfth game in a row without a win. A good start for the locals soon came to nothing, and Isaac went close a couple of times before Postigo got on the end of Zé Tó's cross to open the scoring shortly before half time. Acuña got a second after Jorge Alonso and Zé Tó combined to set him up after the break, and even the sending off of Fernandes for a second bookable offence didn't inspire the Galicians to greater things.

Xerez also stay in the relegation spots after a 3-3 draw against Eibar. It was a brave performance though by the Andalusians, who fought back from three down to save a point with ten men. Martino got the first for the Basque side from an early free kick, Nacho Insa made it two before the break with a cross-come-shot which Porató let through, and Goiria converted a penalty ten minutes after the restart for Eibar's third. Yordi came on for the hosts, scored a second penalty after Insa fouled Adrián Martín but then got himself sent off after picking up a second booking for diving. Xerez continued the fight-back however, Antoñito beating Cuéllar and then Martín making it all square with five minutes to go. (22.12.07)

Celta won 4-1 against Granada 74 on Sunday lunchtime to move up to fifth in the table, just three points behind Sporting. Jesús Perera got behind the defence to pick up a long pass and score with just nine minutes gone, but they didn't add to their tally until ten minutes in to the second half, when Quincy beat Jaime for a second time after the defence failed to clear a cross from Antonio Nuñez. Perera got his second of the day after latching on to a pass from Diego Costa, and that appeared to be the end. But Costa and Canobbio combined to set up Mario Suárez for a fourth in the last minute of normal time, and Aranda scored a consolation penalty for Antonio Tapia's side in injury time.

Numancia moved back above Málaga to the top of the table after beating Córdoba 2-1 on Sunday evening. Julio Alvarez put the Soria based side ahead after connecting with Del Pino's cross in the twelfth minute. But after that the visitors took command, Boris having to clear off the line from Arteaga before Juanlu equalised ten minutes in to the second half. Arconada threw on all his fire power, and after Córdoba's Dani was sent off for a second bookable offence, Toché got the winner after collecting a headed pass from fellow substitute Jordà.

Elsewhere Albacete climbed to the brink of escaping the drop zone after beating Castellón 2-0. Calandria gave the Manchegans the lead after receiving an assist from Barkero midway through the first half, and Xavi Jiménez wasted a couple of chances to increase the lead before the break. The visitors' only chance was a shot by Mora which hit the top of the bar after the restart, and Calandria should have scored a couple of times before he won a penalty with a couple of minutes to go. Oliva saved Barkero's spot kick, but the midfielder tucked away the rebound to wrap up the match. The defeat cost the job of Castellón coach Pepe Moré, who was fired soon afterwards. (23.12.07)