Second Division A - Day 23

Málaga returned to the top of the table pending Numancia's match on Sunday after a 1-0 victory over Alavés. The Andalusians started well, with Calleja and Salva going close early on. Aganzo shot wide just before the break for the visitors, but Iván Rosado (who had replaced the injured Salva) headed against the bar after the restart. And twenty minutes in to the second half Apoño got on the end of a Paulo Jorge free kick to beat Bernardo and give the Andalusians their first win in four games.

Meanwhile Fourth placed Celta were beaten 1-2 by Castellón, who have not lost since Pepe Murcia took over as coach at the end of last year. Tabares headed an Oberman cross past Esteban to open the scoring in the eighth minute. And although Canobbio hit the bar with a free kick before the interval, Oberman put the visitors two up with a shot into the top corner of the net ten minutes into the second half. Substitute Jorge pulled one back with a shot from over 50 metres out, the first goal that Carlos Sánchez has let in for five games, but the Galicians were unable to prevent their first defeat in four games.

Real Sociedad couldn't take advantage though, the Basque side held to a 1-1 draw by neighbours. Eibar. It was the first time in their history that their Guizpuzcoan neighbours were visiting San Sebastian in an official game, and they surprised their hosts by dominating the first half, Riesgo having to be on his toes to keep out a cross come shot from Codina and a Txiki free kick. Medina went close after the restart, and Goiria put the visitors ahead midway through the second half after connecting with a cross from Carmelo. A minute later though Díaz de Cerio equalised after intercepting a bad pass by the defence, and that was how it stayed.

A carnival atmosphere in Cádiz, with fans dressed up for the festive occasion. They had to entertain themselves though as their side could only draw 0-0 with Tenerife. The locals had the better chances, in particular with new signing Natalio going close early on. Contreras had to save a couple of times from Hormiga in the first half, but otherwise the Andalusians were on top, Juan Pablo keeping out Dani and Natalio either side of half time, and Natalio hitting the post in the second half.

Celebrations though at Albacete, where new signing Alustiza started to pay off his transfer fee with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Xerez. The Argentinian forward combined with Morán and Pablo García to lift the ball over Porató a few minutes before the break, although that was about all they managed in a dull game. Xerez had scored eight in their last tweo games, but other than an effort from Michel near the end they didn't trouble Jonathan in the local goal. (02.02.08)

Sporting Gijón hold on to third spot despite a 0-1 defeat the hands of Las Palmas on Sunday lunchtime. Bilic missed an early chance for the locals and then had a goal disallowed for a dubious offside before the interval. Adrián Colunga beat Roberto though with a low shot with just under an hour gone to take the Canary Islanders out of the bottom four.

Sevilla Atlético moved up to fourth, just behind the Asturians on goal difference, after a late 2-1 win over Salamanca in their midday kick off. Salva Sevilla put the home side in front with a direct free kick in the twentieth minute, but Jorge Alonso levelled the scores with another long free kick midway through the second half. Alvaro Jurado was sent off for the visitors though for elbowing an opponent a couple of minutes later, and Juanjo headed the winner two minutes from the end.

Málaga stay in top spot after Numancia lost 0-1 at home to Elche on Sunday evening, their first defeat in nine games. Miguel headed the only goal from Raúl Martín's assist in the third minute to take David Vidal's side up to fourth, level on points with Sporting. Caballero had to be at his best though to keep out Sergio Ortega and Del Pino in the second half as the Soria based side tried to come back.

Elsewhere Hércules and Granada 74 stay in mid-table after a dull 0-0 draw, a result which left local coach Andoni Goikoetxea in a delicate position. The Alicante based side have only won one of their last eight home games, but only some excellent saves from Jaime kept them from going ahead before the break. Both teams hit the woodwork after the restart, Javi Guerra for the visitors and Rubén Navarro for the hosts.

Down at the foot of the table, Racing Ferrol moved off the bottom to the after beating the team above them Poli Ejido 2-0. New signing Alvaro Antón got both the goals in a ten minute period after the break, the first a header from Pereira's cross and the second with a shot on the turn past Alvaro Iglesias. It was the Galicians first win in their A Malata stadium in nine games.

Gimnàstic are just outside the drop zone after drawing 2-2 against Córdoba. Arthuro put the Andalusians in front from the penalty spot in the fifth minute after he was fouled by Campano. But the winger made up for it with two goals early in the second half to turn the scoreline around, the first from a free kick and the second a low drive. It looked as if Nàstic were going to win for the first time in eleven games, but Juanlu saved a point for the visitors in the fifth minute of injury time. (03.02.08)