Second Division A - Day 25

Numancia extended their lead at the top of the table after a 1-0 win over Albacete on Saturday evening. Visiting keeper Valbuena made a couple of good saves from Toché before the break, but he couldn't stop him from heading in what was to be the only goal of the match from Beranger's cross six minutes in to the second half. And Alvaro Nuñez kept out Alustiza in the closing minutes to take the Soria based side six points clear of Málaga pending their game on Sunday, and leave the Manchegans further down in the drop zone.

Sporting Gijón are back up to third after a 2-0 victory over struggling Xerez. Both goals came late in the first half, Bilic beating Porato after Barral laid the ball back, and Kike Mateo got scoring the second with a header from Pedro's free kick. The players dedicated the triumph to their mythical striker Quini, who was in the stands after undergoing a successful operation for throat cancer.

Celta stay a point behind the Asturians after beating bottom club Poli Ejido 2-1, ending a run of two defeats in a row. Agus opened the scoring for the locals with a glancing header from Jorge's free kick with just under half an hour gone, but Toedtli equalised six minutes later, beating Esteban from close up. The visitors were left with ten men though when Marc Bernaus picked up a second booking after the restart, and Jesús Perera latched on to a pass from Okkas to score the winner later in the second half.

Hércules got back to winning ways after some recent poor results, a 2-1 victory over Tenerife taking them back into the top half of the table, just a point now below their opponents. Andoni Goikoetxea's side had not won at home in two months, but their opponents had never won in Alicante either, and they went behind when Sendoa deflected Albacar's free kick past Juan Pablo on the half hour mark. Ayoze headed the equaliser from Hormiga's cross three minutes in to the second half, but winter signing Ion Vélez got the winner with an angled shot a quarter of an hour from the end.

Granada 74 and Salamanca are also safely in mid-table after they drew 0-0. Saizar headed against the crossbar for the locals in the twentieth minute, and both keepers had work to do after that. Bustos hit the bar at the other end after the restart, and Aranda missed the best chance when he fired over from close range late on.

Elsewhere Gimnàstic moved out of the relegation spots after beating Eibar 2-1, their first win in three months. Jandro headed the Catalans into the lead from Campano's cross midway through the first half, and although Goiria levelled the scores soon afterwards after Codina set him up, Dani Tortolero headed Nàstic back in front from another Campano cross close to the break. It was a first win for new coach César Ferrando, who took over recently. (16.02.08)

Málaga kept in touch with leaders Numancia after beating Castellón 3-1 on Sunday lunchtime. Hidalgo latched on to a loose ball to open the scoring in the sixth minute, and the visitors were left with ten men soon afterwards when Mora was shown a straight red card after he brought down Hidalgo as he advanced on goal. Cheli got a second from Eliseu's cross a few minutes later, and although Mario Rosas got one back from the penalty spot after Reggi was fouled by Jesús Gámez seven minutes in to the second half, Eliseu restored the two goal cushion with a volley from Calleja's cross just a minute later. It was Pepe Murcia's team's first defeat in 2008, and their run of five wins in a row was brought to an end.

At the same time Sevilla Atlético moved level with third placed Sporting Gijón after a last minute 2-1 win over local rivals Córdoba. Arthuro put the visitors ahead on the quarter hour mark after picking up a pass from Asen, but Pablo Sánchez equalised midway through the second half after a previous effort was blocked. And Alfaro beat Julio Iglesias with an impressive free kick in the ninetieth minute to win the match, shortly before Juanlu was red carded for the visitors for a hard tackle on an opponent.

Later in the evening Real Sociedad moved up above Sporting into the top three after a 4-0 win over Las Palmas. Díaz de Cerio headed them into an early lead from Mikel González's centre, but it was not until later in the second half that a goal from Xabi Prieto calmed the nerves of the local fans. After that though new signing Víctor wrapped things up with two more, the first after rounding keeper Nacho González and the second with a header from a Xabi Prieto cross.

Elche drop out of the promotion spots after losing 1-0 to a Racing Ferrol side who themselves climb out of the bottom four as a result. After a run of sixteen games without a win the Galicians have now picked up ten points from their last four matches, and new signing Rudy Carlier got the only goal on the hour mark with an angled shot which took a deflection off a defender.

Cádiz also had to thank their new boy Natalio for a 2-0 victory over Alavés, the ex Almería forward getting a goal in each half on a rainy night in Andalusia. Fleurquín hit the bar before keeper Ardouin allowed a Gustavo López cross to find the head of Natalio on the half hour mark, and the striker got his second with a little help from defender Pablo Casar soon after the restart. The defeat left the visitors close to the drop zone, and coach Josu Uribe was sacked after the match ended. (17.02.08)