Second Division A - Day 41

With only two weeks to go, no less than fourteen of the twenty-two teams are involved in the battles for promotion and relegation. All matches involving those clubs will kick off at the same time on Sunday, which only left the game between local rivals Elche and Hércules for Saturday evening. The visitors ran out 0-2 winners, with Rubén Navarro getting the goals in the first and last minutes of the first half. Three players were sent off in the second half, Cobo for the locals and Farinós and Santacruz for the visitors, and Rubén Suárez missed a chance to put the hosts back in the game when he hit the post with a late penalty. (07.06.08)

Málaga and Sporting Gijón are favourites to join Numancia in the first division after today's results. A last minute 3-2 defeat for Real Sociedad at neighbours Alavés left both two points above the Basque side in the table coming in to the last day. Real took the lead twice, Díaz de Cerio chipping the keeper to put them in front in the first minute, and Delibasic restoring the lead after Adrián had equalised three minutes after the restart. But with the game already in injury time Jairo made it all square again with a header from Toni Moral's cross, and a minute later Moral got the winner himself to keep the Vitoria based side's hopes of survival alive.

The result was a relief for Sporting Gijón, who appeared to be out of the top three after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Castellón. Nakor's header on the hour mark from Perico's cross was enough to secure the home side fifth place in the table, but the Asturians will go up for the first time in ten years or so if they can pick up a point at home to Eibar in their last game. The 4,000 or so travelling fans couldn't believe their luck. Málaga have a bit more work to do after a dull but tense 0-0 draw at Granada 74, and although they move above Sporting in the table, they will have to win against Tenerife to be sure of finishing ahead of Juanma Lillo's team in the table. Real themselves are at home to Córdoba in their last match.

As expected, the battle to avoid relegation will go down to the last day. However two sides are already sure to be playing in the second division B next season, Granada 74, who have a negative head-to-head record against the only two teams they could catch in the table after a twelfth game in a row without a win, and Poli Ejido, who go down after a seven year run after they could only draw 0-0 at Albacete. Pedro Vega almost won it for the locals when he hit the post late on, but seconds later they were left with ten men when Bermejo was sent off. The other two relegation spots are currently occupied by Alavés and by Racing Ferrol, who lost 1-0 to direct rivals Córdoba, Asen getting the only goal for the Andalusians with half an hour gone on the clock with a little help from visiting defender Charpenet.

Any one of six teams could go down though, Cádiz not doing themselves any favours after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Sevilla Atlético. They have a better goal average against all their rivals except for Córdoba, but they have not won now in seven games, and they and Alavés are the only ones to play their last match away from home. Xerez are also not out of danger after a 0-0 scoreline at Las Palmas, keepers Santamaría and Porato the stars of the match, and Albacete and Córdoba are also in the mix. With only two points between the six of them though, combinations are endless, and next Sunday promises to be a nail-biter.

Salamanca are safe however after a 3-1 victory over Celta, second half strikes from Dañobeita, Toti and Pelegrín enough for the three points before Pelegrín put through his own net late on. Tenerife are also sure of another season in the second division after beating Gimnàstic 2-1, Nino getting the winner five minutes before half time after Calle had cancelled out a fifth minute Culebras goal. And Eibar will stay up after they won 1-0 against leaders Numancia, Goiria getting the only goal with twenty minutes to go to the final whistle. (08.06.08)