Second Division A - Day 7

Hércules are two points clear of the pack pending Sunday's games after a 0-0 draw at Murcia on Saturday evening. Despite the result both sides created several chances, but the two keepers held fast. Calatayud was in action early on to keep out efforts from Despotovic and Dani Aquino, and made a vital stop from an Antonio Nuñez header near the end. Elía had less work to do, Raúl Ruíz and his substitute Rubén Navarro both failing to find the target when the visitors carved out opportunities at the other end. Murcia stay in the relegation spots, but this was at least an improvement.

There was a goal-less draw as well between Real Sociedad and Xerez, a result which leaves the Andalusians in fourth place, and their opponents still a point behind them in the table. The San Sebastian based side have not won now in four games, and they were frustrated by an excellent Chema, who made a string of first class saves throughout the match. The visiting keeper in particular stopped efforts from Díaz de Cerio and Estrada before the break, and from Marcos, Díaz de Cerio and Necati after the restart. His opposite number Zubikarai was only called upon once or twice, in particular to keep out a Viqueira free kick in the first half.

Las Palmas are themselves just a point behind Real after a 2-0 victory over Sevilla Atlético. There were boos from the local fans at half time after a lack-lustre performance, but Juan Manuel Rodríguez made two changes at the break, and within eight minutes Marcos Márquez put the Canary Islanders ahead following a free kick from Miguel García. And the striker got his second of the evening later in the second half to clock up his team's first win in four games.

As things stand at the moment though, only three points separate sixteen teams in what is proving to be another very close season. The other two promotion spots are currently occupied by the two clubs from Aragón, with Huesca in second place after a 1-3 win at Alicante. Ramón volleyed the visitors into an early lead from José Vega's cross, and the locals were left with ten men later in the first half when Peragón was shown a red card. Vara and Nico Medina added two more after the restart, and a late goal from Abel Buades was scant consolation for the locals, who stay down in the bottom four.

Huesca's bigger neighbours Zaragoza are third after beating Alavés 4-2. Oliveira scored twice for Marcelino's side early on, both from assists by his fellow striker Braulio. Garitano got one back shortly before the break, but the visitors went a man down when Pablo Casar picked up a second booking after the restart. Jorge López made it three, but Garitano scored again at the other end, and there were some nervous moments before substitute Caffa got the fourth with a well struck free kick. (11.10.08)

Salamanca ended the weekend back at the top of the table after beating Eibar 2-0 in the last match on Sunday evening. Quique Martín opened the scoring five minutes after the break with an angled shot past Zigor, and added the second from the penalty spot late on after Urzelai fouled Dañobeitia in the area. The Castilla-León based side have still only let in four goals all season, and they moved a point above three teams, Hércules, Tenerife and Rayo Vallecano.

Tenerife themselves won 0-1 at Albacete, their second away victory of the season. Substitute Cristo Marrero got the only goal a quarter of an hour from the end after controlling a cross from Juanlu to take the Canary Islanders up to third. José Luis Oltra's side could have won by a bigger scoreline though had it not been for some fine goalkeeping by Jonathan.

Rayo Vallecano came from a goal down to beat Castellón 4-2, a result which takes them up to fourth spot. The visitors started the day just a point behind their opponents, and Ulloa put them ahead with only seven minutes gone. Enguix headed in Albiol's corner ten minutes later to equalise, and Aganzo gave the home side the lead on the half hour mark. Ten minutes after the restart substitute Jesús Perera got a third after good work by Albiol, and although Tabares got one back, Perera scored his second of the night to wrap things up.

Levante could have joined the trio had it not been for a late goal by Girona in a 1-1 draw between the two sides. A Parri penalty midway through the first half gave the Valencia based team the lead, and local keeper Reina saved two more spot kicks after that, the first from Manga before the break, and the second from Migue twenty minutes in to the second half. Adrián was sent off in the incident by referee Pino Zamorano though and the locals fought valiantly before Chechu finally beat the keeper late on. After that Geijo was also red carded to leave the home side with nine men, and there were ugly incidents in the tunnel as members of Levante's coaching staff harangued the referee.

The match between Códoba and Gimnàstic ended without goals to leave both teams safely in mid-table. The home side dominated for much of the ninety minutes, but the best chances fell to the Catalans, Raúl Navas having to make important saves from Redondo in the first half and Campano later on.

Bottom club Elche and fellow strugglers Celta shared the points as well in a 1-1 draw, a result which cost the job of local coach David Vidal, who was fired soon after the game ended. After their cup victory against Tenerife midweek, Miguel gave the locals hope of a second win in a row when he beat Notario on the quarter hour mark. But Trashorras equalised from the penalty spot after Olmo brought down Dinei with an hour gone, and that was it. Vidal was the second manager of the night to fall after Alicante's José Carlos Granero was also given the sack. (12.10.08)