Second Division A - Day 16

Zaragoza drop out of the top three after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Celta on a rainy Saturday evening in Vigo. The Galicians are recovering from their bad start to the season, and David Rodríguez tested López Vallejo two or three times early on. Oliveira and Ewerthon caused some problems at the other end, but with an hour gone Dinei swung the balance in favour of the home side with a shot from outside of the area. And with four minutes to go the Brazilian striker set up Dani Abalo for the second to take the Galicians within four points of their rivals.

Rayo Vallecano are just a point behind Zaragoza after a 0-1 victory at Córdoba, their first away win of the season. Pachón headed them in to the lead in the twelfth minute after good work by Piti, and only some excellent saves from Raúl Navas prevented Pepe Mel's side from adding to the scoreline. Pierini had a goal incorrectly disallowed for the positional offside of a colleague, and the Andalusians had by far the better of the second half on what was a stormy night. It was a bad start though for Córdoba's new coach Juan Luna, who took over from José González midweek, and they could find themselves in the relegation spots by the end of the weekend.

Heavy rain and even sleet also affected the match at Huesca, where the home side moved up to seventh after beating Murcia 1-0. Luis Helguera headed the only goal from Sastre's corner with a quarter of an hour gone, and they could have increased the lead several times before the break. The visitors had young defender Erencia sent off on the half hour mark for a foul on Roberto, but even so they could have equalised when Eduardo saved a penalty from Capdevila a quarter of an hour in to the second half. The result leaves Javier Clemente's side further down in the drop zone, and the coach is under pressure to get results as soon as possible if he is to stay in a job.

Murcia are still four points ahead of Alicante though after the East coast side lost 1-2 to Las Palmas. Pablo Sánchez headed the Canary Islanders in to the lead from a Sergio Suárez cross in the twelfth minute, but the locals should have equalised a few minutes later after Samuel was sent off for handling in the area, Peragón firing the resulting spot kick up in to the stands. With the first half coming to a close Blanco chested Darino's cross past his own keeper to make it two, and although Abel Buades got one back with a direct free kick midway through the second half, red cards for Azkoitia and then Germán ended any hope of a comeback.

Elsewhere Real Sociedad took a step back in their bid for promotion, losing 2-1 to an Albacete side who are now level with the Basque side in the table. Marcos finished off a good team move three minutes after the restart to cancel out Jaime's wide free kick which bounced past everyone early on. And although Real had the better of the match throughout, Diego Costa intercepted Markel's back pass to score the winner a minute from the end. There was more bad news for Lillo's side as well, Marcos getting himself sent off for a second bookable offence in injury time. (13.12.08)

Leaders Xerez moved a point above Salamanca pending their game later in the evening after drawing 2-2 at fifth placed Castellón on Sunday lunchtime. Antoñito put the Andalusians ahead early on after Francis helped him beat the offside trap, but Ulloa equalised on the stroke of half time after Chema could only push out a Diego Reyes free kick. The visiting keeper saved a Mario Rosas penalty soon after the restart when Sinva handled in the area, but minutes later Uranga gave the hosts the lead following a corner. However Antoñito got his second of the day from Viqueria's pass twenty minutes from the end to save a point for his side. (14.12.08)

Salamanca opened up a two point gap at the top of the table after beating Levante 3-0 on Sunday evening. Gañan opened the scoring in the first half with a long cross which Ballesteros could only head on past his own keeper. Geijo came close to equalising a couple of times, but the visitors were left with ten men when Tena picked up a second booking soon after the restart. And the locals added two more in the last few minutes, substitute Paulo Sergio winning a penalty off Samuel which Miku converted, and then scoring himself with an angled shot in injury time.

Things are tight at the top though, and only two points separate third placed Hércules from eighth placed Tenerife after the Canary Islanders beat the Alicante based side 3-2. Alfaro and Juanlu beat Calatayud twice before the break to put the locals two up. It all seemed to be over when Tote was sent off with a straight red, but with a minute to go to half time Abel Aguilar got one back. An Oscar Pérez own goal after the restart levelled the scores, but the visitors were reduced to nine men after Sergio Fernández picked up a second yellow card, and Alfaro headed the winner in the ninetieth minute.

A last gasp goal at Girona as well, where Elche saved a point in the final minute after Santos scrambled the ball past Rafa Ponzo following a long free kick. The heavy rain made play almost impossible, but the locals had taken the lead after Migue's corner had reached Serra a few minutes before the break. The result ends Girona's run of three home wins in a row, and keeps up the good run by Claudio Barragán's side since the coach took over from David Vidal earlier in the season.

Bottom club Sevilla Atlético are even further away from safety after a 3-1 defeat to Gimnàstic. An twice taken Perotti penalty after Lolo Yedra had fouled Fali early on put the Andalusians in front. But by half time the locals had turned the scoreline around, Yedra equalising from a corner and Moisés adding a second from Jandro's cross. And Víctor headed in a centre from Jordi Alba with five minutes to go to give César Ferrando's side their first win in eight games.

Nàstic move away from the danger zone, as do Eibar, who beat Basque rivals Alavés 1-0 on a cold night in Guipuzcoa to climb out of the bottom four. A hotly disputed Yagüe penalty on the hour mark after Biel Medina and César Caneda battled for a ball inside the area was enough to take the home side within a point of their neighbours. The result leaves visiting coach José Maria Salmerón's job hanging by a thread. (14.12.08)