Second Division A - Day 18

Draws all round for the top sides on the opening day of the new year. Leaders Salamanca went behind twice at home to Las Palmas, but they came back to make it 2-2 in the end. All the goals came in the first half, with Darino opening the scoring following a corner in the fourth minute. Jorge Alonso equalised seven minutes later after Cohen set him up, and although Marcos Márquez restored the lead after another corner, Dañobeitia levelled the scores again with a deflected shot on the stroke of half time. The Canary Islanders were left with ten men after Dani López picked up a second booking four minutes after the restart, but they held on for a valuable point.

Zaragoza stay in second spot after drawing 1-1 at Albacete. Braulio put Marcelino's side ahead late in the first half after Goni laid back a corner. López Vallejo had to save from Begoña after the restart, but Braulio and Oliveira both had chances to extend the lead for the visitors. However with seven minutes to go the locals were awarded a penalty after Gabi fouled Merino, and Diego Costa stepped up to convert the spot kick and save a point for the Manchegans.

Third placed Xerez were also held to a 1-1 draw at Eibar, a result which keeps the Basque side five points clear of the drop zone. Yagüe latched on to Iván Romero's pass to give the hosts the lead on the quarter hour mark, and Sutil hit the post before the break. But seven minutes after the restart Momo took advantage of a mistake by keeper Zigor to make it all square, and although Calle was sent off with a second booking for diving in the area, the visitors held on for a point.

Gimnàstic took advantage to close the gap to three points after a 3-0 victory over regional rivals Girona. Víctor headed the first goal from a long Jordi Alba cross with a quarter of an hour gone, and Jandro got the second from the penalty spot after José brought down Mingo on the edge of the area. The visitors tried their luck a couple of times after the restart, but substitute gibanel wrapped things up after Víctor set him up with ten minutes to go.

Nàstic move above Castellón, who could only draw 2-2 with neighbours Elche. The visitors raced in to a two goal lead with strikes from Usero in the first six minutes, the first a finish from a Santos assist and the second after picking up the ball from David Fuster. Emilio N'sue got one back though with a low shot on the quarter hour mark, and fifteen minutes later Caballero could only push a shot from the Spanish youth international into the path of Uranga for him to equalise.

Elsewhere Murcia got off to a good start under new manager José Miguel Campos, a 0-2 win against fellow strugglers Alicante taking them to within one point of escaping the drop zone. Iván Alonso got the first midway through the first half after running on to Dani Aquino's through ball, and the striker scored his second of the night from the penalty spot a few minutes later after Germán handled in the area. It was a blow for Alicante's new coach Granero, who was returning to his old job just three months after being fired. (03.01.09)

Hércules kicked off their match on Sunday lunchtime at Celta knowing that a win would take them to the top of the table, but in the end they remain outside of the promotion spots after losing 2-1. Notario had to keep out Taborda a couple of times in the first half, but a minute after the restart Dinei headed on a long ball for David Rodríguez to run on and score. Oscar Díaz made it two after Dinei set him up a quarter of an hour later, but Rubén Navarro got on the end of Morán's cross to volley one back, and the visitors could have levelled the scores had Taborda not had a goal ruled out for a dubious offside late on.

Tenerife moved above the Alicante side to fourth, level on points with Zaragoza and Xerez, after a 2-1 victory over bottom side Sevilla Atlético later in the evening. Nino opened the scoring eight minutes before the interval on a rapid counter-attack, and Alfaro hit the post before picking up Héctor's pass to make it two soon after the restart. Two minutes later Mohammed headed one back from Perotti's corner, but a few minutes later the visitors were left with ten men after keeper Vargas was sent off for handling outside of the area, and the locals held on for their third win in a row.

Huesca are back in the promotion race after a 2-0 victory over Alavés took them back up to seventh. José Vegar got the first from the penalty spot after Rubén Castro was brought down on the quarter hour mark. And after Almirón was sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second half, Roberto headed in Camacho's cross to make it two. It was a poor start for Alavés's new coach Manix Mandiola, who's side ended with nine men after César was also red-carded in the final minute, and they ended the weekend just one spot above the drop zone.

Huesca are now level with Real Sociedad, who could only draw 2-2 at struggling Córdoba. The Basque side went ahead twice, Marcos starting things off with an individualist goal in the twentieth minute. Arteaga equalised close to half time after Yordi played on Guzmán's cross, and the locals could have taken the lead when Ansotegi cleared off the line from Yordi soon after the restart. Play went up the other end though, and Marcos passed in for Agirretxe to restore the lead. Pierini saved a point for the Andalusians however with a second goal following a corner four minutes in to injury time.

Rayo Vallecano and Levante both remain a point behind Real after they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw, but with nine teams only separated by two points the division is wide open. Michel and Geijo wasted chances at either end early on, but after that there was little to interest the fans. (04.01.09)