Second Division A - Day 20

Defeats for the second and third placed sides on Saturday evening. Zaragoza were beaten 1-0 by Cordoba, who drop out of the relegation spots pending Sunday's games. Marcelino left top scorers Oliveira and Ewerthon on the bench, but the replacements were unable to beat Raúl Navas in the local goal. With just over half an hour gone José Vega took advantage of slack defending after a throw-in to score what was to be the only goal of the match, and the Andalusians held on despite having Javi Flores sent off for a second bookable offence with thirty minutes still left on the clock.

Third placed Salamanca lost 2-3 to an improving Murcia side who are also out of the bottom four as a result of their third victory in a row. Capdevila gave the visitors the lead in the twelfth minute, but Quique Martín equalised from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time, and Miku beat Elía after a long run early in the second half to turn the scoreline around. José Miguel Campos's team came back to win though, Bruno converting a second penalty and De Lucas netting the winner after Nuñez set him up with three minutes to go.

Hércules move above Salamanca to third spot after a 0-3 victory at Albacete. Abel Aguilar headed them in to the lead following a free kick in the twentieth minute, and Tote made it two soon after the restart. Farinós wrapped things up from the penalty spot in injury time after Trotta had fouled Delibasic in the area.

Real Sociedad are just a point outside of the promotion spots though after a 0-2 victory at Levante. Agirretxe got on the end of a Marcos cross to open the scoring midway through the first half, and the locals were left with ten men shortly before the interval when Xisco Nadal picked up a second booking. Xabi Prieto made sure of victory with a second goal on a quick breakaway early in the second half.

Celta are level with the Basque side after beating bottom club Sevilla Atlético 2-0 later in the evening, their fourth victory in a row. The goals didn't come until the last few minutes though, Michu heading in a Trashorras cross and Ghilas scrambling in the second right at the end. If the Galicians win their game in hand against Murcia next Wednesday they will be in the top three.

Rayo Vallecano and Las Palmas are also not far behind the promotion spots, although they cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw. The goals came in the second half, Pablo Sánchez putting the Canary Islanders ahead with a lob over keeper Cobeño, and Aganzo equalising a few minutes later, turning Pachón's cross past Santamaría. (17.01.09)

Elche moved clear of the danger zone after beating Gimnàstic 2-0 on Sunday lunchtime. The star of the match was once again ex Villarreal midfielder David Fuster, who ran on to beat Rubén Pérez from outside of the area on the quarter hour mark, and then joined Miguel in setting up Saúl for the second a quarter of an hour after the restart.

Xerez opened up a one point gap at the top of the table after drawing 1-1 at Huesca later in the day, although they will be ruing not being further ahead after late substitute Nico Medina equalised for the locals in the last minute. Momo had given the Andalusians the lead midway through the first half, heading the rebound past Miguel after the keeper had saved his penalty. Much criticised referee Gardeazabal Gómez sent off Luis Helguera before half time for a harsh second booking, but the locals fought back for a valiant point.

Only three points separate the top eight though, with Tenerife moving up in to the promotion spots after a 4-1 win over Girona. The Canary Islanders were three up at the break, Nino lobbing the keeper from outside of the area in the tenth minute, Kome firing in a second and Richi getting the third from a free kick. Raúl Martín got one back against his old side a few minutes after the restart, but Nino wrapped things up in the last minute.

Castellón are up to fifth after beating Eibar 0-1. Dani Pendín headed in the only goal early in the second half, and a few minutes later the locals were left a man short after Biagorri picked up a second booking. The defeat leaves the Basque side down in the relegation spots.

Alavés started their match at fellow strugglers Alicante down in the bottom four, but a 0-2 win took them back above Córdoba. Both goals came in a two minute period midway through the second half, Pablo Casar heading in the first and youngster De Marcos getting the second. Both coaches, Carlos Granero and Manix Mandiola, were sent to the stands late on after arguing with each other by the side of the pitch! (18.01.09)