Second Division A - Day 23

Xerez are going from strength to strength, and a 0-2 victory at Albacete took them six points clear at the top pending Sunday's games. The Andalusians had never won in the Carlos Belmonte stadium in the second division, but Momo opened the scoring with only a minute on the clock after picking up Antoñito's cross. Calle added the second on a quick breakaway just six minutes after the restart, and although Mendoza and Crespi had to clear late efforts off the line, they held on for a third win in a row.

Zaragoza are up to third spot after a late 1-1 draw against direct rivals Real Sociedad. New signing Abreu put the Basque side ahead on the half hour mark, controlling Aranburu's pass before beating López Vallejo for his second goal in two games. Bravo had to make a string of saves after that though, in particular from Zapater and Ewerthon, but Ewerthon levelled the scores in the last minute with a hotly disputed penalty after the referee ruled that the keeper had fouled Braulio. Moha and a couple of the local technical staff were shown red cards for insulting the officials at the end.

Rayo Vallecano are level on points with Zaragoza after a 1-0 win over another of the promotion favourites, Hércules. Coke got the only goal following a corner in the twelfth minute, turning the ball in to the net after Aganzo's header came back off the bar. And after that they sat back to defend, with Cobeño and his defence keeping their opponents at bay to clock up third straight win which takes them a point above their opponents in the table.

Levante are only two points off the top three as well after a 2-1 win over Murcia. Miguel Pérez got on the end of Geijo's cross to open the scoring early on, and Geijo himself scored the second on the hour mark. Bruno got a late consolation from the penalty spot with ten minutes to go, but his side could be forgiven for having other things on their minds after the club announced they (like their opponents before them) would be filing for protection from creditors in the near future. (07.02.09)

Castellón moved up in to the top three, for a few hours at least, after beating Celta 1-2 on Sunday lunchtime. Gari Uranga gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half, and Mario Rosas made it two from the penalty spot after Notario brought down Ulloa on the stroke of half time. Trashorras got one back with a second penalty near the end after Biagorri handled in the area, but too late to save a point. It was a good result for Castellón's new coach Paco Herrera, who took over after Abel Resino was poached by Atlético Madrid midweek.

Tenerife hold on to second spot for another week after beating struggling Eibar 2-0 later in the day. Pablo Sicilia headed the Canary Islanders in to the lead from Juanlu's free kick midway through the first half. Aragoneses had to be at his best though to keep out Tiko and Yagüe after the restart, and it was not until injury time that Nino took advantage of a hesitant Zigor to add the second.

No less than seven sides are separated by only two points from third placed Zaragoza down though, with Salamanca level on points with Marcelino's side and with Castellón after thrashing bottom club Sevilla Atlético 6-0. With only a quarter of an hour on the clock Salva Sevilla had scored twice, the first from Isaac's pass and the second after a rebound. Quique Martín added two more either side of half time, Rodri headed in a corner to make it five, and Miku took advantage of sloppy defending to complete the "set" later on.

Down in the lower reaches of the table, Córdoba are out of the relegation spots after a 3-0 win over Alavés. Ito headed in a Cristian Alvarez corner to open the scoring shortly before half time, but it was not until the last few minutes that Asen set up Yordi for the second and then scored the third himself. The defeat left the Vitoria based side down in the relegation spots, and signalled the end for their coach Manix Mandiola after just six weeks in charge.

Alicante sank further down into the drop zone as well after a 1-1 draw against Girona. The visitors went ahead ten minutes before the break when Serra headed in a wide free kick. And a good performance by visiting keeper Rafa Ponzo appeared to have sealed the three points for the Catalans before Torrecilla's injury time free kick took a deflection off the defensive wall to wrong-foot the keeper and enter the net.

Elsewhere Huesca came back from two goals down to beat Gimnàstic 3-2, a result which takes the Aragón based side back up to the top half of the table. With just over a quarter of an hour gone Campano opened the scoring with a well struck free kick, and Víctor added a second only a minute later. Roberto got one back soon afterwards though, and then made it all square with a header from a corner after the restart. And with the game in injury time Rubén Castro beat Felip with another free kick to take the three points.

Finally Elche and Las Palmas cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw which took both a little further from the danger zone. Santos got on the end of Saúl's cross to give the home side the lead in the eighth minute. But Marcos Márquez equalised from the penalty spot twenty minutes in to the second half after the striker was fouled by Cobo, and they held on for a point despite having Nauzet sent off near the end. (08.02.09)