Second Division - Day 39

Leaders Xerez are just a point or two away from promotion after a 3-0 victory over Eibar on Saturday evening, and if Hércules lose on Sunday they will already be up. The Basque side held on until the break, when Raúl turned the ball in to his own net, but a few minutes later Bermejo headed in a corner for the second, and with ten minutes to go Sarmiento wrapped things up from Sarmiento's cross. The defeat means Eibar are relegated.

Tenerife stay three points behind the Andalusians in second spot after thrashing bottom club Sevilla Atlético. Within half an hour the Canary Islanders were three up thanks to strikes from Alfaro, Nino and Kome, and Nino converted a penalty early in the second half after Gallardo was sent off for bringing down the second division's top scorer. The locals ended with nine men after Raúl Navas was also shown a red card later on.

Zaragoza consolidated third place, just a point behind Tenerife, after a comfortable 3-0 win over Albacete. Ewerthon opened the scoring for the home side ten minutes before the break, and got his second from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time after Zapater was fouled. And Caffa made it three later on to keep the Maños on track for an early return to the top flight.

Fifth placed Rayo Vallecano are all but mathematically out of the race though after a 1-0 defeat at Levante, and even though they visit Zaragoza in the last match they need a near miracle to go up. Molinero got the only goal in the eighth minute of the second half from a Rubén cross, and even though Pallardó was sent off the home side held on for the victory.

Alavés kept their hopes of survival alive with a 3-0 victory over Huesca, and they move to within two points of Celta pending their match on Sunday. Igor opened the scoring shortly before the break, and then set up substitute Nacho Garro for the second with twenty minutes to go. The visitors were left with ten men when Luis Helguera was sent off late on for an elbow on Juanjo, who recovered quickly enough to score the third goal a couple of minutes later.

Murcia moved well clear of the drop zone after a 3-1 win over Alicante, leaving the visitors just a point off relegation. A first minute Bruno penalty after De Lucas was fouled was cancelled out by a second penalty seven minutes later, converted by Capdevila after Peragón was brought down. Capdevila restored the lead for the locals and both sides ended the first half with ten men after Mejía and Francisco clashed off the ball. Bruno had a third penalty saved by Queco Pina after Urbano was sent off for a foul on Kike, but Montoro made it three a few minutes later.

And Girona are level with Murcia after coming from behind to beat Catalan neighbours Gimnàstic 2-1. Jordi Alba put the visitors in front just a couple of minutes after the restart, but Gerard equalised six minutes later, his third goal in two games. And Cañas got the winner with a deflected free kick on the hour mark to give new coach Javi Salamero his second win in a row since taking over from Raúl Agné. (30.05.09)

Hércules's chances of going up took a serious blow when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Celta on Sunday lunchtime, and they ended the weekend five points behind third placed Zaragoza with only three games to go. All the goals came in the first half, with Farinós putting the locals ahead from the penalty spot after Tote was fouled, but Ghilas and Edu Moya turning the scoreline around before Delibasic levelled the scores again just before the interval. Hércules could have won it though when Farinós fired an injury time penalty against the post, the first he has missed all season.

Celta's point sends Alicante down, and the Galicians are now three points above Alavés, who they meet next week. Las Palmas are only two points above Celta though after they could only draw 1-1 with Salamanca later in the evening, a first half header from Marcos Márquez appearing to have given the Canary Islanders a much needed win before Akinsola equalised for the visitors with a shot in off the crossbar in the second minute of injury time.

Córdoba were another side who started the weekend near the drop zone, although they are now almost safe after a surprise 0-2 win at Real Sociedad. Arteaga gave the Andalusians the lead with a well struck free kick midway through the second half, and Pierini got the second five minutes later to spark off a serious protest by local fans against their own players and management.

Elsewhere Castellón beat regional neighbours Elche 0-1 in a game in which both teams had little to play for. Mario Rosas got the only goal of the match with an impressive shot from outside of the area a few minutes before half time, although Miguel could have saved a point when he hit the woodwork after the restart. (31.05.09)