Surprises in the second division on Saturday, with neither of the top two able to win. Leaders Hércules were beaten 1-2 by bottom club Castellón in the first game of the weekend, despite going ahead in the eighteenth minute when Danciulescu headed in a Farinós free kick. Pedro equalised a few minutes later though with a shot in to the top corner of the net, and the locals were left with ten men when Delibasic picked up a second booking early in the second half. Ulloa took advantage to head his side in to the lead soon afterwards, and the visitors held on even though they had Paéz sent off with half an hour to go. A win later in the day for Real Sociedad against Las Palmas would have taken them back to the top, but in the end they were thankful for a 2-2 draw after Labaka hooked in a last minute equaliser. Bueno had lobbed the Basque side in to the lead soon after the restart, but two goals in as many minutes by the Canary Islanders turned the scoreline around. The point at least takes Real level with Hércules in the table.
Cartagena consolidated third spot after a convincing 4-1 win over Girona, and they are mow only six points behind the joint leaders. Matamala actually put the visitors ahead on the half hour mark with a lob from wide out, but De Lucas set up Lafuente to equalise soon afterwards, and the ex Chelsea midfielder scored himself after connecting with Toché's cross five minutes later. And in the second half Lafuente and De Lucas both scored their second goals of the evening to leave their opponents on the brink of the drop zone. Fourth placed Villarreal B were beaten 2-1 though by neighbours Levante, who move level with them in the table. Juanlu gave the locals an early lead, but although Kiko was sent off on the half hour mark for a second bookable offence, Marco Rubén levelled the scores early in the second half. New signing Rafa Jordà came on though to get the winner deep in to injury time.
Rayo Vallecano lose further ground on the leaders after they could only draw 2-2 at Albacete, and they are now seven points of the promotion spots. Antonio Hidalgo opened the scoring for the home side midway through the first half, but goals from Piti and Aganzo early in the second half gave Rayo the lead. Youngster Miguel Nuñez saved a point for Albacete though with an impressive strike near the end. Elche stay a point above Rayo after a 0-0 draw at Huesca. Despite the result both sides had their chances, with keepers Doblas and Caballero the stars of the match. (30.01.10)
Betis moved back up to fourth in table, four points behind Cartagena, after a 0-1 win at neighbours Córdoba on Sunday lunchtime. It was a good start for coach Víctor Fernández, who returned to take over the side after Antonio Tapia was fired last weekend. A big crowd turned up to see new signing Jonathan Pereira give the visitors an early lead after good work by Emaná. And although Rivas was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty minutes to go, top class saves by keeper Goitia from Juanjo and Asen in the final minutes enabled the Sevilla based side to hold on to the three points.
Betis are now level with Numancia, who could only draw 0-0 with Celta later in the evening. The Galicians were still smarting from their midweek cup defeat, but they came away with a point thanks largely to keeper Falcón, who made important saves from Balenziaga and Del Pino late on. Gimnàstic could have moved to within two points of the promotion spots had they been able to hold on to a two goal lead against Murcia, but the visitors came back to win 2-3. A shot from Campano and a Redondo penalty after Mejía handled in the area appeared to have put the Catalans on track for victory. But Natalio headed one back before the break, and Chando and Bruno added two more soon after the restart to give José González's side their second away win of the season.
Salamanca are also under new management after assistant coach Sito took over from his boss Juan Carlos Oliva this week, but his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Cádiz. Enrique opened the scoring for the visitors after Ormazabal set him up in the eleventh minute, but Linares headed the equaliser from Cuéllar's cross later in the first half. Cifu was sent off for a second bookable offence soon after the restart, but after that the locals were unable to break down a well ordered defence. Cádiz climb back out of the drop zone as a result, now six points clear of Real Uníon who picked up a useful point in a score-less draw at Recreativo. New signing Braulio went close for the locals in the first minute, but after that there was little action other than a red card for substitute Barrales in injury time. (31.01.10)