Second Division - Day 23

Real Sociedad moved back to the top of the table pending Sunday's games despite a 1-1 draw at struggling Murcia, the third game in a row they have failed to win. Carlos Bueno gave the Basque side the lead after a good team move on the hour mark, but Labaka put through his own net trying to clear a corner a few minutes later. Villarreal B ended the day a point away from the promotion spots after beating Córdoba 4-0. Despite losing coach Juan Carlos Garrido to the first team midweek, the youngsters kept up their push on the leaders, Gerard Bordas opening the scoring and then setting up Matilla for the second within the first half hour. Cristóbal added the third after the restart, and Carlos Tomás wrapped things up following a corner.

Numancia stay level with Villarreal B though after a 0-1 victory at Elche. The locals missed several good chances before the break, but Barkero beat Caballero with a long shot just a couple of minutes after the restart to take the three points. Gimnàstic are a point behind the Soria based side after a 0-2 victory against regional rivals Girona. José Marí headed the first midway through the first half, and Miguel Angel got the second from the penalty spot after José fouled Fachan late on. The game was marred though by another serious injury to Curro Torres, who snapped his Achilles tendon in the pre-match warm up. The Spanish international full back was making his come-back after another long injury lay-off. (06.02.10)

Neither of the top two could win for the second weekend in a row, Hércules staying level with Real Sociedad after a 1-1 draw at Betis on Sunday lunchtime. Sergio García gave Víctor Fernández's side the lead after Emaná set him up midway through the first half, but Farinós beat Goitia with an impressive shot with an hour on the clock to level the score. The game ended in controversy though after Abraham Paz was sent off in the fourth minute of injury time. Nacho got the ball in the net after the resulting free kick was deflected to him, but the referee had already blown the final whistle, and Emaná was also shown a red card at the end for insulting the official. Betis stay three points outside of the promotion zone pending the evening matches.

Cartagena are up to within four points of the joint leaders after a 2-3 win at Rayo Vallecano later in the evening. The visitors went two up, Lafuente opening the scoring midway through the first half, and Toché having a penalty saved by Cobeño but beating the keeper with an acrobatic shot a couple of minutes later. Before the break however Rayo were level, Arribas heading one back and Tito equalising after Rubén Castro's shot came back off the post. Quero also rattled the woodwork before the interval, but Txiki headed Cartagena back in front following a corner after the restart. The visitors had new signing Juan Carlos Moreno sent off, and Rubén Castro hit the bar again before the final whistle. The defeat though leaves the home side nine points below their opponents, and coach Pepe Mel may soon be on his way.

Levante are up to fourth in the table, level with Villarreal B and Numancia and four points behind Cartagena, after a 2-4 victory at Cádiz. Rubén opened the scoring for the visitors and Héctor made it two with a header from a corner before the break. Xisco was sent off though a minute after the restart and Toedtli got one back from the penalty spot soon afterwards, and although Juanlu restored the two goal lead, he too got himself sent for a second bookable offence after taking off his shirt to celebrate the goal. Toedtli got his second of the evening, but Rafa Jordà came on to wrap things up late on.

Down in the lower reaches, Real Unión kept their hopes of salvation alive after beating Albacete 2-1. Gorka Brit gave them the lead ten minutes before the break following Romo's quick free kick, but Belencoso headed the equaliser soon afterwards. Juan Domínguez put the locals back in front though after the restart, and they held on despite having Goikoetxea and Domínguez sent off in the last five minutes. The Basque side stay three points above bottom club Castellón, who could only draw 0-0 against Recreativo. The home side had the better chances, but visiting keeper Guaita had an inspired evening.

The other two matches on Sunday evening also ended without goals. Celta stay three points above the drop zone after they drew 0-0 at Salamanca. The closest anyone came to scoring was when Joselu hit the post, but Eusebio's side have still not won at home since the start of the new year. Huesca stay level with Celta after they came away from Las Palmas with a goal-less draw. The Canary Islanders have not won in their own stadium for three months or so, but they came up against on on-form Doblas, and when he was beaten Saúl's cross-come-shot came back off the bar. (07.02.10)