Second Division - Day 40

Real Sociedad are just a couple of points away from returning to the first division after a 1-3 win at Cádiz, and they could even have been mathematically sure of promotion had Betis not won later in the evening. The hero of the evening was Carlos Bueno, who scored the first of his three goals from Griezmann's free kick in the twelfth minute. The Andalusians needed the points to move away from the danger zone, but although they put their opponents under pressure, they went further behind soon after the restart when Bueno took advantage of a mistake by keeper Dani to put the visitors two up. The Uruguayan striker headed in his hat-trick a few minutes later, and Ogbeche's late free kick was scant consolation for the locals.

All eyes were then on the Ruíz de Lopera stadium, where Betis had to win against Numancia to have any realistic chance of promotion. Gonzalo Arconada's young side more than held their own in the first half, Víctor Andrés failing to beat Goitia and Diego Antón feeling himself unlucky not to be awarded a penalty. But Víctor Fernández's half time pep talk revitalised the locals, visiting keeper Jesús having to make saves from Arzu and Juanma before Pavone finally beat him with a header from Caffa's cross with twenty minutes to go. And substitute Jonathan Pereira made it 2-0 in the last minute to take the Andalusians up to third pending Sunday's clash between Cartagena and Hércules.

The other six games on Saturday all involved teams involved in the relegation struggle, and with only three points separating nine sides pending Sunday's games we are in for a nail-biting last two weekends. Salamanca kicked off the weekend with a 1-2 victory at already relegated Castellón, All the goals came after the break, Salva Sevilla hitting the post with a free kick before Alvaro opened the scoring for Jorge D'Alessandro's side with a shot from outside of the area. Kike added a second with a quarter of an hour to go, and Ulloa got one back from the penalty spot after Murillo fouled Bleda inside the area.

Salamanca move on to 48 points, level with Gimnàstic who were beaten 3-1 by Celta. The Galicians started the day just a point ahead of their opponents in the table, and they took the lead though Iago Aspas early on. Michu got a second in controversial circumstances, the referee waving away claims for a foul on keeper Rubén Pérez after the striker clashed with him before rolling the ball in to an empty net. Jorge reduced the gap for the visitors five minutes before the interval, but Michu made sure of the result, scoring his second of the evening past substitute keeper Pascual six minutes after the restart.

Nàstic have now only picked up one point in six games, and if they can't beat Elche next weekend, their last game at Las Palmas may be decisive. The Canary Islanders were beaten 0-1 by the Catalan side's neighbours Girona, who themselves now look safe after moving three points above their opponents in the table. Peragón got the only goal of the game after getting on the end of Moha's cross in the eighteenth minute, but the locals could have equalised before the break had Javi Guerrero's effort not come back off the post. Dorca and Miguel García both hit the woodwork at each end after the restart, and visiting keeper Jorquera made sure of the result with a late save from Guerrero.

Murcia are now only two points behind Salamanca, Nástic and Las Palmas in the table after a 1-2 win at Elche. Dani Aquino started things off for the visitors five minutes before half time after picking up Capdevila's pass, and the young striker almost scored a second a couple of minutes later. Perera levelled the scores just three minutes in to the second half after the defence failed to clear a loose ball, but Chando restored the lead with a quarter of an hour from a possible offside position to go to end any hopes that Elche had of promotion. Murcia host Las Palmas next weekend, and a victory in that game could see them on the way to safety.

José González's team are in a three way tie with Huesca and Albacete for the last two relegation spots, and although Murcia have the better general goal difference, Huesca have the edge on a consolidated head-to-head basis. The Aragón based side saved a point on Saturday in a last minute 1-1 draw at Villarreal B, Camacho equalising in the second minute of injury time after keeper Juan Carlos dropped the ball at his feet. Marco Rubén had headed in Cristóbal's cross to put the locals in front ten minutes before the break, and the striker could have wrapped things up when he hit the bar later in the second half. Huesca move to within a point of Cádiz, who will be visiting the Alcoráz stadium next weekend.

Albacete are back in trouble though after a 1-3 home defeat to Recreativo. The visitors needed a point or so to be sure of staying up, and they took the lead in only the first minute after Carmona got behind the defence to score. Stuani made it all square from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Gallardo on the half hour mark. But substitute Pablo Sánchez put the Andalusians back ahead after the restart, and Fidel rounded things off with a third goal for his team in the last minute. It was a second defeat in a row for David Vidal's side, and they really need a result against Girona next weekend before a tricky final day visit to Cartagena. (05.06.10)

Second placed Levante were surprisingly beaten 2-1 on Sunday evening by struggling Real Unión, although a draw between Cartagena and Hércules later in the evening means they are still well on track for promotion. Juan Domínguez beat Reina to open the scoring for the locals in only the eighth minute, and Seguro added the second for the Basque side with seven minutes to go. Xisco headed one back for the visitors in injury time, but it was too late to save the day. The result means that Real Unión join Albacete, Huesca and Murcia in a four-way tie for the last three relegation spots, with Albacete currently out of the drop zone on a joint head-to-head basis. With two games to go, even eleventh placed Girona are not safe yet.

Cartagena and Hércules drew 0-0 in the last match of the weekend, a result which left both sides two points adrift of third placed Betis. Tiago Gomes and Danciulescu went close for the visitors before the break, and Falcón headed a De Lucas free kick against the bar for the locals after the restart, but in the end keepers Rubén and Calatayud remained unbeaten. Hércules were the happier of the two though with the result, and with a favourable head-to-head record against all the teams above them, and with Betis and Levante due to meet on the last day, victories in their last two games against Rayo Vallecano and Real Unión will see them promoted.

Rayo Vallecano themselves are fairly sure of staying up after a 3-2 win over Córdoba earlier in the day. The Madrid based side started the day two points behind their rivals, but Jofre gave them an early lead after Rubén Castro and Angel combined to set him up. Asen equalised from the penalty spot after Pellegrin fouled Richy midway through the first half, but Susaeta put the locals back in front before the break. Five minutes after the restart Pellegrin's clearance hit Arteaga on the back and ballooned over Dani in to the net, but soon afterwards Coke got what was to prove the winner following a corner. (06.06.10)


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