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Second Division - Day 18

Second and third placed Rayo Vallecano and Celta kicked off the new year on Sunday lunchtime, with the Galicians beating their promotion rivals 1-3 to move two points above them in the table. Coke cut in from the wing to beat Falcón and give the locals the lead in only the seventh minute. However the visitors turned the scoreline around in the first eight minutes of the second half, Arribas heading a high ball past his own keeper and David Rodríguez latching on to a De Lucas cross to make it two. Falcón had to be at his best after that to stop Rayo from equalising, but with a few minutes left on the clock David Rodríguez connected with another De Lucas assist to wrap things up.

Rayo's neighbours Alcorcón were in action at the same time, and they too lost their match at Granada by 1-0, a fourth defeat in a row for Anquela's side. The last time the two teams met was in the second division B promotion play-offs last season, the Andalusians winning the tie to go up via the fast track. But the visitors were unable to get their revenge, top scorer Geijo netting the only goal with just over an hour on the clock following a cross from Nyom. Both sides had players sent off after that for second bookable offences, first of all Nagore and then Dani Benítez right at the end. Granada took the three points though, and they ended the day holding down the last of the play-off spots.

Later in the afternoon Betis extended their lead at the top of the table to six points after a 1-0 win over Gimnàstic. Visiting keeper Rubén Pérez had to save from Jorge Molina before Mairata brought down the striker near the end of the first half, Emaná stepping up to fire home the resulting penalty. Salva Sevilla brought another good save out of Rubén with a well-struck free kick before the break, but soon after the restart Eloy and Morán both went close as Nàstic fought back. In the end though Emaná and Rubén Castro could have increased the lead, and the Catalans stay at the foot of the table after a seventh game in a row without a win.

Cartagena stay fourth pending Xerez's game on Monday after a 1-1 draw at Girona. The Catalans had not won in their last six games, and they started well with Despotovic going close a couple of times. Víctor and Toché replied for the visitors, but Casilla had to be at his best to keep out Despotovic and Víctor Curto after the restart. Jandro finally beat the visiting keeper with a free kick ten minutes before the final whistle, but Toché equalised a few minutes later to make it 14 points from the East coast side's last six games.

Barcelona Athletic moved up to fifth after a 2-2 draw at Las Palmas. The Canary Islanders took the lead against the run of play when Javi Guerrero ran on to Jorge's pass to beat Masip midway through the first half. Las Palmas keeper Barbosa picked up an injury though with an hour gone, and his replacement Pindado misread Nolito's cross a few minutes later to allow Jonathan Soriano to equalise. Six minutes after that Edu Oriol lobbed the keeper to give Luis Enrique's side the lead, but Samuel headed in a Jonathan Viera corner with three minutes to go to save a point for the locals.

Regional neighbours Villarreal B and Elche stay just outside of the play-off spots after cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw. The visitors went ahead with just under a quarter of an hour on the clock when Palanca got on the end of Xumetra's cross to beat Diego Mariño, but the home side equalised ten minutes later when Marcos Gullón fired a shot past Willy Caballero. Gerard Bordas and Hernán Pérez both missed the target a few minutes later, and after the restart Caballero kept out Gerard, Dervite and Coria to ensure a point for his side.

Numancia moved up in to the top half of the table after a convincing 0-4 win at regional rivals Ponferradina, who themselves drop further down in to the relegation spots as a result. With only eight minutes gone Pepe turned Barkero's corner past his own keeper, and ten minutes later Barkero intercepted a bad clearance by Candela to make it two. Garmendia headed in Cedric's cross for a third midway through the first half, and Jaio wrapped things up with a fourth goal just a minute after the interval. The defeat cost the job of coach José Carlos Granero, who was fired by the club the following day.

Ponferradina are now only a point above Tenerife, who moved off the bottom of the table after drawing 2-2 at Valladolid. A change of manager has not altered the negative run of results for the home side, and although Abel Resino's team went ahead through Oscar González in the eighth minute, Nino took advantage of some slack defending to equalise just two minutes later. Nauzet restored the lead with an impressive free kick later in the first half, but Irome headed another free kick past Justo Villar to square the match with five minutes to go.

Albacete climbed out of the bottom four though after a 1-0 victory over Córdoba. Keepers Keylor Navas and Alberto made sure that the scoreline remained unmoved at the break, and Jonathan Sesma missed a couple of chances after the restart. With just under an hour gone Asen had a goal ruled out for offside after Fragoso had headed against the upright, but a quarter of an hour later the striker got what was to be the only goal of the game against his old side, heading in Zubiaurre's cross to give his team their second single goal win in a row.

Huesca also move away from the danger zone after they beat fellow strugglers Recreativo 0-1. The Andalusians had been distancing themselves from the relegation spots recently after nine games without defeat, but the result means that they are still only a point clear of the bottom four. The visitors were the better side throughout though, Fabricio having to make several saves in the first half and Roberto hitting the post after the restart. Recre were left with ten men for the last quarter of the match after Dani was sent off for a second bookable offence, and substitute Ochoa took advantage to head the winner past the local keeper fifteen minutes from the end. (02.01.11)

Only one game took place on Monday, with Xerez beating promotion rivals Salamanca 2-3 to move up to fourth in the table. Cordero fired the visitors in to the lead in the tenth minute, but two goals in six minutes by Marcos Márquez and Perico midway through the second half turned the scoreline around. A couple of minutes later Sito Castro turned a free kick past his own keeper to level the scores once again though, and although the Andalusians had Redondo sent off for a second bookable offence, Oscar Díaz beat Biel Ribas again later on to give his side their first win in the Helmántico stadium in over 20 years. (03.01.11)