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Second Division - Day 36

Valladolid kept up their push for the play-off spots, and they moved up to sixth in the table after beating Barcelona Athletic 2-1 in the Friday night game. Visiting coach Luis Enrique was missing several of his key players, called up by Guardiola for first team duty, but even so they could have taken the lead when top scorer Jonathan Soriano hit the bar on the half hour mark. Six minutes after the restart though Javi Guerra headed in Nauzet's cross to open the scoring, and Nauzet should have added a second when he fired a penalty kick against the post after Marc Bartra brought him down in the area. Soon afterwards though the visitors equalised, Baraja heading Carmona's free kick past his own keeper Javi Jiménez trying to clear, and although Carmona was sent off for a second booking soon afterwards, Jiménez had to be at his best to keep out the Barcelona forwards after that. However with the game in injury time Javi Guerra headed his second of the night from Barragán's centre, taking his side to within two points of their opponents in the table. (29.04.11)

Betis are closer than ever to a return to the top flight after a 4-1 victory over Numancia on Saturday evening. The Andalusians were under some pressure early on before Rubén Castro put them ahead in the tenth minute, and at half time scores were level after Nano headed in a corner. Just a minute or so after the restart though Jonathan Pereira restored the lead with an individualist effort, and Castro took advantage of a hesitant defence to score a third midway through the second half. And with a quarter of an hour to go the ex Deportivo striker got on the end of a Miguel Lopes cross to complete his hat-trick and ensure his side top spot for another week.

Pepe Mel's side are now eleven points clear of third place after Celta were held to a 1-1 draw at Las Palmas. Jorge opened the scoring for the Canary Islanders in the sixth minute with an impressive shot from outside of the area. However Murillo tested Barbosa with a long shot, and with the first half coming to an end De Lucas equalised with a free kick which Javi Guerrero headed in to his own net. Both sides had chances after the break, Quioga and Viera for the home team and Michu and De Lucas for the visitors, but after local midfielder Vicente Gómez was sent off for a second bookable offence, everyone decided to call it a day.

Fifth placed Elche missed out on a chance to move further up the table after they were beaten 5-4 by Salamanca in a thrilling match earlier in the evening. Juanjo got on the end of an Edu Bedía free kick to put the locals in front midway through the first half, but assists from David Sánchez and Cristóbal set up Angel to score twice in the next ten minutes. Moratón levelled the scores again before the break from another Bedía free kick, but two goals in four minutes around the hour mark by Sánchez and Perera appeared to have given the visitors the three points. However substitute Kike López set up Toti to pull one back, and Moratón and Kike got two more later on to keep alive Salamanca's hopes of survival.

With six games to go the play-off spots are still wide open, and Cartagena are now two points away after beating struggling Albacete 1-2. The rainy conditions made play difficult, but Tato put the Manchegans ahead in the fifth minute after a slip by Cygan. Toché equalised on the half hour mark though, beating Keylor Navas at the third attempt. And shortly after Sousa had a second half goal disallowed for a borderline offside, Toché combined with Víctor for the veteran striker to score the winner.

Xerez are just a point behind Cartagena after they too came from a goal down to beat bottom club Ponferradina 1-2. Luis Prieto hit the bar for the locals before Saizar flicked in Yuri's cross with his heel to open the scoring four minutes before half time. But two goals from Mario Bermejo in the second half, the first after a defensive mix-up and the second with a header, left Claudio Barragán's team 15 points away from safety.

Recreativo are not out of the running for the play-offs either after a 2-1 victory over neighbours Córdoba. The Andalusians were down in the nether regions for much of the season, but a run of twelve games without defeat has taken them to within a point of Xerez. They started badly however, Charles connecting with Richy's pass to put the visitors in front in only the third minute. But Dani headed the equaliser after Juan Villar set him up on the hour mark, and with the game already in injury time Usero turned Villar's cross in to his own net to hand the three points to the home side.

Recre move level on points with Alcorcón, who were beaten 0-1 by Huesca. Both sides had chances in the first half, in particular Víctor Pérez and Tariq for the visitors and Borja and Quini for the home side. But with a quarter of an hour to go substitute Roberto beat Raúl Moreno with a shot from outside of the area, giving the Aragón based team a win which takes them to within two points of their opponents in the table.

Further down the rankings Gimnàstic kept up their four point advantage over Salamanca and the relegation spots after beating Villarreal B 0-2. Powel had a goal ruled out for offside before the break, but the game appeared to be heading for a draw when the ball hit Jaume Costa on the arm, the referee awarding a penalty and sending off the midfielder after showing him a second yellow card. Felipe Sanchón converted the spot kick, and in the third minute of injury time Miki finished things off with a second goal after Alvaro Rey set him up. (30.04.11)

Rayo Vallecano look like joining Betis in the first division after a 1-3 victory at Girona on Sunday lunchtime too them eleven points clear of third spot. The Catalans led at half time though against the run of play when Serra headed in a corner, and they could have gone further ahead when Jandro struck the bar with a free kick after the restart. Twenty minutes in to the second half though Susaeta equalised with a well-struck free kick, and Juli set up Delibasic for a second goal a few minutes later. The locals pushed forward looking for a point which could keep them in touch with the play-off spots, but Armenteros wrapped things up in the last minute after connecting with a pass from Delibasic.

Later in the day Granada pushed up to fifth in the table after beating Tenerife 2-1. As in many matches this weekend, the Andalusians had to turn over an adverse result, the visitors taking the lead in the seventh minute when Pablo Sicilia headed in a Julio Alvarez free kick. Midway through the second half though Ighalo levelled the scores, beating Aragoneses with an angled shot. And with the Canary Islanders down to ten men after Melli was given a second booking, David Prieto turned Nyon's cross past his own keeper to leave David Amaral's team in next to bottom spot, fourteen points adrift of safety. (01.05.11)