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Second Division - Day 38

Betis virtually made sure of promotion after a 3-1 victory over Tenerife on Wednesday evening. Depending on Thursday's results they could already be there, but if not it is surely now a question of days given a 15 point gap over Celta pending their match tomorrow. Within twenty minutes they were already two up, Rubén Castro converting a third minute penalty after Pablo Sicilia brought him down in the area, and Salva Sevilla got the second after Jorge Molina set him up. A quarter of an hour later Julio Alvarez got one back, and only a couple of good saves from Casto prevented the Canary Islanders from equalising. But with the first half coming to a close Sergio Aragoneses let a cross from Isidoro through his hands, and it was all over. Tenerife now need a miracle to prevent a second relegation in two years.

Barcelona Athletic stay third after drawing 2-2 at Ponferradina, a result which confirms the home side's return to the second division B. Saizar headed the locals in to the lead before the break, but six minutes after the restart Jonathan Soriano made it all square with a shot from outside of the area. Yuri restored the lead from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Abraham soon afterwards, but Edu Oriol levelled the scores again a few minutes later, and Nolito could have won it for Luis Enrique's side late on had he been able to find the target.

Barça B are not eligible for the play-offs, but Valladolid are well on track for a punt at the last promotion spot after thrashing Córdoba 5-1. Jordi headed in Jofre's corner in only the third minute, and although Matabuena turned Oriol Riera's cross past his own keeper a few minutes later, Oscar restored the lead with an impressive shot from outside of the area. And by half time the match was all but over, Nafti making it three with a low shot and Oscar intercepting a bad back pass to lob Alberto García for his side's fourth. Javi Guerra completed the scoring after the break, but by then Córdoba had given up the fight.

Albacete will be going down with Ponferradina for the first time in 21 years after losing 1-2 to Numancia. Coach Mario Simón included six home-grown players in his line up, but they were pushed back from the start, and went behind in the 27th minute when Del Pino beat Navas after an assist by Barkero. Tato levelled the scores with a quarter of an hour to go after good work by Perico, but five minutes later Gonzalo turned Sunny's cross past his own keeper to hand three points to the Soria based side, who are now sure of staying up.

With Tenerife also on the brink of relegation, only one place is left to be filled. Gimnàstic are one of the candidates for that spot, and they could find themselves in the bottom four at the end of the midweek round of games after a 1-0 defeat at Recreativo. Alex Ortíz actually got the ball in the net for the Catalans midway through the first half only to see his header ruled out for a dubious offside, and a few minutes later Aarón picked up a pass from Asen to beat Rubén Pérez and win the match for the Andalusians. (11.05.11)

Rayo Vallecano still have a bit of work to do in their last four games after losing 1-2 to Elche on Thursday evening, although with a nine point gap over the teams below them they are still pretty sure of going up. Sandoval's side went behind in the fifth minute thanks to a hotly disputed penalty after Amaya held back Mantecón, Edu Albacar converting the kick. Juli hit the post a few minutes later, but before the half time whistle Angel put the visitors two up after connecting with a cross from Xumetra. Piti rattled the woodwork again early in the second half before crossing in for Delibasic to head one back, but Trejo missed a last minute penalty which would have saved a point for his side.

The win takes Elche to fourth, just behind Granada on goal difference after the Andalusians beat Huesca 2-0. The locals dominate the first half, with Orellana and Abel hitting the post and Cabrero having to make several saves. An injury left them without top scorer Geijo late in the first half, but with ten minutes to go his replacement Ighalo opened the scoring from Nyom's cross, and Carlos Calvo made sure of the three points in injury time with a header from a Dani Benítez centre.

Celta drop down to sixth though after they were held to a 1-1 draw at struggling Salamanca. Both sides really needed a victory, the Galicians to ensure their place in the play-offs and their hosts to climb out of the relegation spots. An early headed goal by Perico from Juanpa's cross temporarily took Salamanca above Nàstic in the table, but a minute after the restart they were back in the bottom four after Iago Aspas beat Biel Ribas with a well struck free kick.

Celta are still looking good for the play-offs though after their closest challengers Xerez lost 4-2 at Girona. Pablo Redondo opened the scoring for the Andalusians in the third minute after José Marí's shot came back off the post, and although Dorca levelled the scores following a corner a few minutes later, Redondo restored the lead before half time with his second of the evening. Two from Despotovic and one in between from Chechu in the last half hour swung things in favour of the Catalans though, and they are still in with a chance of reaching the play-offs after drawing level with their opponents in the table.

Alcorcón are just a point behind the two as well after a 1-4 victory at Villarreal B. The visitors went three up with just over half an hour on the clock, Fernando Sales opening the scoring on a quick counter-attack and Montañés and Mora both beating Diego Mariño a few minutes later. Marcos Gullon got one back though three minutes later following a corner, and Iago Falqué had a chance to close the gap further when Angel was sent off for a second bookable offence after handling in the area five minutes before the break. However Eladio saved his spot kick, and a couple of minutes later Borja wrapped things up with his sides fourth. Numbers evened up after Dutra was also sent off early in the second half, and with Villarreal B now only five points above the drop zone, coach Javi Gracia was sacked shortly after the game finished.

Cartagena's push for the play-off spots took a set back this Thursday, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Las Palmas leaving them level with Alcorcón and seven points behind Valladolid. The Canary Islanders took the lead in the eighth minute when Quiroga turned in Quero's cross. The visitors had several chances after that, but a second goal from Pollo with ten minutes to go put the locals further ahead, and Barbosa put paid to any hopes of a comeback when he saved a late penalty from Toché. (12.05.11)