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Second Division - Day 20

Celta are once more up to second in the table after beating bottom club Gimnàstic 1-0 on Friday night. Both sides had chances in a lively first half, Rubén Pérez saving from De Lucas and David Rodríguez, and Powel, Longás and Morán going close at the other end for the Catalans. Ten minutes after the restart though Roberto Lago got free of his marker to head in a De Lucas cross, and although debutant Orbegozo had the best chance to equalise for Nàstic in the last minute, he fired his shot straight at Joel. (13.01.12)

Leaders Elche were surprisingly beaten 1-2 by neighbours Alcoyano on Saturday, although with closest rivals Deportivo and Hércules playing on Sunday they ended the day in top spot. Visiting keeper Maestro and his defence kept out the local attacks for the first hour or so, and with a quarter of an hour to go Alvaro intercepted Luque's pass and ran on to beat Juan Carlos at the second attempt. Elche threw everything forward, but they were caught out again by another rapid counter-attack five minutes later, Alvaro lobbing the keeper for his second of the match. Soon afterwards Alcoyano were left with ten men when Cañadas picked up a second booking, but although Nicki Bille connected with Palanca's cross to get one back, it was too late to change the result.

Valladolid missed out on a chance to overtake Elche though after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Alcorcón. Víctor Pérez appeared to have put Djukic's side on track for a win with a spectacular goal from all of 40 metres out in the seventh minute. But just a couple of minutes later Jaime brought down Fernando Sales in the area, and the referee had no option but to award a penalty and send off the local keeper. Quini fired a soft penalty right at substitute keeper Dani, but with ten men the locals were forced back, and with twenty minutes to go Miguélez got the inevitable equaliser with a low shot from the edge of the area. After that though the effects of the midweek cup match slowed the visitors down, and Valladolid held on for a point which takes them momentarily up to third.

Córdoba also paid the price of their gruelling cup tie at Espanyol, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Murcia leaving them outside the top six. They were up against it though from the fifth minute, when Prieto was sent off for giving away a penalty on Cristian García. The Argentinian forward fired his spot kick against the bar, but ten minutes later he made up for the miss with an assist for Emilio Sánchez to open the scoring ten minutes later, and five minutes before the break Richi headed the second from Molinero's cross. Patiño replied for the Andalusians early in the second half, and numbers were evened up when Emilio Sánchez picked up a second yellow card, but Murcia closed up shop to ensure three points which takes them just one behind their opponents in the table.

Earlier in the afternoon Almería beat Guadalajara 4-0 to move above Córdoba to sixth place. Ulloa had a goal ruled out in the second minute before getting on the end of Aleix Vidal's cross to open the scoring midway through the first half. Ten minutes later the Argentinian forward scored his second of the afternoon from the penalty spot after Gaffoor brought down Goitom in the area, and Goitom himself made it three with twenty minutes to go after Ulloa set him up. And six minutes after that Ulloa completed his hat-trick with an easy tap-in from Vidal's centre to make it five games without defeat for Lucas Alcaraz's side.

The top eight opened up a five point gap on the rest pending Sunday's games, with Las Palmas back up to ninth after a 3-1 victory over Barcelona B. Quiroga finished off a quick passing move in the seventh minute to put the Canary Islanders ahead, and although Jonathan Soriano equalised ten minutes before half time following a good run by Tello, David García got on the end of Viera's corner to head the locals back in front soon after the restart. And Javi Guerrero turned in Quiroga's cross midway through the second half to give his side their first win in four games, taking them three points above Eusebio's team in the table.

Recreativo are up to eleventh spot, just a point behind Las Palmas, after a 3-0 win over struggling Girona. With half an hour on the clock the Andalusians were already two up, Santamaría unable to stop a fierce shot from Javi Álamo, and Pablo Sánchez heading in Álamo's cross a few minutes later. Sergi Enrich and Benja hit the crossbar at either end before the break, but despite having Matamala sent off later on in the second half for a second booking, Juan Villar wrapped things up for the locals in the last minute. The defeat leaves Girona in next to bottom spot, and coach Raúl Agné may soon be on his way.

Cartagena move a point above Girona in the table after a 0-0 draw at Villarreal B. Chances were few and far between, Lucas Porcar shooting over the top for the locals early on, and the visitors not even approaching Jorge's goal until close to half time. Airam went close a couple of times for the home team soon after the interval, and twenty minutes in to the second half visiting keeper Reina was sent off for handling outside of the area. Even so Julio Velázquez's side were unable to score, and they ended the day just two points above their opponents in the rankings. (14.01.12)

Deportivo are the new leaders of the second division after a 0-2 victory at Huesca on Sunday lunchtime, the sixth team to have that honour this season. The Galicians went in front in the eighth minute when Colotto headed in a Guardado free kick. But after that the locals had the better chances, Ochoa going close in the first half, and Tariq hitting the bar soon after the break with keeper Aranzubia beaten. Referee Arias López turned down penalty appeals for hands by Zé Castro and a possible foul by Aranzubia on Jokin, and José Luis Oltra finally turned to Riki to help him out. It proved to be the master stroke, the striker testing Luis García a couple of times before finally beating him in the last minute to wrap things up.

Later in the day Hércules had a chance to draw level with Depor at the top of the table. However they were beaten 2-1 by Xerez, and had to make do with fifth place by the end of the weekend. All the goals came in the first half, Cordero putting the Andalusians ahead with just under quarter of an hour gone following good work by Capi. Four minutes later Urko Vera headed the equaliser past Doblas, but Israel restored the lead before the break on a quick counter-attack, again with Capi playing a big part in the build up. Any chance that Hércules had of a comeback ended when Sergio Alejandro and then Diego Rivas were both sent off later on in the second half, and Xerez ran down the clock to ensure a win which keeps them five points clear of the drop zone.

Numancia rounded off the weekend with a 2-1 victory over Sabadell which took them up to ninth in the table. The visitors had been plummeting down the table recently after eleven games without a win, but they got off to a good start when Baha took advantage of slack defending to open the scoring in only the fourth minute. A couple of minutes later though Bedoya levelled the scores, and two minutes after that Sabadell were left with ten men when Baha picked up a second yellow card. The ten men held their ground though until twelve minutes from the end, when Lago Junior beat De Navas to sink the Catalans further down in the table. (15.01.12)