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Second Division - Day 24

Celta will be spending the next 24 hours at least in the direct promotion spots after a 4-1 victory over Recreativo in the Friday night game. It didn't look like going that way in the first half though, Recre going in at the break a goal up after Pablo Sánchez beat Sergio Alvarez at the second attempt shortly before the half time whistle. It had been a rare attack by the Andalusians however, and ten minutes after the restart the scores were level when Manolo Martínez turned a De Lucas cross past his own keeper. Soon afterwards Iago Aspas intercepted a bad Córcoles back pass to round Manu and score, and in the last couple of minutes Orellana and Aspas added two more, the first a lob over the keeper from Toni's centre, and the second after Orellana played back a cross from the right wing. (10.02.12)

Valladolid's run of twelve games without defeat came to an end when they lost 2-0 at Córdoba on Saturday evening, Djukic's side losing out on second spot to Celta as a result. The "Califas" are only just outside of the play-off spots themselves, and visiting keeper Jaime did well to push a shot from López Silva on to the post in the opening minutes. Oscar was unable to beat Alberto García at the other end a few minutes later, and with just over half an hour gone Patiño opened the scoring for the locals with a shot on the turn past Jaime. López Silva hit the post again after the restart, and with twenty minutes to go Borja García wrapped things up with a shot from outside of the area.

Earlier in the day Elche kept up their push for promotion with a 0-2 victory at Murcia. Molinero blocked a shot from Palanca and then brought a good save out of Juan Carlos, but that was about all the home team could muster. With eight minutes to go to the break Rúper gave the visitors the lead with a shot inside the post from the edge of the area. And José Bordalás's side had the better of the second half before Generelo scored his side's second after good work by Xumetra down the wing. The result leaves Elche in fourth spot, now ten points ahead of their opponents in the table.

Five points now separate seventh placed Córdoba from eight placed Alcorcón, who kept their hopes of a play-off spot alive with a 2-0 win over Huesca. The early chances fell to the visitors, Vázquez heading wide and Camacho coming up against Manu Herrera. But the intense cold in Madrid slowed things down after that, and chances were few and far between until well into the second half. With ten minutes to go though Babín headed a Rubén Sánz corner past Luis García to give the locals the lead, and in the final minute Saúl picked up an assist from Oriol Riera to complete the scoring with a low shot from close to goal.

Barcelona B are just a point behind Alcorcón after a convincing 4-0 victory over Cartagena. With just two minutes on the clock Deulofeu put the youngsters ahead with a shot in off the crossbar from wide on the right, and Muniesa poked in the second close to half time after Reina could only push out Deulofeu's free kick and Rodri played the rebound on. The visitors were left with ten men when Mariano Sánchez picked up a second yellow card midway through the second half, and Rafinha and Deulofeu added two more right at the end, the first after battling past a couple of defenders, and the second with another shot which he forced past Reina from right of goal.

Numancia drop below Barça on goal difference after drawing 1-1 at bottom club Gimnàstic. Once again the Catalans were the better side without taking their chances, although they went ahead on the half hour mark when Pavon turned Peragón's cross in to his own net. Ten minutes from the end however Del Pino scrambled the ball past Rubén Pérez following a wide free kick, and Arzu could have won it for the locals had he been able to find the net with a header from a corner shortly before the final whistle. A disappointing result for Jorge D'Alessandro's side though, and with less than half the season to go, time is slowly running out for them.

Nàstic's regional neighbours Sabadell are recovering after their recent bad run though, and a 3-1 win over Villarreal B left them safely in mid-table. All the goals came after the break, Héctor Simón scoring the opener after Oscar Ramírez laid the ball back from right of the area. Lanzarote scored the second on the hour mark, curling a low free kick around the defensive wall, and Baha fought his way past Kiko to score the third for the Catalans with six minutes left. Baha could have had another when he hit the bar soon afterwards, and Manu Trigueros got a late consolation for the visitors with a well struck free kick near the end. Villarreal B ended with ten men when Lucas Porcar picked up a second yellow card in injury time.

Las Palmas are now a point below Sabadell in the table after a 2-0 defeat at Alcoyano, who themselves are now six points above the drop zone thanks to their win. Following a dull first half most of the action came after the interval, Barbosa saving from Wellington Silva and Juanpa heading against the bar in reply. Alcoyano's new signing David Torres put the locals ahead though on a quick counter-attack a quarter of an hour in to the second half shortly after Pignol was sent off for a second bookable offence, and ten minutes later Alvaro made sure of the three points with a second goal after Gato put him through.

Xerez also distanced themselves from the danger zone after a much needed 1-2 victory at Guadalajara. Iñigo Vélez opened the scoring for the Andalusians with an overhead kick somewhat against the run of play in the seventh minute, and Saizar had to be at his best to stop Redondo from scoring a second a few minutes later. Javi Soria equalised with a well struck free kick later on in the first half though, and Robusté had to clear off the line from Iván Moreno with the keeper beaten. However Lombán headed the winner from Redondo's corner a quarter of an hour from the end, and Vicente Moreno's side held on for the three points despite having José Vega sent off for a second yellow card a couple of minutes after the goal. (11.02.12)

Second division leaders Deportivo took another big step towards a quick return to the first division after a 1-4 victory over direct promotion rivals Hércules on Sunday lunchtime, thereby opening up a gap of five points over regional neighbours Celta. Riki opened the scoring for the Galicians in the twentieth minute after Valerón set him up, and Bruno Gama made it two later in the first half following a failed clearance by Peña. Mandiá's half time talk had a temporary effect, Urko Vera getting one back seven minutes after the restart, and visiting keeper Aranzubia having some work to do after that. But with four minutes to go Salomao made it three with a shot from the edge of the area, and with the game in injury time Riki got his second of the game on a quick counter-attack. A record eighth win in a row for José Luis Oltra's side, and they must now be favourites for the second division title.

Later in the day Almería put in their claim for a promotion spot with a 0-1 win at struggling Girona. The cold, windy conditions made play difficult, and the only real chance in the first half was a shot by Goiria which Esteban kept out. Goitom and Ulloa finally tested Dani Mallo a couple of times midway through the second half, and with twelve minutes to go Juanma Ortíz got what was to prove the only goal of the game after Rafita set him up. It was the prodigal son's second match winner in a row after returning from Glasgow Rangers this winter, and his side are now up to fourth, just a point off the direct promotion places. The defeat leaves Girona in joint bottom spot after only picking up one point from their last five games. (12.02.12)