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Second Division - Day 41

An exciting penultimate weekend in the second division, with many issues still unresolved coming in to the last day. One thing that is clear however is that Deportivo will be joining Eibar in the top flight next season after Fernando Vázquez’s side beat Jaén 1-0. The Galicians were all but mathematically sure of an immediate return to the first division after last weekend’s games, but with half an hour on the clock Marchena got what was to prove the only goal of the game after René could only push out Ifrán’s free kick. Celebrations from a crowd of over 34,000, although they will be hoping that this time their team will stay up after their failure just two seasons ago to consolidate their position. Eibar stay in top spot though after they beat Lugo 1-0 in a festive Ipurúa stadium, the Basque side having ensured their place in La Liga history last weekend. Jota Peleteiro got the goal in the seventh minute after an individualist run, and they closed shop again after that to make sure of the three points.

The four teams who will be taking part in the play-offs for the third promotion place are still totally unknown however, with six clubs still in contention. Murcia have the edge at the moment after a 0-1 win at Tenerife, Kike García scoring the only goal after Saúl put him through with less than a minute gone. Nano and Aridane wasted chances to equalize, and the Canary Islanders are out of the running for promotion after a sixth defeat in a row, all curiously by the same scoreline. Sporting Gijón are now a point behind Murcia after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Zaragoza. The locals just needed a point to be safe for another year, and they took the lead five minutes before the break, visiting keeper Cuéllar gifting the ball to Roger for him to score in to an empty net. However with three minutes to go Cuéllar’s opposite number Oscar Whalley (who was making his first team debut) allowed a header by Bernardo through his legs, keeping up the Asturians’ unbeaten record under caretaker coach Abelardo.

Las Palmas, Córdoba and Recreativo are all tied on points just below the Asturians, the first two currently occupying the play-off spots on a three-way head-to-head computation. Las Palmas have been losing momentum recently though, coach Sergio Lobera surprisingly being fired last weekend after two defeats in a row, with youth team coach Josico taking over as caretaker. That didn’t change things however, and the Canary Islanders fell to a 2-0 defeat at Mallorca, who themselves are on to their third manager this season after dropping alarmingly close to the relegation spots. Both goals came after the break, Nsue heading in Martí’s corner soon after the restart, and Hemed picking up an Alfaro pass before beating Barbosa on the hour mark, giving their team a first win in ten games. Meanwhile Recreativo and Córdoba cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw, Monesse saving a point for the locals in the fifth minute of injury time after Dávila had given the visitors the lead with just over half an hour gone. Earlier in the second half Morcillo had missed a penalty for the Huelva based side.

Sabadell still have an outside chance of the play-offs despite a 2-1defeat at Real Madrid Castilla which left them two points adrift of the rest, but they host Recreativo in the last match, hoping for a win and a slip-up from one of the teams above them. The youngsters started (and ended) the game just a point above the drop zone, and they clocked up a vital win thanks to substitute Alvaro Medrán, who came on a quarter of an hour in to the second half and immediately scored two goals, the first a shot which hit a defender and looped over keeper Nauzet, and the second a low shot from the edge of the area. Llorente got one back for the Catalans, but too late to change the result. Alcorcón’s late push to reach the top six has come to an end though after they lost 4-3 to Barcelona B. With five players called up for Spain’s under 19 squad, Eusebio had to put out a makeshift line up, and they appeared to have paid the price when Oscar Plano and Dani Pacheco put the visitors two up at the break. However Dongou got one back after the interval, and Edu Bedía scored two more, the first a direct free kick, to turn the scoreline around. Dongou got himself sent off though for a hard tackle on an opponent, and Juli levelled it from the penalty spot with three minutes to go, but Babunski got the winner with the match already in time added on.

Further down the table, victories for the bottom five sides meant that three of the four relegation places will be decided on the last day between no less than eight teams. However Hércules are now down even though they won 0-1 at Mirandés, Sardinero’s strike with twenty minutes to go not able to save a disastrous season by the Alicante based side. Meanwhile Jaén’s defeat at Deportivo dragged them back down in to the bottom four, where they find themselves level on points with Alavés and Girona. Alavés kept their hopes alive with a 3-1 win against Numancia, Guzmán putting them ahead before the break, and Manu García and Viguera (with a penalty) adding two more soon after the restart. Juanma was sent off in the penalty incident for bringing down Guzmán, and although Julio Alvarez got one back with a free kick which Jarosik deflected in to his own net the result was never in doubt. Girona though were close to relegation until a late goal by Ortuño gave them a 1-2 win at Ponferradina. The striker had opened the scoring for the Catalans with a header from Timor’s free kick early on, but an equalizer by Berrocal with twenty minutes to go silenced the crowd before Ortuño struck again. All of that has set up a nerve-wracking last weekend, and with Castilla, Mallorca, Mirandés, Ponferradina and Lugo all still not safe as well, next Saturday evening will not be for the faint of heart! (31.05.14)