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Second Division - Day 34

A mighty battle for promotion in the second division this year, with Sporting Gijón and Girona getting the edge over Las Palmas on Saturday evening. The three teams were tied on points for second spot, but wins for the first two left the Canary Islanders in fourth place pending Sunday’s games. Sporting beat Alavés 1-0, Guerrero getting the only goal after Hugo Fraile set him up with ten minutes to go. It was a close thing though, Manu García going close early on for the visitors and local keeper Cuéllar having to save from Barreiro before the break, and Sergio, Carmona and Pablo Pérez replying for the Asturians. Girona meanwhile came from behind to beat Leganés 2-1, Chuli giving the visitors the lead on a quick breakaway some seven minutes in to the second half. Mata got on the end of Granell’s cross to level the scores soon afterwards however, and with twenty minutes to go he put Sandaza through to score the winner.

Las Palmas though were beaten 2-1 by Mirandés, who move up safely to mid-table as a result of their win. Pedro Martín gave the locals the lead after cutting in from the left wing to beat Casto from an almost impossible angle with just over a quarter of an hour gone. Araujo equalized though after a corner was played back into the area some five minutes in to the second half, but Martín deflected a wayward Juanjo shot past the keeper with twenty minutes to go to give his side their first victory in five matches. The top five still have a big gap over the rest, Ponferradina moving up to sixth pending Zaragoza’s game on Sunday after a 1-0 win over Osasuna. The only goal came in the seventeenth minute, Acorán picking up Sobrino’s through ball to run on and fire an angled shot past Riesgo. After that though the visiting keeper was hardly tested, and only a string of saves by Kepa from Torres, Nino and others ensured the three points for the home side.

Osasuna have now only picked up three points from their last twelve games (eight of which under caretaker coach Mateo), and they drop into the bottom four after Racing Santander beat Lugo 1-0 later in the evening. The Cantabrians had the better chances, Sylla going close in the first half and Quique and Alvaro hitting the woodwork after the break, and midway through the second half David Concha got what was to prove the only goal after José Juan could only push out a shot from Alvaro. Even if they can escape the bottom four though Racing could still be relegated if they can’t solve their serious financial problems by the end of the season, and the same applies to Albacete, who moved eight points clear of the relegation zone after a 3-1 win over Recreativo (themselves also in the middle of a financial crisis). Samu gave the Manchegans an early lead after Menosse brought him down in the area, and Diego Jímenez was sent off for a second bookable offence shortly before Keko made it two, the midfielder turning the ball past Rubén Gálvez after the keeper pushed out Samu’s cross. The ten men rallied however, substitute Antonio Domínguez getting one back on the hour mark, and there were some nervous moments for the home fans before Rubén Cruz headed in Keko’s cross to wrap things up with four minutes to go. (18.04.15)

Betis maintain their six point lead at the top of the table after an impressive 4-0 victory over Zaragoza in the Sunday mid-day game. Pedro hit the outside of the posts for the visitors early on, but with just under half an hour on the clock Jorge Molina controlled a Dani Ceballos cross to beat Bono and open the scoring. The visiting keeper pushed a Rubén Castro header onto the post a few minutes later, but Borja and Jaime both had strikes ruled out by the referee either side of half time, and some six minutes after the interval Castro got on the end of a Molinero cross to head in the second. Twelve minutes later Molina got his second of the day after Castro set him up, and Castro himself also got his name on the scoresheet once again, following up after Rico turned Vadillo’s cross against his own post with two minutes to go for his 22nd of the season. (19.04.15)

The goals dried up on Sunday afternoon though, with only one scored between the four matches. That was by Numancia, who beat bottom club Barcelona B 1-0 to move to within six points of the play-off spots. Gaffoor headed the only goal from a Julio Alvarez corner midway through the first half, but local keeper Munir (not to be confused with his namesake in the Barça B line up) had to make important saves from Sandro, Halilovic and Dongou to ensure the three points. The Catalans are now five points away from safety though having gone ten games without a win. Meanwhile Valladolid stay in fifth spot after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Sabadell. Rubi’s side had the better chances throughout, Oscar González having an early strike ruled out for a dubious offside and Roger hitting the post, and Hernán Pérez going close a number of times. Even after André Leao was sent off for a hard tackle on an opponent with half an hour to go the locals kept pushing forwards, but Nauzet and his defence held fast for a point which extends their unbeaten record to seven games, and takes them to within two points of escaping the drop zone.

Alcorcón and Mallorca also drew 0-0, a result which left the locals in the bottom half of the table and the islanders four points below them, just two places off the relegation zone. Both had been in poor form recently, the Madrid based side having only won one of their last ten home games, and the visitors having only picked up one point out of fifteen, and the first real effort at either goal didn’t come until five minutes into the second half, when Guichón fired a shot over the crossbar. Sergio Mora and Oscar Plano did test visiting keeper Cabrero later on, but the best either team got out of this match was a point to add to their respective tallies. No goals either in the game between Tenerife and Llagostera later in the evening, the Catalans happier with a result which keeps them within four points of the play-off spots after an eleventh match without defeat. The Canary Islanders had more opportunities to score, Ifrán and Carlos Ruíz hitting the woodwork in the second half and René keeping out Abdon, Suso and Ifrán, but his opposite number Dani Hernández had to make key saves from Sergio León and Alcalá near the end to save a point which keeps his team six above the bottom four. (19.04.15)