Second Division - Day 36

Mallorca and Alavés cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw on Saturday which left the islanders just a couple of points above the drop zone, and their opponents still second in the table. Neither side had won since the first weekend of April, but if anything the locals had the better chances, with Oscar Díaz hitting the post and Ortuño bringing the save of the game out of Fernando Pacheco in the second half. Mallorca ended the match with ten men though after Joan Oriol was sent off for a lunging tackle in injury time. Osasuna are back up to third place pending Sunday’s games, three points behind Alavés, after a 0-1 victory over promotion rivals Alcorcón. The goal when it came was somewhat comical, Dejené’s back pass mid-way through the first half bobbling past keeper Dmitrovic, whose attempted kick completely missed the ball. His opposite number Nauzet had to pull off a string of saves after that though, in particular from Collantes and Máyor, to ensure the three points.

The other two games on Saturday involved sides in the lower reaches of the table, Huesca distancing themselves from the relegation spots with a 3-1 victory over Llagostera, who themselves are now seven points away from safety. The Aragón based side scored all their goals in the first half an hour, Machís starting things off in the first minute after connecting with a cross from Alexander González. Iñigo López headed two in as many minutes from Fran Mérida corners, and José Carlos got a late consolation for the Catalans with a shot which deflected in off Carlos David. Huesca move two points above Mallorca and also Almería, who lost 2-0 at Numancia. The visitors had been unbeaten in ten games, but Unai Medina put the locals ahead with an individualist effort in the twentieth minute, and Alex Alegría headed the second from a Julio Alvarez free kick at the start of the second half. It was a second win in a row for the Soria based team, and they move up safely to mid-table as a result. (30.04.16)

The battle for promotion is as tight as ever in the second division, but with six games remaining, two of the newly promoted sides currently occupy the third and fourth places in the table. Nàstic moved back up to third after they beat Mirandés 3-2, a first victory in five games for the Catalans. The visitors struck first however, Aridane getting on the end of Sangalli centre to beat Manolo Reina midway through the first half, but a few minutes later Alain Ayarzun was sent off for a second bookable offence, and four minutes after the restart Aburjania connected with a Valentín cross to level the scores. With twenty minutes to go Naranjo scored two in quick succession, the first a header from a Mossa centre and the second after the defence gave the ball away, and although Néstor Salinas converted a last minute penalty after Reina brought down Alex García in the area, the goal came too late to change the result. Nàstic move to within two points of Alavés, one above Oviedo, who won 1-0 against promotion rivals Córdoba in this Sunday’s mid-day game. Josete latched on to a loose ball following a corner to open the scoring in the twelfth minute, but Héctor Verdés was sent off for the fourth time this season soon after the break, and only a series of first class saves from Rubén Miño secured the three points.

Oviedo are level in the table with Osasuna and with Zaragoza, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Ponferradina in the last match of the evening. Caretaker coach Rubén Vega was in charge of the locals for the first time after Fabri was sacked, and he saw his side take the lead through Acorán in the seventieth minute. Up to that point both teams had had chances, but with eight minutes to go Angel made it all square to leave the hosts still down in the relegation zone. Girona are now just a point below the play-off spots after they beat Tenerife 1-0, ending a run of ten matches without defeat for the Canary Islanders. The Catalans have a better record than anyone though in the second half of the season, and they won it thanks to a goal by Lekic on the hour mark, the Serbian striker deflecting Aday’s shot past Dani Hernández from a clearly offside position which the referee didn’t spot.

The other two fixtures on Sunday both ended in 1-1 draws, Elche remaining two points outside of the top six after sharing the points with struggling Albacete, who themselves ended the day seven points away from safety. Héctor hit the bar for the locals at the start of the second half, and with twenty minutes to go substitute Pelayo headed them in to the lead from a corner. However Mandi was sent off soon afterwards for head-butting Víctor Curto, and Curto himself beat Javi Jiménez near the end to save a point for the Manchegans. Valladolid and Lugo also drew 1-1 on Sunday evening, a first point for local coach Alberto López, who took over from Miguel Angel Portugal a few days ago. The Galicians had the better chances, and midway through the second half Joselu put them in front following a Campillo assist. However the home side were awarded a last minute penalty after Caballero handled in the area, and although José Juan saved Tiba’s spot kick, Roger knocked in the rebound to keep his team seven points above the drop zone. (01.05.16)

Leganés extended their lead at the top of the table to four points after they came from behind to beat Bilbao Athletic 1-2 on Monday evening. Santamaría got the opener for the Basque side in the eleventh minute after Serantes saved a couple of previous efforts. However Szymanowski made it all square after an individualist run some ten minutes in to the second half, and soon afterwards the Argentinian midfielder swung in a corner which Gabriel headed past Remiro for the winner. The defeat leaves the hosts firmly anchored to the bottom of the table, now twelve points away from the safety zone, and they are already looking odds-on candidates to go down. Leganés though (who have never played in the top flight) go from strength to strength, and they will be hoping to return to the San Mamés stadium next season to face Athletic’s first team rather than their reserves! (02.05.16)