Elche have probably done enough to win the first automatic promotion place this season, but the fight for the second automatic promotion spot continues to be ever-changing. Villarreal could have gone second on goal difference but Real Murcia's time-wasting, hacking and negative play denied them a win (see our recap here, and see Marcelino's comments on Real Murcia's tactics here).
Girona continues to surprise--at one point it looked like they were dropping back, but five wins in six, the latest an away win at Racing, see them up to second. Felipe Sanchón scored the only goal of the match in the 64th minute.
The top of the table has one clear leader and a closely bunched group a ways behind, and so too does the bottom. The "leader", if one could call them that, is Xerez, who is eleven points adrift and hasn't won a game since November. Clearly, they are headed out of the Segunda, but which three clubs will join them isn't clear at all. Racing, Herculés and Huesca are all on 35 points. The Alicante club played out a 0-0 draw with Las Palmas that satisfied neither side--the Canarians could've used a home win to close the gap with the top five, and Hercules could have moved out of the relegation zone with a win.
Huesca did help its cause with a wild 4-3 home win over Sabadell, the winner coming from Camacho in the fourth minute of injury time. The big surprise of the weekend, though, had to be at the Anduva ground, where Mirandés defeated Almería 1-0 with a first-half goal from Díaz de Cerio. This win moved the club up to 17th, two points ahead of Real Murcia and three behind Guadalajara, who continue to not quite escape the danger area. A win on this weekend would have helped, but it was not to be, as Sporting dispatched them 3-0 at the Molinon. An early goal from Sangoy settled any nerves, and Bilic and Rodriguez got their names on the scoresheet in the second half, after the visitors were down to ten men.
As for Sporting, it's still a longshot, but six wins in their last eight matches have placed them only six points out of the final playoff spot. A key matchup will come this week, when they travel to Ponferradina, currently three points ahead of them. Realistically they must win there and also at Las Palmas on May 4th to have any chance of cracking the playoffs--the loss last week at Sabadell really hurt--and then they need to defeat a bunch of teams who do have something to play for.
The match between Cordoba and Ponfe was really a fight to stay on the edge of the promotion race or continue to have any interest in the season (take your pick), and Ponfe survived with an 83rd minute goal from Yuri to close the gap on Las Palmas to three points. I don't see them succeeding, but Claudio Barragán has done an excellent job with a team no one expected to do well this season.
This is the time of year when clubs who clearly aren't going up or down often mail it in, so it's worth looking at the remaining schedules for those clubs. Lugo has to play Almeria, Girona and Villarreal; Sabadell faces Alcorcón the last weekend of the season, and Numancia plays Almeria yet. Barcelona B play Alcorcón, Girona and Villarreal near the end of the season, and RM Castilla play Alcorcón and Girona the last two weeks. Hard to see a clear advantage for one team in all of that.
Lugo 0-1 Alcorcon
Recre 1-3 Real Madrid Castilla
Numancia 0-1 Barcelona B
Elche 2-1 Xerez