Halloween Nightmare at El Madrigal: Villarreal 0, Getafe 2

Another defensive mixup involving Musacchio leads to early disaster - Valerio Pennicino

On a day when a victory would've pulled us well ahead of the pursuing pack, and given us lots of momentum coming off our big derby win, the roof caves in on the Submarine. Villarreal commit another defensive error resulting in a goal, have a man sent off before halftime (again), and lose 2-0. Bilbao all over again, sort of.

Football is a crazy game, and the best team on the day doesn't always win.  Not many goals are scored (well, except for Real Madrid-Sevilla yesterday) so mistakes that allow goals are magnified--and so it was today.

Villarreal was on the back foot in the first few minutes, conceding four corners as Getafe pressed high to keep us from starting our quick attacks.  But it wasn't any of these corners that resulted in a goal, but a communication mixup between Asenjo and Musacchio on a speculative ball floated into our half.  Asenjo failed to clear it and Cyprian Marica slid in to score into an empty net after only five minutes.

Villarreal responded to that with some good sustained pressure, but though Aquino and Cani saw a lot of the ball, the final pass to free up Gio or Jérémy Perbet just wasn't there.  The Submarine wasn't getting many good looks--Cani for some reason passed when he should have shot at one point, and our best chance to score came when Gio directed a shot just wide of the far post with Moya beaten.  There was also a strange incident when a Getafe defender toe-poked the ball away from an onrushing Gio and Moya picked it up.  Getafe lined most of their XI on the goal line and from the indirect free kick we had two shots saved.  Somewhere in here, Moya made a fine save and a defender cleared a Gio followup shot off the line.

It seemed though as if there was surely going to be an equalizer--but then, we lost the ball and Getafe's Gavilan steamed forward.  Iñiguez took him down outside the box and earned a red card as last man.  The referee got a lot of calls wrong in this game, but that wasn't one--it was clearly correct. So, 39 minutes in, a goal down and a man down.

HT Villarreal 0-1 Getafe

We didn't have much luck in a lot of ways.  Marcelino's first change was to bring on Chechu Dorado for Aquino, which made sense, but within six minutes Dorado came up lame and Manu Trigueros, who probably would have come on soon anyway for Cani or Bruno, had to replace him, with Bruno playing center back in a revamped back four.

Playing a man down, we controlled play, but just couldn't put shots on target.  And Getafe were very good at fouling whenever they could in the middle of the park to stop our attacks.  They received three cards, I think, but it should have easily been double that.  In fact, Alexis and Lago were lucky to stay on the pitch in my view.

Uche came on for Perbet in the 66th minute; the Frenchman was disappointing today, really, and while Uche won some freekicks and ran hard, his only chance on goal--from a nice pullback by Gio--missed the net, the Nigerian not being able to get his balance before whacking a hurried shot.

For awhile during all this huffing and puffing it seemed like maybe we would score and even things up, but between our overpassing, Getafe's fouling, and our inability to trouble Moya with anything really difficult to stop, it never happened.  As injury time neared Getafe broke up a pass and went forward on a four-on-one attack, and Bruno couldn't stop the ball being played into the path of Sarabia who finished us off with a smart strike into the net.  Asenjo had saved a one-on-one from Diego Castro earlier in the half to keep us in it, but he had no chance on this one.

FT Villarreal 0-2 Getafe

Football isn't always fair.  If we played this match 10 times we'd probably win six of them, to be honest.

But even when we were 11-on-11 and pushing, there were problems. For a start, we won a lot of corner kicks but never really threatened on any of them.  And this was a lot like Betis--the referee let Getafe get away with lots of physical play, and we just don't have an answer for that.  We rely on speed and precision passing to overcome our physical weaknesses, but if the passes aren't there and/or we are not able to make quick dangerous counterattacks--and especially if we go a goal down and the other team puts 8 or 9 men behind the ball--we have a tough time.

And our defense, which had looked pretty good, has now made key unforced errors resluting in goals in two of our last three matches.

I don't think we played terribly well--Perbet was disappointing, the fullbacks didn't offer that much offensive help, Cani's passing was well below his usual standard.  Still, if we'd been able to even things up before Iniguez's sending off, I think we could (and should) have won this.

I guess the only good news is that since the league committee isn't meeting to review suspensions, Iñiguez will be able to play against Elche--and he'll have to, if Dorado can't go.  But that is very small consolation for throwing away an opportunity to consolidate our claim to be one of the better teams in the league.  Sempre Endavant!

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