Villarreal won at Getafe's "coliseum" for the first time in five years . A fifth-minute goal from Jérémy Perbet brought home the points, but Jaume Costa and Bojan Jokic both picked up yellows and are ineligible for the Elche match (since I imagine the appeals committee doesn't meet until next week). And to add to that, Gio dos Santos came on as a sub put almost immediately pulled up lame so must be out for Sunday--which makes this win even more important.
This was a match of two halves. In the first, Villarreal dominated play and could have been ahead 3-0 at the break with better finishing--Perbet scored his goal after turning Laporte and beating the keeper to the short side, the assist coming from a pinpoint Jokic pass. He was denied by the keeper on another 1-on-1 and shot over from another good chance with the keeper beaten. Uche and he worked together well, though the ball just never seemed to bounce quite right for the Nigerian--he was a better provider than anything else.
Manu Trigueros looked very good as the attacking part of the doble pivote, and Oliver and Moi offered support from the wings. As for the makeshift back four (Jokic, Pantic, Gabriel, Jaume Costa) they dealt effectively with whatever Getafe threw at them, which in the first half wasn't much. Sammir and Sarabia were dangerous in midfield, and Colunga had one nice cross that Asenjo had to get to, but most of Getafe's offense seemed to consist of hopeful high balls, and their corners and free kicks were dealt with by Asenjo. Had Villarreal scored a second goal in the first half, it would have felt as though this match was over.
The Villarreal supporters present were making more noise than the scant Getafe support--deservedly so.
HT Getafe 0-1 Villarreal
The second half began slowly but turned with Getafe's introduction of Pedro Leon around the 55th minute of the match. Marcelino brought on Gio for Uche, which seemed a good idea given the Mexican should be able to find room to operate in the midfield space left as Getafe pushed forward in search of an equalizer. Unfortunately, the first time a ball was played through to him, it was evident he wasn't running at full speed--so Marcelino had to make a second substitution, Pina coming on for Gio.
This meant Manu Trigueros was pushed up to Gio's spot, and I can only recall one half-chance for Perbet after this happened. Manu dropped deeper and deeper and Perbet was plowing a lonely furrow up front. Cani replaced Oliver to give more experience and defensive bite to that position, and the last 20 minutes were played almost entirely in Villarreal's half.
Pedro Leon was a handful, but fortunately there was no one else to help him. Getafe's defense, which had looked poor in the first half, weren't being tested at all, but in spite of a couple of close calls--one pass/shot cleared off the line, a couple of Leon shots wide of the post--Asenjo really wasn't called on to make any incredible saves. Pantic and Gabriel were able to deal with things reasonably well, and Cani in particular was good at using his experience to win loose balls and while away some valuable seconds.
With 15 minutes left, it looked as though there were only five left because of how deep Villarreal was playing and how little offense they were able to create themselves, but though Getafe won a corner or two, the danger was cleared. Referee Clos Gómez added three minutes of injury time, and the home side really couldn't do much in that time, even with Jérémy Perbet off to bandage a bleeding chin. The match ended with a speculative shot on goal from Cani (probably would have been better if he'd pulled the ball back out to waste time, actually) followed by a long punt upfield Villarreal easily dealt with.
FT Getafe 0-1 Villarreal
One nice half for us where we should have put the game away, followed by one tense half when we had to defend almost all of it, largely due to Gio's injury. I'm not sure if it shows how far down the depth chart Jony has fallen--more likely, it was that we needed to get someone in who was already warmed up, and Pina and Cani were the two available.
Praise for the back four--I'm not sure they would have fared as well against teams with better attacking capability, but they didn't get caught out of position and played with confidence throughout. I'm not sure what else to say about this, other than it was nice to come out on the winning end when we've seen so many matches like this end badly for us.
If Musacchio or Mario Gaspar can return against Elche, it would help. Otherwise, we have Pantic and Gabriel in the middle again, and I have no idea who could play at LB and RB (maybe Aquino, but he's injured too). Well, Marcelino can worry about that one later. For now, celebrate three points. Endavant Villarreal!