Villarreal posted their first victory in over a month, defeating Getafe 2-1 at El Madrigal with goals from Mario Gaspar and Gerard Moreno, with Mehdi Lacen netting for the visitors. The first 20 minutes or so of the match were pretty tame, but then Villarreal began to play better. Denis Cheryshev was a constant threat down his side, though he left his shooting boots in the dressing room, firing over the net several times.
Villarreal's first goal came from Mario Gaspar, who made a fine overlapping run inside the box, Luciano Vietto fed him with an excellent pass, and Guaita had no chance in the Getafe net, Mario roofing it for the goal. Five minutes later the speed of Villarreal's attack had the Getafe defense all at sea; Cheryshev found Gerard Moreno, whose touch almost put the ball too far away for him to finish--but not quite.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half were fairly uneventful, but then the Villarreal defense found itself stretched totally out of shape, and Sammir found Lacen at the top of the box; his grass-cutter slipped just inside Asenjo's far post. Perhaps he could have done more, but the real problem was no one closed down the player with the ball.
With Bruno and Gio out, Marcelino made the subs one would have expected--Cani for Cheryshev, Jonathan dos Santos for Trigueros, Uche for Gerard--but for the most part none of them had any real impact, just provided fresh legs and a willingness to scrap for the ball. Villarreal's last real goalscoring opportunity came with just under 20 minutes to go, Trigueros passing to an offside Vietto when he should have shot instead.
After that, it was pretty much all hands to the pumps on defense; Getafe was good at quickly recovering possession and passing in midfield; Asenjo had to make one excellent save after a Jonathan dos Santos turnover, Yoda blazed over with the goal potentially at his mercy, and a goal-bound shot from Michel fortunately didn't make it past one of his own players. Mario dispossessed Sammir as the Croatian player tried to cut inside for one last shot.
With this win, Villarreal move to 18 points from 12 matches and look ahead to an away match at colista Cordoba next Sunday--a long trip, but to be honest a team we should beat. And then there is the matter of a Europa League encounter with Borussia Munchengladbach on Thursday. Somehow Marcelino needs to figure out how to control the ball and easily finish out matches with a lead--we didn't at Espanyol, we did--barely--today.
Getafe are improved from last year, I think; midtable seems about right for them, I think they can avoid relegation easily enough.
Man of the match for Villarreal: Mario Gaspar.