Villarreal had not scored in four matches in La Liga. And a typically sleepy first half in the Asian Sunday lunchtime kickoff did nothing to change that. With Luciano Vietto in Vila-real, Denis Cheryshev on the bench, and Bruno Soriano still on the mend, it was up to one of the Yellow Submarine's less-heralded players to take the bull by the horns. 0-0 at HT.
Credit to Ikechukwu Uche - he did just that. Early in the second half, with a clever bit of dribbling, the Nigerian striker earned Villarreal's second penalty of the La Liga campaign. And without the aforementioned trio of prime penalty takers, Uche stepped to the spot and converted. 0-1 in 51'.
With Eric Bailly on a yellow card (and already suspended for the next match), manager Marcelino García Toral decided to reinforce the backline with his first substitution - on came Mateo Musacchio. Marce then replaced goal scorer Uche with Giovani dos Santos in an attempt to stem the home side's momentum. But one minute later, Getafe found an equalizer through poor marking and a nice finish from Diego Castro. No chance for Sergio Asenjo. 1-1 in 63'.
And then followed the news of the afternoon with a quarter-hour remaining. In what appeared to be a non-contact injury, Musacchio's left ankle turned in a highly unnatural direction, and immediately he cried out for help. So did the Getafe and Villarreal players in the vicinity. The freshly-minted Argentine international left the pitch on a stretcher and was immediately taken to a Madrid hospital - apparently the bone and blood were visible. Marcelino confirmed after the match that surgery is required, and recovery will be a long process.
Denis Cheryshev had just returned from injury in place of Moi Gómez, so Marce had no changes left. Villarreal finished the match on 10 men, and given all that had occurred, the point away was not so bad. 1-1 at FT.
So the Yellow Submarine will be without another top player for Córdoba's visit to El Madrigal next Sunday afternoon. Málaga remains five points in arrears for the final European spot, and the boquerones visit the Bernabéu next. Next week is as important as it gets for the rest of the 2014-15 campaign for Villarreal.