Getafe 4 Sevilla 3
Barcelona are desperate to retain their league title. Real Madrid are desperate to steal it. Mallorca are desperate to qualify for the Champions League and Xerez are desperate to scramble clear of relegation. The majority of the other sixteen teams in La Liga don’t appear overly desperate to achieve anything this season. Neither Valencia nor Atletico Madrid have made the most of their attacking talent, perhaps because their most talented attackers both seem to have been sat in the departure lounge for months.
The malaise suffered by the two Europa League Quarter-Final opponents may be prolonged by the exits of David Villa and Sergio Aguero and if either join Barca or Real, things will get even harder. At least Atletico have Eduardo Salvio waiting in the wings to step into Aguero’s boots. Salvio’s impressive first-half double set up a routine victory over relegation-threatened Tenerife on Sunday evening. All of which leaves Sevilla, who travelled to the outskirts of the capital to face Getafe in the final game of the weekend.
Sevilla carved out a reputation as an exciting, attacking side that relied on good old-fashioned wing play to slice open opposition defences under previous coaches Juande Ramos and Manolo Jimenez. If anything, their problem has been that they rely too heavily on the gifted Jesus Navas and the left-sided Diegos, Capel and Perotti. The new man in the hotseat, the craggy-faced Antonio Alvarez, opted against fielding Capel despite Perotti’s unavailability through injury and it was instead the versatile Brazilian Adriano who lined up on the opposite flank to Navas at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
The Andalusians fell behind on the quarter of an hour mark, moments after Luis Fabiano wasted their opening opportunity by shooting wastefully wide when well-placed. Their hosts, starting the game in eighth position and looking upward, found it all too easy to present lone striker Adrian with a clear sight of goal. Pedro Leon’s probing through ball was too clever for the away side’s defence and Andres Palop could do nothing about Adrian’s close-range finish.
Within the next seven minutes, Getafe had struck both post and bar in search of a second as Sevilla struggled to cope with a confident Adrian. The Real Madrid youth product, who had earlier hit the bar with a header, again found the woodwork with an acrobatic volley. Just shy of the halfway mark in the first period, Miku’s fierce effort was deflected onto Palop’s near post.
The visitors needed to stem the tide of blue shirts swarming forward and, when they eventually did, they turned the game completely on its head. With just over half an hour played, Adriano’s burst of pace in the inside-left position took him to the byline and his perfect cut-back was turned home by compatriot Luis Fabiano. Within another five minutes, the loping Fredi Kanoute dinked Sevilla into an unlikely lead following good work on the right from Navas and Fabiano.
As the game raced towards the interval, any form of defending was becoming a bonus for either side. Adrian was unable to notch his second with Palop exposed while Navas failed to make the most of the resulting counter-attack at the other end. Half time duly arrived with the finishing of Sevilla’s multi-million pound strikeforce proving the difference between the two teams. However, the home side could have been out of sight by the break had they enjoyed better fortune in front of goal and Alvarez’s side knew it.
Sevilla raced out of the traps after the restart with Navas shooting straight at Jordi Codina, who soon denied Adriano from long range. When Fabiano’s free kick located the same bar that Adrian became familiar with in the first period, the visitors had fashioned three chances in the opening three minutes of the half.
On the hour mark, the two sides traded goals as attack continued to take precedence over defence. First, Getafe pulled level when Pedro Leon smuggled his shot underneath the body of Palop when unmarked at the far post. The joy of the home supporters was short-lived, though, after Fabiano restored Sevilla’s lead just moments later. Adriano again provided the ammunition with a deep cross from the left and when Kanoute towered to nod the ball down, Fabiano was there to neatly sidestep two challenges before rifling past a helpless Codina.
More goals seemed inevitable with twenty minutes remaining and Getafe continuing to pile forward at every opportunity on a quest for parity. That inevitability soon became reality when Michel’s exciting outfit crafted a brilliant equaliser for the sixth goal of the game. Left back Mane controlled the ball beautifully over his shoulder and gave it to substitute Manu who exchanged passes with Adrian and fired an unstoppable shot into Palop’s net via a slight deflection.
With time running out for Sevilla to reclaim fourth spot, their twin threat of Fabiano and Kanoute was removed entirely from the action. Alvaro Negredo, without a goal in ten games, replaced Fabiano before former Tottenham striker Kanoute left the pitch without any replacement following his second booking. Alvarez’s side appeared unsure whether to chase victory with ten men or cling onto what may prove a well-earned point. As it happened, that fate was not theirs to decide.
Ninety one and a half minutes gone. Six goals. Any more drama left in the tank? Well, yes. Getafe substitute Dani Parejo bursts into the box, is swept over by the hapless Lolo and wins an undisputable penalty. Parejo himself, formerly of both the Bernabeu and Loftus Road, slots home the spot kick and Sevilla are beaten.
Or are they? Parejo is ordered to re-take his penalty and this time sends it to the other corner away from Palop’s despairing dive to win a thriller for Getafe and condemn Los Nervionenses to an extremely damaging defeat.