Ünal gives Getafe another glimpse of safety

After a 1-0 defeat to Espanyol on Sunday, Getafe found themselves staring at the prospect of spending next season in the second tier of Spanish football for the first time in seven years. Getafe began Wednesday evening’s encounter in the relegation zone, two points adrift of safety. Their opposition, Celta Vigo, entered the match eight points above the La Liga trapdoor – though they were also on the losing end last weekend following a 3-1 defeat at European qualification hopefuls Villarreal. 

On the back of their defeat at the Estadio de la Cerámica, Celta Vigo manager Carlos Carvalhal recalled top-scorer Iago Aspas and influential midfielder Gabri Veiga – who has contributed nine league goals of his own this season – back into the Sky Blues’ starting XI. Carvalhal’s counterpart, Quique Sánchez Flores, made wholesale changes to Gefate’s starting team sheet, most notably a double change at the heart of the defence with Djené and Stefan Mitrović recalled to the 11.

GET: Soria; Djené, Mitrović, Iglesias, Álvarez; Suárez, Maksimović, Arambarri, Aleñá; Mata, Ünal

CEL: Villar; Mallo, Núñez, Galán, Aidoo; Vázquez, Veiga, Beltrán, Cervi; Aspas, Strand Larsen

With three points a must for relegation-threatened Getafe with only six matches left this season, the hosts got off to an unbelievable start almost immediately from kick-off. Enes Ünal was bundled to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez turf by Fran Beltrán’s clumsy foul, which gave referee Mario Melero López no choice but to point to the penalty spot. The Turkish forward stepped up to give his side the lead after only three minutes, firing the ball into the left-hand corner despite Iván Villar getting both hands to the ball.

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With so much still arguably at stake for both teams, tempers began to flare as the game approached the half-hour mark, with López handing out deserved cautions to Joseph Aidoo and Damián Suárez within the space of three minutes. However, with scoring opportunities going amiss following the game’s opening goal, Getafe once again threatened Villar’s goal towards the end of the opening half as Juan Iglesias’ effort forced the Sky Blues’ number one into a smart save.

After recording only one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, Carvalhal turned to his substitutes’ bench, with Luca de la Torre and Benfica loanee Haris Seferovic thrown into the fray. However, Getafe had the first opportunity in front of goal of the second half shortly before the hour-mark, as Jaime Mata saw his close-range strike saved by the legs of Villar. With time running out to find a late equaliser, Celta’s task was made more difficult as Aidoo was shown a second yellow card, and subsequently ordered to take an early shower by referee López for a reckless challenge on goalscorer Ünal.

Substitute Munir El Haddadi was inches away from securing a valuable three points for Getafe five minutes from full-time, as his fearsome strike struck the crossbar before agonisingly bouncing millimetres away from being given as a goal.

However, Getafe held on to secure a valuable victory that leaves Flores’ side in the relegation zone on goal difference alone ahead of a daunting journey to the Spanish capital to face defending La Liga champions Real Madrid on Saturday evening.