Saturday, 25 December 2010

Feliz Navidad from Getafe Escocia

Getafe Escocia would like to wish you and yours a pleasant and merry Christmas, and a fulfilling and prosperous New Year.

Needless to say the blog wishes the same of everyone at Getafe CF.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Copa del Rey: Real Betis 1-2 Getafe

0-1 Miku 27'
0-2 Pedro Ríos 35'
1-2 Jorge Molina (pen.) 87'

Narrow first leg advantage hard won in Andalucía
... Miku and Pedro Ríos continue their hot streaks into the year's end...

Getafe took a huge leap towards the Copa del Rey round of 16 with a 2-1 win at Real Betis.

The Madrid side thus ended 2010 with yet another consecutive win and a good performance, spoiled only by the concession of a late penalty.

Miku opened the scoring just before the half-hour after stabbing home from a corner following Iván Marcano's flick-on.

Pedro Ríos, perhaps Geta's player of the season so far, then netted a deserved second on the counter with a brilliantly placed strike from 20 yards out.

Getafe were well in control but surrendered a late goal when Miguel Torres needlessly brought down Ezequiel Calvente with a clumsy challenge. Jorge Molina beat Oscar Ustari with ease to keep the tie alive ahead of the second leg in Getafe in early January.

The winners of this encounter will meet either Barcelona or Athletic Bilbao in the next stage. The Blaugrana could only manage a 0-0 draw at home in their first leg.

Real Betis: Casto; Isidoro, Beleguer, Chechu Dorado, Fernando Vega; Salva Sevilla, Arzu (Ezequiel 46'), Beñat (Juande 68'), Israel (Rodri 61'); Rubén Castro, Jorge Molina.

Getafe: Ustari; Miguel Torres, Rafa, Marcano, Mané; Boateng, Parejo; Pedro Ríos (Casquero 82'), Manu del Moral (Arizmendi 64'), Gavilán (Víctor Sánchez 76'); Miku.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The strange case of Míchel

The fickle nature of football and its supporters is well known, but no more comprehensible for that. After all, has Getafe coach Míchel really changed over the past five weeks? Was a man deemed by some of the national media to be incapable of arresting his team's decline really a hero-in-waiting all along? Or is it the case that Míchel has done what he's always done, and that instead his players have risen to the challenge?

It's impossible to tell, but there are some things we know about the coach who's gone from sack-race favourite to hot property in just one short month. Unfortunately, it's the case that the more we know, the less we understand.

Míchel is not a friendly man. He is gruff, even combative at times, and he has made it abundantly plain on a number of occasions that he is no badge-kisser. When Getafe released his son, Adrián, from playing duty during the summer, Míchel told the press that the president would not have done this if he was not Adrián's father. In numerous interviews he has described, perhaps even made light of, Getafe's status as a small club with a tiny band of quietly fuming fans. Other coaches may opt to make the underdog status of their team a mark of pride: for Míchel it is instead a point for frustration, maybe even contempt.

Yet at the same time the man who seldom leaves any critical thought unspoken has crafted a remarkable team spirit at the Coliseum. When Getafe pulled off that ostensibly job-saving 3-1 win at Sevilla, the players rushed as one to their coach to celebrate. Weeks later, with a fourth consecutive league win on the board at Almería, the same scenes repeated themselves. A coach who apparently has little time for anyone but himself has, paradoxically, won the hearts and minds of his playing staff in a way that perhaps no Getafe coach since the Segunda days has truly managed. (This isn't to downplay the contributions of the likes of Schuster or Laudrup a bit - rather to say that, despite their successes, they never quite managed the almost Spartan adulation we see between players and coach now.)

Míchel's contract is up in June. Five weeks ago, this short deal meant for cheap compensation upon termination, and thus the likelihood of Míchel's being out of work long before that. Now, of course, it means that those clubs in Spain and elsewhere eyeing a change of coach can add another name to their shortlist. Will he extend his contract? That's doubtful. He has made no secret of the fact that Getafe is a stepping stone. In true Míchel fashion, what he says is abundantly true, yet it is still strange to hear it from a coach: Getafe are a selling club who can only ever go so far, regardless of who is in charge. Míchel may well be the man to take Getafe to their glass ceiling this year, but one imagines that if a better offer comes his way he will not hesitate to up sticks rather than take another crack at Europe. Clubs as diverse as Atlético Madrid, Deportivo, maybe even Sevilla could have their eye on the coach: each offers a unique challenge and greater potential than the Coliseum has to offer.

The worry, then, is that if Míchel leaves, his stars will go with him. After a rocky start he's managed to compensate for the departures of both Roberto Soldado and Pedro León, but it's the lot of the selling club that they may have to rebuild all over again come summer. This time, though, it will most likely be a different man charged with coaching the new-look squad. The new boss may well smile at press conferences, pander to the fans and the president, and otherwise comport himself with the dignity and character befitting a modest team's coach. But will he manage 3-1 wins at Sevilla? Ten-man victories against Villarreal? Will he have eleven men surround him with embraces and cheers at full-time in a regular league match? We'll see. And as for Míchel, if he can build this kind of spirit in a squad larger and more star-studded than Getafe's, his is a seriously bright future in coaching.

Jornada 16: Almería 2-3 Getafe

1-0 Kalu Uche 7'
2-0 Ulloa 24'
2-1 Manu del Moral 29'
2-2 Miku 48'
2-3 Boateng 70'

Stunning Getafe fightback ensures fourth consecutive Liga win
Azulones to finish the weekend no lower than seventh

Getafe pulled off a remarkable 3-2 win at Almería on Sunday afternoon, picking up all three points despite being two goals down midway through the first half.

The Madrid side's spirit and technical proficiency was clearly evident from the half-hour mark onwards, with some excellent attacking play both out wide and through the middle being on display.

Coach Míchel - who as recently as a month ago was said to be fearing for his job - must now be considered some of Spain's hottest property after his charges propelled themselves to sixth place in the standings as of full time, with Atlético Madrid still to play.

Things seemed to be going the way of the relegation-threatened hosts when after seven minutes Kalu Uche - brother of former Getafe striker Ikechukwu - opened the scoring. The Nigerian was left unmarked in the middle of the box to head home Albert Crusat's floated cross from the left wing.

Leo Ulloa doubled the hosts' tally shortly afterwards with a tap-in following a goalmouth scramble in which the visitors failed to clear their lines.

Geta skipper Manu del Moral halved the deficit mere minutes later with a great solo effort from inside the box. The former Atleti forward broke through the corner of the area before sweeping a narrow-angled shot past Diego Alves into the far post.

From here Getafe went on to dominate, playing some of their best football of the season so far. The only surprise was that it took them so long to equalise. The vital leveler came just after the break, on-form Miku firing the ball through Alves' legs after Pedro Ríos' original effort was blocked.

The whole team was singing by this point and it fell to one of the impressive midfielders - Derek Boateng - to finish the job. Twenty minutes from time the Ghanaian scored a typically cool goal with a back-heel following Manu's excellent cut-back.

Almería poured forward in the final minutes but in fact the best chance fell to Pedro Ríos, who perhaps selfishly opted to shoot after a defensive error from the hosts gifted him the chance to slide the ball to the unmarked Miku.

Either way, every man in a blue shirt today can be proud of his performance. So too can those in suits and tracksuits: not for nothing did Boateng immediately rush to embrace coach Míchel upon scoring the winner.

Almería: Diego Alves; Juanma Ortiz, Carlos García, Acasiete, Jakobsen; Piatti, Mbami, Corona (Valeri 61), Crusat (José Ortiz 72); Ulloa, Kalu Uche.

Getafe: Codina; Miguel Torres, Rafa, Marcano, Mané; Boateng, Parejo (Casquero 85); Pedro Ríos (Arizmendi 90), Manu, Gavilán (Víctor Sánchez 78); Miku.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Europa League: Getafe 1-0 Young Boys

1-0 Adrían Sardinero 15'

Geta's good form continues with narrow win over Swiss
Meaningless fixture with poor crowd, but a positive result

1,200 fans at the freezing Coliseum Alfonso Pérez witnessed Getafe pull off an impressive win over Young Boys of Bern in their final Europa League appearance of the season.

To read too much into the result would be an error, given that Getafe were already eliminated and the Swiss already through, but a starting line-up containing two reserve players asserted its dominance over the course of the 90 minutes.

Of the four rookies that appeared - two enjoyed substitute appearances - the best by far was Adrián Sardinero, and the 20-year-old forward from Leganés scored his first European goal of his career and the only one of the match in the 15th minute. It was largely a solo effort down the left flank and a confident finish that was the better of Marco Wölfli.

It wouldn't be Getafe if there wasn't a downside to the evening: as well as the pitiful crowd - perhaps understandably, socios could not be lured to the Coliseum by free tickets - influential defender Cata Díaz went off injured just before half time.

Still, what has been a disappointing European campaign has ended overall on a pleasant note, and now the priority is La Liga. Getafe travel to Almería this weekend in pursuit of what would be a record-breaking fourth consecutive top-flight win.

Getafe: Ustari, Pintos, Kas (Miguel Torres 71), Cata Diaz (Alex 40), Cañas; Arizmendi (Escassi 56), Casquero, Mosquera, Albín; Colunga, Adrián Sardinero.
Young Boys: Wölfli; Sutter, Nef, Affolter, Spycher (Raimondi 57); Costanzo, Doubai, Hochstrasser (C. Schneuwly 57); Degen (M. Schneuwly 73), Mayuka, Lulic.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Europa League Preview: Getafe - BSC Young Boys

Europa League Group Stage: Matchday 6
Thursday December 16, 21:05 CET
Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Getafe

Getafe's paymasters can expect to see a record low crowd on Thursday night as the Azulones welcome Young Boys of Bern to Madrid for a meaningless Europa League encounter.

With just a few UEFA euros to play for neither side has anything at stake in this fixture. Young Boys have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League in second place, while Getafe were eliminated by a late equaliser from OB Odense a fortnight ago.

Thus it'll be a cold occasion at the Coliseum, but one in which each coach may experiment a bit with his line-up.

Neither side is yet to name their squad but we know for sure that Jemal Ammar is suspended, while for Getafe left-back Mané suffers a similar fate. Meanwhile Javier Arizmendi and Mario are both out injured.

Europa League
Group H @ 5 Games

1. Stuttgart (12pts)
2. Young Boys (9pts)
3. Getafe (4pts)
4. OB (4pts)
It is almost certain that influential players from each team will take a much-needed break, and from Getafe's perspective this could allow fringe men to shine. Adrián Sardinero, the reserve forward, has been knocking on the first team door for some time, while Pedro Mosquera, Ibrahim Kas and Pablo Pintos may yet earn the first team opportunities that they so crave.

Geta have won their last three league games and will for reasons of momentum look to take a positive result here, but at this point coach Míchel will know that Europe is not worth worrying about. The fans, long since irritated by expensive tickets, know this too, and thus Young Boys are unlikely to be too impressed by the atmosphere on Thursday night.

The Swiss are eight points off the top in their own domestic competition heading into their winter break: this will be their last competitive match until February and thus they have not the squad concerns that Getafe currently suffer. As such expect boss Vladimir Petkovic to select a strong line-up and seek to end 2010 on a high note.

Probable line-ups:

Getafe: Ustari; Pintos, Kas, Victor Sánchez, Miguel Torres; Pedro Ríos, Pedro Mosquera, Casquero, Gavilán; Albín, Sardinero.
Young Boys: Bürki; Sutter, Nef, Affolter, Spycher; T. Doubai, Hochstrasser; Degen, Costanzo, Lulic; Mayuka.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Jornada 15: Getafe 1-0 Villarreal

1-0 Albín 89'

Nine-man Geta leave Yellow Submarine stranded
Cata Díaz and goal hero Juan Ángel Albín to serve suspensions

Getafe made it three Liga wins in a row with a heroic victory over Villarreal in a match that saw the hosts end the game with just nine men.

Although both sides were wasteful, Geta deserved the victory in the end, adjusting well to their losing stalwart centre-back Cata Díaz just before the break, while Vilarreal's profligacy - especially at set-pieces - meant that they got from the fixture their just deserts.

Villarreal had the best of the early stages but failed to make too many clear cut opportunities in an opening period that seemed set to lead to a dull 0-0. But just before half-time Getafe were reduced to ten men as Cata Díaz slid in on Nilmar on the edge of the area.

The Brazilian was in full flight and the chasing Argentine was a split-second too late to make contact with the ball: it was a clear foul, but it was open to interpretation as to whether or not it was a clear goalscoring opportunity. Referee Paradas Romero decided that it was and gave Díaz his marching orders, Miku also entering the book for dissent.

The second half was arguably scrappier than the first, but Getafe, playing on the counter, looked active and energetic in the closing stages, and perhaps deserved to take the lead just two minutes from time when Juan Ángel Albín swept home a late winner after Javier Casquero knocked Pedro Ríos' cross down to the Uruguayan's left foot.

Albín then picked up a second booking for removing his shirt, but backs-to-the-wall Geta preserved their lead throughout stoppage time.

This result sees the Azulones move up to sixth place, pending results of matches involving Real Sociedad, Mallorca, and Atletico Madrid.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Jornada 14: Getafe 3-0 Mallorca

1-0 Pedro Ríos 20'
2-0 Pedro Ríos 27'
3-0 Dani Parejo 78'

Masterclass In Efficiency Sees Getafe Crush Weak Mallorca
Pedro Ríos, now top scorer, puts in magnificent performance

Getafe picked up their second consecutive Liga victory in resounding fashion, thumping a poor Mallorca side 3-0 at the Coliseum, thus pulling 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

Getafe dominated from the beginning and in the 20th minute took a deserved lead when after a fine solo run, the on-form Pedro Ríos netted an absolute golazo, the ball whistling into the top corner from the corner of the area.

Eight minutes later the Jerez-born winger doubled his tally as he seized on a cut-back from Miku to net confidently from twelve yards.

In the second period Mallorca came out swinging but created few clear-cut chances: those that they did, Jordi Codina dealt with well enough.

The Balearic side thus began to lose their patience, resulting in substitute Rubén being sent to the stands by referee Muñíz Fernández for dissent.

Pedro Ríos was one of many Geta players to miss a chance to add to his tally on the 73rd minute as Mallorca somehow kept the ball out during a 20-second goalmouth scramble.

But it was still to be the Azulones' day: with twelve minutes remaining Getafe sprung the offside trap in beautiful fashion, Miku clipping a beautiful ball over the top of the defence for Víctor Sánchez, who in turn served up a golden chance for Dani Parejo to shoot into an empty net.

Getafe will thus finish the weekend in a mid-table position with 20 points, 10 clear of Sporting and Almería at the top of the dropzone and just four behind fifth-placed Valencia.

As such at this early stage in the season Geta are again closer to Europe than relegation. Yet much still needs to be done and coach Míchel - knowing how quickly good form can beget bad - will discourage complacency with all seriousness.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

About Getafe Escocia

It just struck me that I'm in breach of blog etiquette by failing to provide a self-indulgent me-fest masquering as an informative page about the blog.

Why Getafe?

Have you ever worked for a large multinational? Have you ever worked for a large multinational whose business model revolves around providing hotel rooms for tourists with more money than sense, or men in suits named Chuck and Brandon on expense accounts? Have you ever worked for a large multinational whose business model revolves around providing hotel rooms for tourists with more money than sense, or men in suits named Chuck and Brandon on expense accounts, while you are housed in a small office below a block of council flats in an ill-ventilated building with temporary builders' walls around the window for low pay while being charged with an antiquated computer and told to rewrite over four hundred hotels' websites in adherence to a style guide of stunning abstruseness, your completion of this task being met with a sad smile and a request to do it all again because standard rooms are now called guest rooms? If you have then you might understand why after six months I decided to see about an escape plan. This, perhaps unrealistically, was to combine my main hobby of football with my sole useful ability of writing. Understanding that prospective employers weren't likely to be beating down my door I started small: by day I continued my mole-like existence as hotel copywriter; in the evening I, at the invitation of an online friend of mine, wrote betting guides about Spanish football and tried not to think about going back to the office the next morning.

Like most other UK football fans with Sky TV and a pitiful social life I was no stranger to live Spanish football on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and had long since marveled at the country's great clubs, flirting briefly - at my younger brother's insistence (complete with scarf) - with following Barcelona. But by the winter of 2006 I had instead found myself captivated by a team named Getafe from the suburbs of Madrid. There was more to it than the simple small-town-underdog-made-good tale that attracted all manner of idiots to (say) Gretna in Scotland: here was a team that, a brief Wikipedia examination revealed, almost played in the literal shadow of Atlético Madrid, and definitely played in the figurative shadow of both Atleti and Real Madrid. Yet they had weathered bankruptcy and low support to find themselves not just in Spain's top flight but actively taking the piss out of it: winning at the Bernabéu and finishing in the top half just to show that they could. Getafe, indeed, didn't seem particularly bothered about making friends in high places: their website was (and remains) charmingly amateurish, and with the local players not endorsing Adidas or Nike but instead the local pizza restaurant, they were - at least for a time - mercifully free of the more prosaic trappings of modern football. The whole organisation gave the impression of being a local club for local people, a club screamed onwards on its path to the Primera by nobody but Getafe residents too stubborn to be lured to the city or too old to go so far in winter, preferring the crumbling Margaritas in the town centre or, in later days, the guffaw-inducing soullessness of the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez - named for a man that never played for Getafe and, to anyone's knowledge, never gave it a second thought. It was, in short, the perfect football club.

Getafe were at the tail end of another pleasant mid-table campaign - Bernd Schuster in the dugout, Pato Abbondanzieri in goal, 32 in the goals against column and a Zamora trophy in Pato's considerable hands - when I penned my betting preview ahead of the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final. Having lost 5-2 to Barcelona at Camp Nou the match seemed a formality; we were, as providers of team news and tactical updates, discouraged from writing actual result predictions, but it was all I could do not to write "BARCELONA ARE THROUGH, DO YOU REALLY NEED 200 WORDS AND A FORMATION?" and send it out to our faithful readers in Hong Kong and the like. Good thing I didn't, because, in front of a Sopcast feed of remarkable reliability I watched agog as Geta put four goals past the Blaugrana to reach their first ever Spanish Cup final. Javier Casquero, Dani Güiza, Vivar Dorado, Dani Güiza again. The most important goals in Geta's history since - long before I cared about the club - Sergio Pachón put five past Tenerife to secure promotion to the Primera. I might have missed that occasion: bollocks to missing the cup final as well.

Thus it was that in late May I found myself in Madrid, equipped with a rucksack, no Spanish, and a considerable reluctance to test my linguistic abilities on actual people, thus rendering my diet one largely based around vending machines. Fuelled by Aquarius and peanuts, and the fetid remains of a hostel breakfast buffet, I went out in search of a cup final ticket. I'd long since given up on the official avenues: I wasn't a Sevilla socio, and Getafe's allocation was going only to those who signed up for a season ticket for the following year. There were, however, no touts to be found the day before the game, or even the afternoon of, no matter how convincing my "yes, I'm buying" face.

The night before the final I'd done a recce in Getafe itself, and the city rewarded me by living up almost exactly to my expectations. A baking piece of light-industrial suburbia, Getafe segued beautifully from its gritty, narrow-street centre to its post-Franco northern suburbs of five-story apartment buildings, corner supermarkets, metro stations and, of course, the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. But of particular note were the posters dotted around the main drag, the Calle Madrid, advertising the Copa del Rey final on a big screen in the city centre for those not attending the match. The Bernabéu was off-limits, but this would be the next best thing.

Spain is, of course, a country where the streets don't empty out in the evening. This is the land of the paseo, and on my initial trip to Getafe I was oddly touched by the throngs of people looking in the windows of gift stores selling random Taiwanese crap at 8 o'clock at night, dressed in their best casual wear. That all changed on the night of the cup final, though: it was shorts and t-shirts, boxes of wine and, in my case, four large cans of Mahou and my red Getafe away top.

I arrived in the town square early to stake out a decent spot, and though I couldn't grab a seat along the wall I at least had, for a time, an uninterrupted view of the screen. Youths in various states of drunkenness barged around, asserting their own personal space; eventually, one yelled something in my ear, obviously expecting a response. I put my finest Spanish to the test and told him, enunciating the H, that I didn't hablo Español. Cue uproarious laughter, and the appearance of a supporting cast behind the man whom I'd know only as Rico.

Rico, it labouriously transpired, was a janitor in a cemetery, and these were his friends. One of them had a few words of English: we established that, yes, I was Scottish, that, yes, I was here by myself, that, no, I was not a student in Madrid, that, yes, I had come over from Scotland for this, that, yes, I knew this was Getafe, and that, yes, I was here by myself. "Ahora, tu no estás solo," said Rico, and I knew what he meant.

I was asked - instructed - to try their drink of choice (beer apparently being the stuff of old men), namely a Rioja mixed with Coke, which was as good as it sounds; was repeatedly offered cigarettes; and even, charmingly, given the gift of gossip as one of the female circle of friends accused the others of being "small" and "silly", in halting English. All this while I was trying to watch the game. In the event a Fredi Kanouté goal in the first half was the only notable action after Getafe's early miss, and with Rico and the gang fast losing interest in the second period I stood, surrounded by smoke, spilled Rioja and gabbling voices, hungry for more vending machine sustenance, feet aching, back creaking, craning my neck to see a game that I knew we had already lost. It was, in short, the perfect evening.

As I lay wide awake in my hostel bunk that night, silently wondering how many decibels a Scandinavian snorer could manage without setting off a car alarm three stories below, I decided that this trip could well have been the best investment of my life. I'd fallen in love with a football team, and it felt like more than just a holiday romance. It was a love as strong as the one I felt for my hometown club. And it was to cost me sleepless nights - and plenty more in plane and train tickets and internet bills - in years to come.

This blog is my way of staying in touch with Getafe, first from Scotland and now from the United States. (There are no plans to change the blog's name to Peña Getafense Tio Sam Imperialista.) The coverage mainly focuses on match reports and the occasional previews but I'll add other items of interest if and when the mood takes me. On average I return to Getafe once a season or so: next time I'll be sure to add some photos and a travelog.

Oh: and despite the title this site doesn't represent a real peña. Twice I emailed the head of the supporters' federation and twice he didn't get back to me. In any case, it's just me. Just like this post. That's what this blog's about.

Contact: Please use this article's comments feature to contact the blog. Comments are moderated before they appear, so if you wish to communicate privately please mark your comment accordingly.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Europa League: OB Odense 1-1 Getafe

0-1 Pedro Ríos 17'
1-1 Andreasen 90'

Getafe Out Of Europe After Late Surrender
... Young Boys' heroics against Stuttgart eliminate Spaniards

A late, late equaliser from Henrik Andreasen rescued a point for OB Odense at home to a Getafe side whose failure to build on their early lead cost them their Europa League qualification hopes.

A Pedro Ríos opener early in the first half went unreplied until the depths of stoppage time, at which point the Danes scored an equaliser that - at the moment - seemed set to keep both sides in Europe.

But in the group's other match, Young Boys of Bern managed a sensational three-goal haul in the final minutes of their match with Stuttgart to win 4-2 and thus join the Germans in the next stage.

On a frigid evening on the island of Funen Getafe started strongly and took a deserved lead when on-form Pedro Ríos' excellent header from a deep cross left Roy Carroll stranded in the OB goal.

Europa League
Group H @ 5 Games

1. Stuttgart (12pts)
2. Young Boys (9pts)
3. Getafe (4pts)
4. OB (4pts)
The Danes enjoyed a brief period of resurgency, but Getafe should have put the tie beyond doubt on the half-hour mark when Miku, provided for by the excellent Juan Angel Albín spurned two fine chances in the space of two minutes.

OB's Kalilou Traoré showed Geta that there were still two sides in it as he hit the post just before half time, but after the interval the Danes seemed to be out of contention.

Indeed, despite the snowy surface it was the Madrid side who looked to be at home, but Miku's recent lean spell continued as he twice missed the target heading towards the hour.

OB rallied as full-time approached, though, and Andreasen showed profligate Getafe how it was done with a confident finish after being put through by Peter Utaka.

Getafe and OB will now reflect on chances wasted as they prepare for meaningless fixtures against Young Boys and Stuttgart respectively, these two sides themselves playing for first place.

Video to follow.