Sunday, 29 January 2012

Levante 1-2 Getafe: Dani Güiza makes the difference in Valencia

0-1 Güiza 31'
0-2 Diego Castro 79'

Lucky Getafe make their chances count against wasteful Levante...
... Third win in the last six propels the Azulones well into the top half ...

Getafe rode their luck but left Valencia with all three points, stretching their current unbeaten run to six games. The Granotas passed up a host of excellent chances in both halves and were twice punished by Getafe's quickfire attacks through the middle, rendering Levante's Champions League challenge increasingly fragile.

The hosts, still hoping for an unlikely Champions League place, started with their tails up - perhaps with something to prove to ex-coach Luis García, who now sits in the Getafe dugout. Pedro Botelho was especially impressive, cutting in from the left to both provide Arouna Koné and try his own luck, but with no end product. Meanwhile the visitors were largely penned back.

Despite their lack of chances, Getafe took the lead in the 31st minute. A superb ball over the top from Javier Casquero found Dani Güiza, who atoned for his poor performance last week with a goal halfway between sublime and ridiculous. His control to bring down the long pass was beautifully reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp's strike against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup; his shot straight at Gustavo Munúa somewhat less so. But the ball deflected off the Uruguayan 'keeper, hit Güiza in the shins, and rolled goalwards for the opener.

Nonetheless Levante continued to dominate heading into the break and beyond. Ten minutes after the restart Arouna Koné, teed up by Sergio Ballesteros, so nearly scored with an overhead kick from close range, but his effort was fortunately bound for the woodwork.

Yet the day went Getafe's way when eight minutes from time substitute Diego Castro pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the area to score into an empty net. The chance began when once again Levante's high line was punished by a pass over the top for Dani Güiza, who once again prompted the deflection that led to the goal.

Getafe were left nervous in the final minute as Alberto Lopo saw red for a handball in the box, Rubén Suárez dispatching the resulting penalty.

But it was too little too late for the hosts. Getafe, despite holding less of the ball and having fewer chances, left with another priceless victory, cementing their place in the top half ahead of the visit of Real Madrid on Saturday evening - a match they will contest without both Lopo and the injured Rafa, leading to difficulties in the centre of defence.

Levante: Munúa; Javi Venta, Ballesteroes, Del Horno, Juanfran; Xavi Torres (Iborra 82), Farinós; El Zhar (Rafa Jordá 79), Rubén Suárez, Botelho (Óscar Serrano 69); Koné.

Getafe: Moyà; Valera, Lopo, Cata Díaz, Masilela; Abdel Barrada, Juan Rodríguez, Casquero (Lacen 70), Gavilán (Diego Castro 59); Dani Güiza (Miguel Torres 84), Miku.
Red card: Lopo 90' (handball)

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