1-1 Van Nistelrooy 64'
1-2 Miku 75'
2-2 Maresca 88'
3-2 Julio Baptista 90+2'
Getafe can't hold their nerve as Málaga's late rally ends hopes of an upset...
... A thrilling second half sees the hosts manage a dramatic victory...
A match full of incident and controversy saw ten-man Getafe twice lose the lead to a diligent but largely unimaginative Málaga side at the Rosaleda, the hosts eventually running out 3-2 winners thanks to a spark of genius from Julio Baptista.
The big-spending coastal outfit were pre-match favourites but needed a one-man advantage and two late goals to secure a victory that, on the basis of their stature and start to the match, should have been assured. In this respect Geta made their work hard for them.
However, home fans may argue that the Azulones were lucky to be in the game for as long as they were. Referee Álvarez Izquierdo had a shocker, allowing a Geta goal that should have been ruled out, debatably missing penalties for both sides, and issuing a second booking to Mehdi Lacen amidst circumstances that suggested he'd long since lost control of the game.
After Málaga's strong start, Pedro León had a great shout for a penalty turned down after 17 minutes, and seconds later at the other end Julio Baptista had a better claim of his own similarly refused after a heavy challenge from Cata Díaz.
Geta were throughout under pressure deep in defence in the first half, with Cata Díaz oscilating between the frazzled and the firm. He and partner Alberto Lopo both picked up bookings for crunching challenges, betraying the pressure they were under.
But in fact Jordi Codina had relatively little to do: a couple of routine saves from low drives, and a few gathered, speculative crosses were the worst he had to contend with. Despite dominating possession, then, the Boquerones were unable to make the breakthrough.
Perhaps losing self-belief, Málaga slowed down early in the second period and were duly punished ten minutes after the break thanks to Pedro León. The prodigal son took a knock-down on his knee and teed up a volley that deflected slightly off Martín Demichelis and flew past the helpless Willy Caballero from 25 yards.
Geta's lead would prove to be short-lived as, despite some heroics on the goal-line from Cata Díaz, Ruud van Nistelrooy was able to bundle home a tap-in following Joaquín's out-swinging free kick from the right flank.
Referee Álvarez Izquierdo had all evening been flashing the cards in the direction of Getafe players but nonetheless had earned the ire of the Málaga faithful due to his seeming inability to spot a foul. Thus it seemed as the industrious Juan Varela barged his way down the flank before floating in a perfect cross for substitute Miku, who in turn launched the perfect header past Caballero.
At this point all hell went loose. Caballero claimed passionately for handball - and seeing the replay, he had a point. Miku connected with his head, certainly, but with his arm out the ball actually took a deflection en route to goal and should have been ruled out. Meanwhile Mehdi Lacen was sent off for a second bookable offence, apparently for talking back to the referee. Amidst the melee, the goal stood.
Down to ten men for the remaining minutes, Luis García brought on Juan Rodríguez in place of young Abdel in an attempt to reinforce a midfield in danger of being overrun. Shortly afterwards Pedro Ríos replaced his namesake León, presumably with an eye towards the counter-attack.
But this failed to have the desired effect. Two minutes from time the previously-solid Codina dithered in his six-yard box at a corner, blocking a near-post header but permitting the largely unmarked Enzo Maresca to tap in for the equaliser.
Halfway through the four minutes of stoppage time Getafe's hearts were broken by Julio Baptista. The former Real Madrid midfielder unleashed a fierce and accurate overhead kick into the top corner from twelve yards, sending the Rosaleda crowd wild and dooming the visitors to yet another late defeat.
After the international break Getafe - flirting with the dropzone on four points - welcome Villarreal to the Coliseum.
Málaga: Caballero; Jordi Gámez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Eliseu; Toulalan, Duda (Isco 57); Joaquín (Maresca 67), Julio Baptista, Cazorla; Van Nistelrooy (Rondón 74).
Getafe: Codina; Calera, Cata Díaz, Lopo, Mané; Rubén Pérez, Lacen; Pedro León (Pedro Ríos 83), Abdel (Juan Rodríguez 77), Diego Castro; Güiza (Miku 69).
Sent Off: Lacen 76 (2nd booking; dissent)