Villarreal’s faltering bid for a top-four finish in the Spanish La Liga suffered another setback on Sunday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Getafe.
Marcelino’s side looked to be heading for their first competitive win in six matches when Ikechukwu Uche’s penalty put them ahead early in the second half, but his effort was soon cancelled out by Diego Castro, and Getafe held on for a point despite having just two shots on target all game. The result leaves Villarreal in sixth place but 11 points behind fourth-placed Valencia – who face Levante on Monday.
Fortunately for Villarreal they still boast a sizeable gap to the teams behind them, with Athletic Bilbao missing the chance to turn the heat up on the Yellow Submarine as they went down 1-0 at Espanyol, albeit unfortunately. Athletic would have closed to within eight points of Villarreal with a win and they dominated the match, but Sergio Garcia’s first-half goal gave Espanyol a scarcely deserved win that lifted them up to eighth.
In San Sebastian, substitute Toche struck late to earn Deportivo La Coruna a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad in new coach Victor Sanchez del Amo’s first game in charge of the Galicians.
Xabi Prieto put David Moyes’ side ahead from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark but Depor were offered an opportunity to level from 12 yards before half-time, which Lucas Perez took by converting on the rebound after his spot-kick had been saved.
Chory Castro restored La Real’s lead on 57 minutes with a sumptuous volley fit to win any match, but Depor salvaged a point as Toche nodded in with 12 minutes remaining. The draw takes the Galicians up to 16th in the La Liga table but level on points with the relegation zone, while Real Sociedad stay 11th.
In the evening kick-off, rock-bottom Cordoba lost 2-0 at home to fellow strugglers as they suffered an 11th defeat in 12 matches. Both of Elche’s goals were headers from set-pieces, Enzo Roco opening the scoring just before the interval and Mario Pasalic doubling the lead midway through the second half.
Cordoba’s hopes of getting anything out of the match were then all but crushed when they lost Borja Garcia to a straight red card late on after the midfielder appeared to head-butt Victor Rodriguez.