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Pucela double up over Getafe to earn three points

LaLiga Santander

Matchday 26

Saturday March 6th, 2021

Estadio José Zorrilla, Valladolid, Spain


Óscar Plano 14’; Shon Weissman 24’


Jaime Mata 37’

Three goals in the first half were tempered by a milder second period as Real Valladolid recorded their fifth win of the season and their second over Getafe in a little more than two months. Goals from Óscar Plano and Shon Weissman inside the opening 25 minutes had Pucela in command, but Jaime Mata’s goal eight minutes before the intermission ensured a tighter affair after the restart. The former Real Valladolid striker experienced a mixed return to his former club; netting his fifth goal of the season but also being shown a straight red card with five minutes remaining.

Largely keeping the faith in the side who had come within 30 seconds of beating Celta last week, Sergio made just one adjustment to his line-up. Bruno, who had been picked on for decisive goals in Real Valladolid’s last two matches, dropped to the bench to be replaced by Jawad El-Yamiq. The Moroccan made his first start since the last time these sides met, a 1-0 win for his team in Matchday 17 at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in January. Incidentally, this was the last time that Pucela had recorded a league victory going into this match, enduring four losses and four draws in that span. Plano retained the captain’s armband for successive matches, with both Míchel and Jordi Masip on the bench. Waldo Rubio returned to the squad at the expense of defender and namesake, Miguel Rubio.

Until last week, José Bordalás’ side had been in freefall since their last win in January where they scraped past Huesca 1-0, losing five and drawing once. In their last outing, however, they dispatched Valencia with ease at home, winning 3-0 in a one-sided match where Los Azulones were aided by Mouctar Diakhaby’s dismissal six minutes into the second half. Getafe also made one change to their team, but this was prompted by the suspension of left-midfielder Marc Cucurella who picked up a booking in the second half of the Valencia win, to exceed the disciplinary points total. This allowed the return of Carles Aleñá to the starting eleven, taking position on the right wing for the first time as a Getafe player, as opposed to his natural central midfield home. The Mataró native joined in the January transfer window on loan from Barcelona where he had only clocked up 48 league minutes for the Blaugranas. To accommodate Cucurella’s absence, Allan Nyom switched to the right side of midfield. Up front, two ex-Real Valladolid strikers teamed up in the form of Jaime Mata and Enes Ünal. Mata had become a revered figure during his time in white and violet and played a huge role in the team’s promotion to Primera in season 2018/19. He finished as the Segunda División Pichichi with 33 goals in the regular season and added two more in the playoffs as Real Valladolid breezed past rivals Sporting and then Numancia. That summer, Mata departed for Getafe and Ünal was signed on the first of his two loan spells at the club from Villarreal where he was deemed to be surplus to requirements. The Turkish striker faced an uphill task, being asked to fill the considerable void left by Mata’s departure and playing at a higher level than his predecessor had done. He netted six league goals in each of his seasons as a Real Valladolid player, adding two in last season’s Copa del Rey to finish with 14 in 71 overall appearances. His early performances left some sections of the support unhappy with his lack of goals, but over his time with the club he won many fans over with his dedication and work ethic, covering all areas of the pitch and working hard for his team. This season, both players were experiencing a drop-off in production in front of goal prior to this match, with Mata scoring four times in 23 appearances and Ünal yet to find the net in his 17 outings which had been limited to only five starts. This was only the second time they had paired together this season, having both been given the nod to start in the win over Valencia in their previous match.

Getafe were the more industrious from the outset, controlling the opening exchanges with the bulk of possession but lacking the cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. This absence of incisive finishing allowed Real Valladolid to take the lead against the run of play. Sergi Guardiola found himself on the right-hand side of the box and he cut inside to deliver a left-footed cross to the back post. It found Fabián Orellana, last week’s goal scorer, whose cushioned header back across the face of goal was nodded in by Plano to give the midfielder his third goal of the season and – more importantly – his team a precious lead.

A chance to respond fell to Aleñá, after Getafe took possession following a poor clearance by Saidy Janko. Mata headed into the path of the midfielder but his weak effort on goal trundled wide left from close range.

Inside 25 minutes, Real Valladolid increased their advantage, pressing forward on the counter-attack after a Getafe foray forward had petered out. It came from the opposite side from the opening goal, with Orellana again heavily involved as his form continues to improve each week. The Chilean winger made progress down the left as far as the bye-line, before cutting the ball back at height into the danger area. The ball was swatted away by David Soria, stretching as high as he could get, but it fell straight to Weissman. His instinctive header was perfectly placed despite the heavy traffic around the goal-line and found the very top right corner of Soria’s net. That was the striker’s fourth goal of the season, moving him back into first place after Plano’s opener had briefly earned him joint-top scorer honours alongside the Israeli.

Despite making heavy weather of large swathes of this season, Los Azulones continued to press forward in an attempt to reduce the arrears. It came from one of the former Blanquivioleta heroes, Mata, but was aided by the other along with a slice of luck. Roberto’s goal-kick was met by Getafe captain Djené in the centre circle. His firm header forward was gathered by Ünal who, in turn, fed it on to Mata inside the area. The striker let fly an angled right-footed shot which appeared to be aimed for Roberto’s far away top corner but El-Yamiq slid in and his attempted block sent the ball inside the near post. It was Mata’s second goal against his former side, the first coming not just at the same venue last season, but at the same end and within four minutes of each other. His celebration was as muted as the Fondo Norte he scored in front of, which used to ring with the sound of his name but appeared hollow with the absence of supporters. The mutual respect which exists between fan and former player was clearly evident as he clasped his hands in homage after scoring. That goal moved him into third place in the list of all-time scorers for Getafe in Primera matches with 30, moving past Roberto Soldado – now with Granada – and six behind current team-mate Ángel Rodríguez.

At the break, Bordalás made his first change, bringing on highly-touted Japanese starlet Takefusa Kubo who arrived on-loan in the winter transfer window from Real Madrid by way of Villarreal where had struggled to make an impression in the first half of the season.

Four minutes into the second half, Real Valladolid found themselves in scoring position again but after Janko had burst into the box and played across to Orellana, David Soria went full-stretch to deny the Chilean his second goal in as many matches. The midfielder had arrived totally unmarked and cracked a medium-height shot from inside the box which the goalkeeper parried to his left.

The match broke down into a stop-start affair, punctuated by substitutions and bookings for both sides as it failed to recapture the flow of the first 45 minutes. Mata, a player whose physical characteristics definitely enhance his game, had thrown his weight around for large portions of the match but, thus far, had escaped the referee’s notebook. His strike partner Ünal made way for Cucho Hernández in Getafe’s second substitution.

On the hour mark, Mata combined with Mauro Arambarri to set up Kubo but Roberto was equal to his shot and blocked it well. Getafe complained vociferously for a penalty following the ‘keeper’s intervention as the ball appeared to be deflected back onto the shoulder of Joaquín but the referee was unmoved and waved for play to continue.

Not all of the referee’s decisions had been appreciated by Sergio, who had been far more animated and vocal than usual on the touchline. He voiced his disapproval of what he felt had been a foul on one of his players, and by this point Señor Mario Melero had had enough and brandished the yellow card at the Real Valladolid coach, causing him to retreat.

Mata continued to be the brightest spark in a blue shirt, linking up directly with Kubo who fashioned an opportunity for Aleñá but Joaquín threw himself in the way to put the ball out for a corner.

Sergio opted for a triple switch to his side with less than twenty minutes to play, swapping Kenan Kodro for Guardiola, Fede San Emeterio for Rubén Alcaraz and Míchel for Roque Mesa. Minutes later, Bordalás introduced Rodríguez to the action in place of Nemanja Maksimovic and moved to 4-3-3 formation as they chased the equaliser. Jota made his way onto the pitch for the Blanquivioletas, replacing Orellana who had enjoyed another productive afternoon.

The flash-point in the match came with five minutes remaining as El-Yamiq and Mata contested a high ball. The Moroccan levered his opponent to the ground and came to rest on top of the striker. As he disengaged contact, Mata appeared to kick out at the defender and the referee was immediately on top of the incident. He had no hesitation in showing the red card to the Getafe man who, predictably, protested his innocence but trudged off to take a seat in the stand. A sad end to a spirited return to the José Zorrilla for it’s beloved son.

With the match almost completely equal in terms of possession, ten-man Getafe rolled the dice a final time with a double substitution; Franciso Portillo for Aleñá and David Timor for Nyom. The last Pucela change saw Luis Pérez replacing Plano to shore up the defence for the closing moments and his side held on to win and gain three priceless points.

While Getafe face the unenviable task of hosting Atlético Madrid at the weekend, Sergio leads his troops to Navarre for their second meeting of the season with Osasuna, lying three points ahead of Real Valladolid in 13th after 26 matches. Bolstered by the knowledge they overcame Jagoba Arrasate’s side in a five-goal thriller back in December, the Blanquivioletas could quite conceivably leapfrog their opponents with a win and other results next weekend going in their favour. Quite unthinkable just a fortnight ago!

REAL VALLADOLID (4-4-2): Roberto; Lucas Olaza, Jawad El-Yamiq, Joaquín, Saidy Janko, Fabián Orellana (Jota 83’), Rubén Alcaraz (Fede San Emeterio 71’), Roque Mesa (Míchel 71’), Óscar Plano (Capt.), Sergi Guardiola (Kenan Kodro 71’), Shon Weissman.

Subs unused: Jordi Masip; Javi Sánchez, Bruno, Nacho, Kike Pérez, Toni Villa, Waldo.

GETAFE (4-4-2): David Soriano; Mathias Olivera, Erick Cabaco, Djene (Capt.), Damian Suárez (Takefusa Kubo 46’), Carles Aleñá (Francisco Portillo 88’), Nemanja Maksimovic (Ángel Rodríguez 79’), Mauro Arambarri, Allan Nyom (David Timor 89’), Jaime Mata, Enes Ünal (Cucho Hernández 59’).

Subs unused: Rubén Yánez; Chema, Sofian Chakla, Amankwaa Akurugu.

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