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Getafe’s Champions League charge falters with Espanyol stalemate

Madrid (AFP) – Getafe dropped more points in the race for Champions League qualification on Tuesday after they failed to break down struggling Espanyol despite their opponents playing most of the 0-0 draw with 10 men. 

The stalemate represents a missed opportunity for Jose Bordalas’ side and they could even have lost to Espanyol, who are building momentum after returning from the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Getafe stay fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who will play their game in hand away at Alaves on Thursday. Getafe could also be overtaken if Atletico Madrid win on Wednesday against Osasuna.

Espanyol move to within two points of safety and after resuming with a 2-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday, their point against a top-four hopeful will be welcome. 

They will particularly satisfied given their defender Bernardo Espinosa was sent off in the 16th minute for throwing his hand into the face of Damian Suarez. 

Espanyol coach Abelardo Fernandez hurled a bottle down in frustration but his team rallied and were never really made to feel uncomfortable by Getafe, who managed only four shots on target. 

Their best chance came in stoppage time but Espanyol’s goalkeeper Diego Lopez made an excellent double save, denying Angel Rodriguez’s header and then the follow-up from Marc Cucurella.

Getafe have now won just once in their last six games. 

“You have to say it is a slip-up,” said Getafe goalkeeper David Soria afterwards. 

“We were with an extra player for a long time and perhaps a little bit of anxiety creeps in when you have an extra man. You rush your chances and maybe that played a part. It’s true, we’re not on a good run.” 

Elsewhere, Villarreal stayed in the hunt for the European places by beating Real Mallorca 1-0.

Carlos Bacca’s early finish leaves Villarreal seventh, three points from fourth. Mallorca remain 18th.

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