Asenjo the hero as Villarreal tops Getafe
SERGIO Asenjo saved two penalty kicks as Villarreal held on to a 1-0 win against Getafe in the Spanish league yesterday, ending a five-match winless streak and moving to fifth place.
Enes Unal scored from close range three minutes into the match for the hosts, and Asenjo stopped a penalty taken by Angel Rodriguez in the first half and another by Jorge Molina in the second.
“Asenjo was key,” Villarreal coach Javier Calleja said. “He is the type of player who gives you points. He gave us three points today with his penalty saves.”
Villarreal, which had lost four of its last five matches in all competitions, moved two points ahead of Sevilla, which was at second-place Atletico Madrid later yesterday.
Villarreal is five points behind fourth-place Valencia, the last team in the UEFA Champions League qualification zone. Valencia was hosting Real Sociedad yesterday.
Getafe, which hadn’t lost in six consecutive matches, stayed 10th in the 20-team standings.
Leader Barcelona opened a 10-point gap on Atletico by routing Girona 6-1 at the Nou Camp Stadium on Saturday. Lionel Messi scored twice and Luis Suarez had a hat trick as the Catalans set a club record of 32 games unbeaten in the league.
Visiting striker Portu gave Girona a surprise lead in the third minute of their first league game at the Nou Camp.
However, Suarez quickly levelled down the other end, while two goals from Messi and another from the Uruguayan saw Barcelona march into a 4-1 lead at halftime.
Barcelona’s record signing Philippe Coutinho had set up Suarez’s second goal and then former Liverpool man struck for the first time in La Liga with a spectacular long-distance shot from well outside of the area in the 66th minute. Suarez completed a hat-trick in the 76th, tapping in a cut-back from Ousmane Dembele.
Earlier on Saturday, Real Madrid’s ‘BBC’ strikeforce hit back with a vengeance when Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all scored in a 4-0 win at home to hapless Alaves, a fifth successive win in all competitions for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Barcelona leads the La Liga standings on 65 points, 10 clear of Atletico and 14 ahead of champion Real.