Liga - Sevilla beat Getafe on Puerta anniversary
Sevilla opened their Liga season with a 2-1 win at home to Getafe as fans of both sides remembered the late Antonio Puerta.
Before kick-off a minute’s silence was observed to commemorate Sevilla left-back Puerta, who died aged 22 after suffering cardiac arrest during this same fixture a week short of five years ago.
That sparked a Getafe rally but Sevilla closed out the match in full control, taking the three points as they look to erase memories of last season’s disappointments.
The hosts started brightly in front of a half-empty Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pijuan, the home side paying the price for a mediocre campaign that saw them struggle to finish ninth.
As they attacked from wide, Jesus Navas volleyed off target from a good position, with Negredo doing likewise with a header.
There was a brief interlude of Getafe chances, with Miku forcing a decent stop from Diego Lopez after poor defending from Fazio let him through, with the same man heading wide from Pedro Leon’s excellent corner.
Fazio made another mistake soon afterwards to let Angel Lafita through, but Fernando Navarro got across well to clear behind. That was pretty much it for Getafe in the half as, following a lull in proceedings, Sevilla snapped into action to take charge of the match.
Negredo was denied a sliding finish by his own team-mate Ivan Rakitic, who got in his way as prepared to pull the trigger on the half hour.
The pressure finally paid off, with both Rakitic and Fazio making amends for previous errors when a fine cross from the former picked out a flying header from the latter, Miguel Angel Moya flapping and Alexis failing to track the leap of the 6’5” centre-half, whose finish nestled in the bottom right.
As is often the way when a keeper is beaten to a high ball, Getafe cried foul, but the goal seemed good and the referee allowed it to stand.
It was 2-0 soon afterwards, although there was a hint of controversy about the penalty when Juan Valera came across Jose Antonio Reyes, Rakitic again the provider of the through-ball to the former Arsenal forward, who went down very easily.
Negredo stood up and made no mistake with a cool spot-kick rolled down the middle, having dropped the eyes to send Moya to the right.
There was time for Cicinho – not the former Real Madrid right-back, but a younger near-identical version of the Brazilian – to thrash his finish well wide after a fine run and pass from Navas, but it stayed 2-0 into half-time.
The second half started scrappily, which suited Getafe. Indeed, they pulled one back early on as Alexis powered home a fine header from Leon’s excellent corner, although the marking was slack from Emir Spahic.
The defender’s celebrations were muted given he was scoring against his paymasters, but his team-mates were delighted to sense a route back into the match.
Indeed, they went mighty close to levelling soon afterwards as a succession of superb dead-ball deliveries from Leon ended just wide, first via a deflection off Piotr Trochowski and then from a Juan Valera header.
From a Reyes free-kick Negredo had a headed goal disallowed for offside, replays showing the correct decision was made as the Spain striker was level when the original ball was played but a yard clear when Spahic flicked it on.
As with the first half, there was a mid-period lull as Sevilla slowed down the pace of the game while Getafe – over-reliant on Leon – toiled in possession.
The ante was upped with the introduction of Baba Diawara, a lively target man whose game running inspired the hosts into a more attacking philosophy in the final quarter.
He forced a good save from Moya after a fine pass by Rakitic, who was enjoying himself and almost added a spectacular third with a rasping drive off the angle of post and crossbar.
Trochowski went close but his clever low cross-shot even caught his own team-mates out, as Sevilla carved Getafe apart time and time again.
They looked by far the most likely but there was no addition to the score, as Sevilla held on for a more comfortable victory than the scoreline would suggest.