Omar Alderete delivered Getafe’s first goal and victory against Real Betis since September 2020 as Azulones moved clear of the relegation zone on goal difference following a 1-0 win at Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Aware that a win would confirm European football for next season with a place inside La Liga’s top six, Real Betis were determined to get off the mark quickly.
Sergio Canales and Abner Vinicius displayed Los Verdiblancos’ attacking intent early on with two long-range strikes that went just over the crossbar.
Despite facing an early bombardment, Getafe held firm and the visitors were well aware they would have to score for the first time against Betis in four matches to give themselves a chance of pulling clear of relegation danger.
Eventually, Azulones gained control of possession and Damian Suarez’s deep cross was headed into the side netting by Omar Alderete in the visitor’s only half chance in the first period.
Desperate to avoid a second consecutive 0-0 draw, Betis took the game to Getafe after the break and Ayoze Perez was first to test Soria when he broke through the Getafe backline and fired a low shot straight at the ‘keeper.
Juanmi was next to try his luck as he burst into the penalty area and his deflected shot almost squirmed past Soria, but Getafe’s stopper recovered just in time to gratefully gather the ball to his chest.
Suddenly, Getafe made a shock breakthrough to end their two-match goalless run on the road when Alderete’s unstoppable bullet header from Luis Milla’s corner flew past a rooted Claudio Bravo and into the net.
A late lack of discipline from Betis’ German Pezzella ended their chances of a late comeback when the centre-back clattered into Portu to add to Los Verdiblancos’ league-high tally of 15 red cards this season.
As a result, Manuel Pellegrini’s side will have to wait to secure their European adventure for next season as their three-match unbeaten run came to an end.
The relief for Getafe was clear at the final whistle and Jose Bordalas will hope this win provides enough confidence for his side to confirm their place in LaLiga for next season over the next two games.
Espanyol picked up a vital point in their pursuit of LaLiga survival as a stunning second-half comeback secured a 3-3 draw with Atletico Madrid, leaving Luis Garcia’s side three points from safety with two matches remaining.
Having lost each of their last nine away matches in LaLiga after conceding first, Atletico knew the importance of a positive start against their struggling opponents.
However, it was the hosts - fresh from a morale-boosting victory over Rayo Vallecano last time out - who began on the front foot, as Nico Melamed and Javi Puado saw early efforts thwarted by Ivo Grbic.
After a disjointed opening 20 minutes, the visitors gradually gained a foothold in the contest, and duly found an opener via the resurgent Saul Niguez.
Slipped through on goal by Mario Hermoso, the Spanish international took one touch to compose himself before firing an angled strike beyond Fernando Pacheco to notch his second goal in as many games.
Undeterred by the setback, Espanyol went in pursuit of a leveller before half time, with Grbic required to come to the visitors’ rescue, saving superbly from Denis Suarez.
Grateful for that reprieve, Atletico doubled their lead on the stroke of the interval, as Antoine Griezmann pounced on a rebound inside the box, forcing a first-time effort over the line.
The visitors carried the momentum that goal created into the second half, and struck a decisive third within 15 seconds of the restart, as Yannick Carrasco tucked home after Pacheco could only parry a powerful strike from Angel Correa.
Faced with a daunting three-goal deficit, García’s side knew a swift response was needed to keep their slim hopes of a comeback alive.
Cesar Montes provided the first step of recovery, heading home Aleix Vidal’s corner to reduce the arrears, before Joselu dispatched a superb spot-kick with 15 minutes remaining to set up a fascinating finale.
Armed with the momentum, Espanyol completed their remarkable turnaround in the 79th minute when substitute Vinícius Souza rose highest in the box to head beyond Grbić, sending the home support into raptures.
Stunned by the hosts’ incredible fightback, Atletico looked to regain some semblance of composure in the closing stages. However, they were again indebted to Grbic, who denied Joselu a dramatic winner, leaving both sides to settle for a point apiece.
The result sees the visitors slip to third after Real Madrid’s triumph earlier in the evening, while Espanyol move to within three points of safety with just two matches left to preserve their top-flight status.