Villarreal slumps to 1-0 loss at battling Getafe
MADRID (Reuters) -- Villarreal squandered the chance to move within two points of second-placed Real Madrid when they leaked a late goal to lose 1-0 at Getafe in La Liga on Saturday despite having an extra man for more than half the match.
Missing suspended Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi, Villarreal lacked their usual bite in attack and substitute Juan Albin snatched a winner for Getafe in the 89th minute after their defender, Daniel Diaz, had been sent off just before halftime.
Uruguayan midfielder Albin, whose low shot squirmed just inside the post, was also dismissed as he celebrated the goal by removing his shirt and was shown a second yellow card.
Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute had a first-half penalty saved as their poor run continued when they lost 3-1 at home to lowly Almeria in the Andalusia derby.
The Mali international pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 in the 83rd before Alneria's Pablo Piatti scored his second of the night to condemn Sevilla to a fourth straight defeat, prompting disgruntled whistling at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
Villarreal and Getafe, watched by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, cancelled each other out in the first period at the Coliseum in Madrid before the home side were rocked by Diaz's dismissal in the 41st minute.
The referee brandished a straight red card at the Argentine defender after he cut down Villarreal's pacy Brazilian striker Nilmar in full flight.
The numerical advantage immediately lifted the visitors. Nilmar burst clear moments before the break but his low shot was well saved by Jordi Codina's outstretched leg.
Villarreal's Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla and former international Marcos Senna saw plenty of the ball but were unable to unlock a determined home defence and Francisco Casquero's header set up Albin to snatch the win.
Villarreal have 30 points from 15 matches, two ahead of fourth-placed Espanyol, who visit Athletic Bilbao on Sunday (1600 GMT).
Getafe climb to sixth on 23, one behind Valencia ahead of their match at home to Osasuna on Monday. Sevilla have 20 in 10th and Almeria are 18th in the 20-team standings on 13.
Real, with 35 points, can climb above Barcelona (37) and top the standings at least for a few hours on Sunday with a win at bottom side Real Zaragoza (1800) before the champions host promoted Real Sociedad in the late kickoff (2000).
Atletico Madrid, who have lost their last three matches in all competitions and lie ninth, are at home to improving Deportivo Coruna in Saturday's late kickoff (2100).
Almeria goalkeeper Diego Alves was on inspired form in Sevilla and parried Kanoute's spot kick after the referee ruled Fabian Vargas had handled in the area.
Colombian midfielder Vargas made amends by nodding the visitors in front three minutes after halftime, although television replays suggested Renato managed to hook the ball clear before it crossed the line.
Argentine striker Piatti cut inside and lashed a superb long-range drive in off the bar in the 81st before Kanoute gave Sevilla hope two minutes later when he scored from close range.
However, Sevilla's miserable night was completed when defender Alexis Ruano was shown a second yellow and Piatti grabbed Almeria's third moments later with a clever backheel.