Getafe ends Madrid unbeaten streak; Barça, affected by the virus, wins

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – After watching Real Madrid lose their first game in three months, Carlo Ancelotti had a single…

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – After watching Real Madrid lose their first game in three months, Carlo Ancelotti had a simple message for his players: The holidays are over.

Madrid’s 15-game unbeaten streak in all competitions ended on Sunday when they ended in a 1-0 loss to modest Getafe in the Spanish league after an almost two-week winter break .

League leaders Madrid fell behind when Getafe striker Enes Unal stole the ball from defender Éder Militão near the goal and beat Thibaut Courtois. Luka Modric’s shot at the woodwork in the first half was as close as Madrid equalized.

Even though Madrid remained in charge of the league – with an eight-point lead over second-placed Sevilla – Ancelotti berated his side for their attitude.

“We cannot get carried away by this defeat,” said Ancelotti. “We are still leaders and are excited about what lies ahead… A player who normally stands out with his defensive play gave them his goal. It looks like we didn’t end the year well. We lacked focus, commitment. It must be a wake-up call. My team looked like they were still on vacation.

While Madrid had recovered several players – with the important exception of striker Vinícius Júnior, who had been absent due to COVID-19 – Barcelona won a 1-0 victory in Mallorca with a team hard hit by the coronavirus.

The absence of 10 first-team players allowed the rarely used Luuk de Jong to finally show his worth as a striker since joining Barcelona on loan at the end of the summer transfer market replacing Antoine Griezmann.

GETAFE SURPRISE

Madrid’s previous loss came on October 3 when they lost 2-1 to Espanyol. Since then he had won 13 and shot two in all competitions.

Ancelotti had led Madrid to victories against Barcelona, ​​Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Inter Milan during their unbeaten streak.

But he was unable to rally after a mistake by Militão that tarnished his otherwise excellent season with center partner David Alaba, with the pair filling the void left by the exits of veterans Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

Toni Kroos appeared to have stifled Getafe’s attack when he recovered the ball and sent it to Militão, but Unal pressured him and cleared the ball before scoring in the ninth minute.

“Sometimes as a forward you just feel like there may be something there. Fortunately, it worked, ”Unal said of his goal which saw Getafe claim their first victory over their star rivals since August 2012.

Getafe started the season losing their opening seven matches. But the modest club from a neighborhood in Madrid has been a game-changer in the league after Quique Sánchez Flores took office in early October and is undefeated in six rounds.

Sunday’s matches were the first to be played since Spanish health authorities reinstated attendance caps after the sharp rise in COVID-19 infections. All games are limited to 75% of capacity, with some regions like Catalonia and the Basque Country applying even lower limits.

Seville visits Cadiz on Monday.

DE JONG’S LUCK

Barcelona traveled to Mallorca with 10 players from their “B” team after a string of COVID-19 cases. Coach Xavi Hernández had to line up a front line with De Jong flanked by young players Ferran Jutglà and Ilias Akhomach.

De Jong, who had failed to gain consistent playing time, managed to pose a powerful offensive threat to the visitors.

The Dutch striker kicked the ball off the post moments before producing a superb bicycle kick that rocked the crossbar. He then directed his goal when he hit a cross from Óscar Mingueza at the far post just before half-time.

Barcelona still needed a stoppage of play from Marc-André ter Stegen to climb to fifth place, one point behind Champions League places.

RETURN TO THE TRACK

Ángel Correa scored two goals as Atlético Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 and ended their worst losing streak since Diego Simeone took over the club ten years ago.

The reigning champions had lost no more than two league games in a row under Simeone. But he ended 2021 with back-to-back defeats against Mallorca, Madrid, Sevilla and Granada.

Atlético edged Rayo to recover fourth place.

OTHER RESULTS

Iago Aspas scored two goals to lead Celta Vigo to a 2-0 victory over Real Betis, who remained in third place just one point behind Atlético.

Elche coach Francisco Rodríguez was sent off for protesting on several occasions in his side’s 0-0 draw against Granada, while Real Sociedad drew 1-1 at Alavés.

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