Athletic Bilbao ended Getafe’s run of four straight wins and climbed above them into fifth place in La Liga when Aymeric Laporte’s early bullet header secured a 1-0 win at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Madrid on Monday.
An entertaining game played at frenetic pace was decided in the eighth minute when Laporte met Markel Susaeta’s corner and powered the ball past Getafe goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya.
The home side should have leveled from the penalty spot shortly before halftime after Adrian Colunga was barged to the ground by Carlos Gurpegi, but Getafe midfielder Diego Castro’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Gorka Iraizoz.
It was Bilbao’s first away win in four attempts since an opening day success at Real Valladolid, with midfielder Ander Herrera saying the Basque club had banished the fragility that led to three straight defeats on the road.
“Today it wasn’t like that and we didn’t allow them many chances, while not creating all that many for ourselves,” Herrera said in an interview with Spanish broadcaster Cuatro. “We have to challenge ourselves and I think we have the squad for that, but we also have to be careful as the season is very long and any team can surprise you.”
Castro, who had scored all 15 of his previous penalties in his La Liga career, said a draw would have been a fairer result.
“It was a combination of a lack of precision and a bit of bad luck in front of goal,” he told Cuatro.
Athletic Bilbao have 19 points from 10 matches, one fewer than fourth-placed Villarreal, with Getafe on 16 points in sixth.
Unbeaten leaders Barcelona with 28 points pulled six clear of Real Madrid when the champions beat their archrivals 2-1 in Saturday’s Clasico at the Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid are a point behind Barca in second after their 5-0 drubbing of Real Betis Balompie at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday.
There is a midweek round of La Liga games this week, including Barcelona at RC Celta de Vigo yesterday. Real Madrid host Sevilla today and Atletico visit Granada tomorrow.