Goals from Diego Godin and Diego Costa gave Atletico Madrid victory over Getafe but Costa was stretchered off immediately after scoring.
Costa got the second by sliding in to meet Adrian’s ball across goal and after converting the chance, hit the goalpost with some force, wounding his knee in the process and having to be carried off the pitch.
Godin netted when he met a long ball into the box and, with Jordi Codina nowhere, guided the ball into the back of the net.
It was entirely fitting for a very scrappy game that the first goal came from a route one pass and an error. Atleti, perhaps understandably, had little of the fire displayed in the midweek win over Barcelona in the Champions League while Getafe’s game plan of disrupting the visitors made for a disappointing spectacle.
Costa had a penalty saved by Codina in the second-half and the goalkeeper also kept out Raul Garcia’s follow-up, somewhat making amends for his earlier blunder. Angel Lafita was sent off for the foul on Miranda that saw the penalty awarded.
Atletico would have remained top of the table regardless of the result after Barcelona’s defeat against Granada, but have restored their three-point lead over Real Madrid, keeping the destination of the title in their hands.
The hosts, meanwhile, remain in the bottom three, although the lower reaches of the table of so compact that El Geta are far from stranded at this point, with 15 points to play for.
Getafe had Pedro Mosquera and Diego Castro in the XI with Cosmin Contra making a handful of changes. Ciprian Marica again led the line.
Atletico were able to welcome back Costa to the team after the Spain international missed the Wednesday triumph, Adrian dropping out. Mario Suarez was the only other change, replacing Tiago.
The game took its time getting going. Indeed, prior to the goal the only incidents of note were a David Villa shot driven across goal, a handful of set-pieces for either side and a few yellow cards.
Both sides felt they could have had first-half penalties with Atletico’s claim probably the stronger but with five minutes of the half to go, Atletico took the lead. Codina was caught in no man’s land as Godin’s header looped overhead and nestled in the net.
The first action of real note after the break saw Thibaut Courtois make a reaction save from Juan Rodriguez’s header. Courtois also had to be alert shortly after from another, tamer, effort, from substitute Adrian Colunga.
Lafita was dismissed just after the hour mark when he pulled down Miranda in the six yard box. Costa’s spot kick was saved and it initially appeared Alexis had been dismissed for a similar and slightly earlier foul on Villa. The defender, booked in the first-half, got a reprieve.
Costa entered the book after 75 minutes of provocation from Getafe, the striker eventually reacting after being kneed in the back of the leg. He got on the score sheet 10 minutes later but it may prove to be the most costly goal of Atletico’s season.
Getafe 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Lafita s/o 65 (G) Godin 40, Costa 84 (AM)
Getafe: Codina; Arroyo, Alexis, Rafa, Roberto Lago (Sammir 81); Juan Rodriguez, Mosquera (Lacen 67); Pedro Leon, Diego Castro (Colunga 58), Lafita; Marica
Atletico: Courtois; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe; Koke, Gabi, Suarez, Garcia (Diego Ribas 72); Villa (Adrian 62), Costa (Rodriguez 87)