Getafe FC's impressive European debut season goes on after a first-half Esteban Granero goal and late strikes from Cosmin Contra and Braulio ensured their smooth passage into the UEFA Cup Round of 16.
Having topped a strong group in the previous stage and drawn 1-1 at AEK Athens FC in the first leg of this tie, Getafe had reasons for confidence and although Granero put them ahead at half-time it was only with eight minutes left that Contra's penalty really gave them a cushion. A meeting with SL Benfica is Getafe's reward.
Michael Laudrup's side were put under plenty of pressure by AEK early on but both Granero and De la Red had good chances, though they shot over. Rivaldo, a central figure in all of AEK's best attacking play, also had a shot blocked as both sides pressed for the all-important first goal, and it arrived just before half-time as Granero headed in Contra's curling right-wing cross at the far post.
Now Getafe were gaining in confidence and four minutes into the second half De La Red's stinging drive was pushed wide by AEK goalkeeper Moretto. At the other end Panagiotis Lagos got forward well on 53 minutes, but saw his shot blocked by Mario on the edge of the area. Most of the play was breaking down in midfield at this stage and neither side threatened until the latter stages of the match, when Granero rattled the bar with a free-kick on 81 minutes.
A minute later, Getafe doubled their lead when Granero was fouled in the box by Nsaliwa Tamanda and Contra coolly slotted in from the penalty spot. Within a couple of minutes Laudrup's side wrapped up the victory as Braulio smashed the ball in from close range after Contra had miscontrolled Lucas Licht's low cross from the byline.
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