Albert Lopo headed in from a corner in the 56th minute and Malaga missed several good chances in the latter stages before Getafe midfielder Diego Castro was shown a second yellow card in added time and was sent off.
"We lost a match in which Getafe had one attempt on goal in 90 minutes," Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, whose side are through to the last 16 of the Champions League on their debut in the competition, told a news conference.
"They were able to score the goal that won them the match from a corner," added the Chilean. "We had three clear chances and we didn't take them."
Getafe's victory lifted them to sixth, level on 22 points with both Malaga and fifth-placed Real Betis, who play at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Unbeaten leaders Barcelona can open a six-point advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid, at least for a couple of hours, with a win at home to Athletic Bilbao later on Saturday.
Victory for Tito Vilanova's men would put Barca on 40 points from 14 matches and set a new record for the best start to a La Liga campaign, beating Real Madrid's mark from the 1991-92 season, which Barca have already equalled.
Resurgent Atletico play at Real's Bernabeu stadium in the late kickoff and will be 11 points clear of their stuttering city rivals if they can manage a first win against Jose Mourinho's side in more than a decade.
Struggling Valencia slipped to a second straight defeat, increasing the pressure on coach Mauricio Pellegrino, after they had Jonas sent off just before halftime and were thumped 5-2 at home to Real Sociedad.
Spain striker Roberto Soldado opened the scoring for Valencia in the second minute at the Mestalla before forward Jonas was shown a straight red card for an elbow on David Zurutuza in the 41st minute.
The Brazilian's senseless dismissal allowed Sociedad to take charge and defender Alberto de la Bella levelled three minutes later and Mikel Gonzalez made it 2-1 to the Basque side 11 minutes after the break.
Diego Ifran sped clear to make it 3-1 in the 64th minute, Soldado grabbed his second of the night nine minutes later, substitute Imanol Agirretxe made it 4-2 seven minutes from time, and Carlos Vela scored from the spot in time added on.
It was the ninth goal Valencia have conceded in their last two La Liga outings after a 4-0 thrashing at Malaga last weekend, and the supporters loudly voiced their displeasure at the final whistle with grim-faced club president Manuel Llorente watching from the stands.
Valencia, also through to the Champions League knockout round, are mired in 12th place on 18 points, while Sociedad climbed to seventh on 20, level with eighth-placed Levante, who play at promoted Celta Vigo on Sunday.
- Sports & Recreation