La Liga: Getafe CF 1-4 FC Barcelona: Match Review

The super-subs

FC Barcelona dominated Getafe en route to a comfortable 4-1 win in the Spanish capital. Despite injuries to key members of the starting XI such as Andrés Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez, Barcelona were always in control of the game and got their breakthrough in the 32nd minute through Adriano Correia. Lionel Messi was brought on around the hour mark as Tito Vilanova looked to seal the game and the Argentine made sure of all three points with a quick-fire brace – one goal from the penalty spot, and a second from all of six yards. Getafe pulled one back thanks to a Javier Mascherano own-goal before David Villa restored the three-goal advantage with a clinical finish in added-on time.

Getafe

Barcelona

Possession

33%

67%

Total Shots

6

15

Shots on Target

2

9

Pass Accuracy

69%

89%

Fouls

14

10

Offsides

0

4

Yellow Cards

2

2

Red Cards

0

0

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise the international break? Thanks to the fatigue and injury caused by the international matches, Tito Vilanova had to make multiple changes to his starting XI, with Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi all demoted to the bench. That meant a start in attack for the misfiring Cesc Fàbregas, not to mention a return for Thiago Alcântara. Would Barcelona be able to extend their 100% record in spite of all the changes? In short, yes.

Barcelona settled into the match quickly and started the better side. Martin Montoya was pressing Moya in the Getafe goal, despite starting as the right-back and within four minutes, Barca had their first shot on goal. The build-up was encouraging; one and two-touch play which culminated with Cesc Fàbregas chipping the ball into the path of Cristian Tello, but the winger couldn’t find the back of the net with the first effort of the match.

The game had started at a frantic pace, both sides were getting forward and both sides had early penalty appeals turned down. Barcelona – or to be more specific, Pedro – claimed for handball in the Getafe area, while the home crowd wanted a penalty after Martin Montoya’s clumsy challenge/collision with Adrian Colunga. Neither looked clear-cut to me, and the referee made the correct decision to turn down both appeals.

The Catalans were dominating possession, as one might expect, but Getafe were defending well. With almost everyone behind the ball, Barcelona were finding it hard to break down Luis Garcia’s well-drilled team; what Barca needed was a moment of magic, some individual skill, and they got it from Thiago. Jinking in-between Michel and Lopo, Thiago then evaded a last-ditch challenge to fire a shot on goal. The run deserved a goal, but unfortunately, the frame of the goal disagreed. It was a good sign though; the pressure was beginning to build.

Getafe came close to breaking the deadlock through Pedro Leon who was gifted an opportunity thanks to Adriano’s misjudgement. However, his volley lacked any real power and Valdés made a comfortable save, launching Barcelona into a counter attack that gave the game its opening goal. Cesc Fàbregas was the architect, although whether he meant it is a wholly different matter. Whatever the case, Cesc got the assist with a fabulous run which was brought to an abrupt end with Valera’s body-check. Unfortunately for Valera, Adriano was on-hand to continue where Cesc left-off, slotting the ball past Moya into the back of the net. As Bostjan pointed out, Adriano now had the same number of goals in this season’s La Liga as Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona nearly doubled their lead within minutes as Thiago again found the space for a shot on goal, but the returning Spaniard was denied by a fantastic low save from Moya. The speed with which he reacted was exceptional, and given the power on Thiago’s shot, Moya did brilliantly to keep it out.

Getafe were threatening on the rare occasions they ventured forward though and after Piqué’s rash challenge on Adrian Colunga, Pedro Leon nearly equalised with a powerful free-kick. The free-kick was well-struck and delivered into a dangerous area, but Lopo couldn’t convert from close range leaving Valdés to collect. Headed into the break, Barcelona were dominating possession and with a 1-0 lead, looked to be in complete control.

The second half started slowly, neither side had made a change in personnel, and aside from Diego Castro’s woeful effort, there were no shots to speak of in the opening ten minutes. The first real talking point of the half was an injury for Carles Puyol, who fell clutching his knee after an awkward fall. Puyol did return to the pitch after treatment, but soon fell to the turf once again, forcing Barcelona into their first change of the game as Javier Mascherano replaced our injured captain.

Cristian Tello had a couple of shots in the following minutes; he curled one wide and forced Moya into a save with the other, but for the most part, Tello was unimpressive on the left-flank and with David Villa or Gerard Deulofeu ready to come on, an improvement was surely needed.

With a little over half-an-hour remaining, Lionel Messi was brought on for Thiago and immediately drew a foul from Michel. With 66 minutes on the clock, he should have drawn a penalty from Miguel Torres, as the former Real Madrid defender slid in on the Argentine in the area, but the referee pointed for a corner rather than to the spot. There was no contact between Torres and the ball, while there was plenty of contact between Torres and Messi...

Getting back to the match, and Pedro had a chance to double the Barcelona lead with his first real chance of the match, but his stinging shot lacked any real accuracy and Moya saved with ease. Pedro was again involved with the next real attack, and after turning down numerous appeals, Mr. Vitienes finally pointed to the spot. It was a tricky run from Pedro and Valera certainly made contact with his trailing leg, so the referee had no choice this time but to award the penalty. Up stepped Lionel Messi, and while it wasn’t his best effort, it was enough and Barcelona had a 2-0 lead with roughly 15 minutes left to play.

It was a commanding position, one that prompted Tito to bring on David Villa for Cristian Tello. After all, you can never be too sure of a win. Once again, Villa looked sharp and was involving himself in play, and within minutes of his arrival, Barcelona had a third. Villa might not have had a say in the goal itself, but after great play on the right from Montoya and a lucky deflection, Messi had a chance for a brace at the far post. Obviously, he made no mistake with the finish.

Getafe were not ready to roll over though, with Pablo Sarabia coming onto the field as Luis Garcia looked for a way to get back into the game, or at least claim a consolation and they managed just that. Remember I said there was a lucky deflection in Barcelona’s third? Well, what goes around comes around and Sarabia got lucky as not just one, but two deflections off Adriano and Mascherano sent the ball past a bewildered Valdés. However, all hopes of an unlikely comeback were quashed when David Villa used his chest to control a long ball and slot past Moya for his second of the season. It was a popular goal, and one that inspires great confidence for the long season ahead. If this was supposed to be the test of the season so far, then Barcelona and Tito Vilanova have passed with flying colours.

Next up is the return of the UEFA Champions League as Barca face Spartak Moscow on Wednesday, but for now (and always!) Visca el Barca!

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