Barcelona, playing in front of a large home crowd, made easy work of Getafe, extending their La Liga lead to eleven points, at least until Atletico Madrid take on Deportivo La Coruña later today, and extending their unbeaten run to 37 games. Led by Lionel Messi with a goal and three assists, Barcelona put six past Getafe’s goalkeeper. The scoring parade was started when Juan Rodríguez put one past his goalkeeper and continued by Munir El Haddadi, Neymar, who scored twice, and Arda Turan.
|Shots on Target||10||1
Luis Enrique started the match with a much changed eleven, leaving Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitić on the bench/stands. With Javier Mascherano suspended, Jeremy Mathieu started alongside Gerard Pique in defense, where Aleix Vidal also played in place of Dani Alves. In midfield Sergi Roberto and Arda Turan joined Andres Iniesta. Munir El Haddadi took the place of Suarez to form an attacking trio with Neymar and Messi.
The start to the game was slow, with Getafe, apart from the burst from the opening kickoff, focused on defense while Barcelona strung together numerous passes but struggled to find any open lanes in the defensive line. But that changed quickly as in the 8th minute Messi showed patience 20-yards from goal and found the rushing Jordi Alba on the left side. Alba cut the ball back in an attempt to find an open teammate. Instead, the ball was deflected by Rodríguez past goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and into the back of the net.
The very next Barcelona attack looked very similar, but Alba's cut-back this time found Neymar. The Brazilian continued with the ball and was brought down by Emiliano Velázquez for a yellow card and a penalty kick. Messi stepped up to take the kick and for the eight time this season a Barcelona penalty didn't result in a goal.
But so far this season a penalty miss hasn't cost Barcelona any points, and against Getafe it appeared that trend would continue as Barcelona looked exquisitely dominant against a shorthanded Getafe, after a rare week with no mid-week game. Numerous Barcelona players seemed to have an extra jump in their step, a step that was starting to get slower and slower after the grueling January and February schedule.
But this time around Barcelona players showed fantastic ball control, passes were accurate, the dribbles, especially Neymar's, were flashy, and the finishing was deadly - apart from the penalty kick. Despite missing the penalty and sending a free kick high under the sunny Barcelona sky, Messi wasn't discouraged and continued to be the fulcrum of Barcelona's attacks and was a key contributor on all of Barcelona's first half goals.
Barcelona doubled their lead in the 19th minute with the defense-carving pass coming from Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona captain sent and over the top pass right onto Messi's foot who first timed it in front of goal where Munir was in the perfect position to head the ball in. Barcelona came close again in the 30th minute when Iniesta found Gerard Pique on the doorstep, but his shot was deflected by the goalkeeper into the crossbar, denying Pique a goal.
But the save merely postponed Camp Nou celebrations for two minutes, as Neymar would join the scoresheet in the 32nd minute. Roberto stole the ball in midfield and quickly carried it forward. He then found Messi to his left and the Argentine sent a perfect through ball for Neymar who calmly slotted the ball inside the far post.
Barcelona would add another one before the halftime whistle, with Messi making amends for his penalty miss. The goal came after a lovely team move that included some magical touches from Messi and Neymar on the left side. A few passes later, Messi received the ball in the middle of the pitch, 25-yards from goal. After a brilliant turn to make easy work of the defender, Messi had enough space to power the ball on target and set the half-time score of 4-0.
Getafe tried to turn the table immediately after the restart, but more than a shot wide of target, their first shot overall, the Madrid-based club couldn't manage. Barcelona, on the other hand, came close to extending the lead in the 49th minute. Iniesta again brilliantly found Messi with a long pass into the heart of Getafe's penalty area. Isolated, Messi waited for support and found it in Arda, but the Turkish international couldn't send the ball on target.
Barcelona would indeed complete the manita in the 51st minute with Neymar completing the brace. Basically out of nothing, Messi created a one-on-one scoring chance for the Brazilian and while Neymar did miss some easy chances in recent games, he made no mistake this time, sending the ball past Guaita's left leg. But Barcelona would not stop there, adding their sixth of the match from a corner kick. The ball was sent in from the left side to the near post where Munir headed the ball to the middle where Pique extended the play with a rather poor touch. But it turned to be a perfect ball for Arda who with a bicycle kick added to the Barcelona lead.
Now in total and complete control, Barcelona stepped off the gas and started making substitutions. First, at the one hour mark, Luis Enrique made two, replacing Mathieu and Iniesta with Thomas Vermaelen and youngster Sergi Samper, for the latter this marked the La Liga debut. Eight minutes later, Pique was taken off and replaced by Marc Bartra. Just before Barcelona's third change, Getafe fired their first shot on target, but it was an easy save for Claudio Bravo. The very next minute, the visitors created their best scoring chance of the game, but substitute Moi Gomez just missed the target from a tough angle.
Barcelona continued to be the better team on the pitch, despite lowering their tempo of play, but on occasion Getafe did get into the danger areas. But getting shots on target remained a tough task for the visitors. When motivated, Barcelona easily found their way to Guaita, but those instances were few and far between in the dying stages of the game. Neymar, however, did have an excellent chance to complete the hat-trick. Of course, he was played behind the defense by Messi, but despite time and space, and a wide open Munir in the middle, Neymar fired of a poor shot, hitting Guaita in the right leg.
After a short period of added time, the referee whistled for full time with Barcelona running out deserved winners.
|Roll Call Info|
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