Barcelona have now won three games in a row in La Liga thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over third-place Getafe at Camp Nou. The Blaugrana were never fully in control and rode their luck at times, but first half goals from Antoine Griezmann and Sergi Roberto were enough to give them three big points against a quality opponent.
Barça had a lot of trouble to start the game, thanks to a very effective man-to-man, high press defensive plan by Getafe who made it almost impossible for the Blaugrana to get out of their own half. Marc-André ter Stegen had no short options but was able to find the forwards upfield with some smart long balls that slowly but surely forced Getafe to retreat.
Unfortunately Barça couldn’t create any chances early on and became a little sloppy with their passing, and Getafe got a hold of the ball and became really dangerous with at least three very good diagonal passes to pick up runners in behind the Barça defense, and if not for a couple of amazing tackles by Gerard Piqué and Samuel Umtiti the visitors could have scored an early goal.
They indeed found the back of the net through Allan Nyom, but after a look at the video review the referee ruled out the goal for a clear foul by Nyom on Umtiti, and Barça got a big break. They also got better and started to pass the ball more in the final third, and after more than half an hour they had their first long sequence of possession in the attacking half. It led to a goal as Lionel Messi came up with a genius assist and Antoine Griezmann chipped the keeper for the opener.
It didn’t take long for Barça to add to their lead after another nice team move, a full-back assist from Junior Firpo and a full-back goal for Sergi Roberto, who made a late run at the far post and found the back of the net. Getafe clearly felt the sudden change of events and couldn’t press or trouble Barça at the back, and at halftime the Blaugrana had showed resilience to survive a tough start and took a two-goal lead into the second haf.
Getafe needed an early goal to get back in the game and amped up the pressure with more players going forward and more crosses into the box in the first 10 minutes. Barça tried to control the game and not allow any big chances, and after 20 minutes they had weathered the storm and looked good for the win.
Then Getafe came up with a great goal out of nowhere: nice cross from Jaime Mata and a sensational volley from Barça target Ángel. Right after scoring Getafe had another big chance with a free-kick into the box, and Ter Stegen pulled off a magical save to avoid the equalize. Right after that chance Barça went on a huge counter attack and Griezmann found himself alone in front of goal, but sent his shot to the skies and missed a golden chance.
With 15 minutes to go Barça were under a lot of pressure and very uncomfortable, and they desperately need a third to kill the game. Unfortunately it didn’t come thanks to two huge misses by Griezmann with his right foot, but the final whistle eventually came and Barça are level on points with Real Madrid for the next 24 hours. This was tough and ugly but Getafe will do it to you, and although Barça haven’t passed the test with flying colors they’ve passed it nonetheless.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba (Firpo 21’); De Jong, Busquets, Arthur (Rakitic 74’); Messi, Griezmann, Ansu Fati (Vidal 84’)
Goals: Griezmann (33’), Roberto (39’)
Getafe: Soria; Nyom, Djené, Etxeita, Olivera (Kenedy 51’); Etebo (Amath 67’), Arambarri, Maksimovic, Cucurella; Molina (Ángel 51’), Mata
Goal: Ángel (66’)