A lot of talking was done in the days before the game as to whether the ‘FIFA virus’ would affect Barca’s performance against Getafe given that Alexis Sanchez, Andreas Iniesta, and Jordi Alba had all returned from International duty with injuries that ruled them out of the tie and Alves dropped to the bench as a precaution. The gaps were in the starting 11 were plugged with Cristian Tello, Thiago, Adriano and Martin Montoya respectively.
From the first whistle in front of just 9,000 spectators at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Barca looked to attack immediately and Getafe seemed happy to allow them to do so when Cristian Tello had a good chance well saved in the 4 minute by Moya in the Getafe goal after the youngster sprinted past the full back Valera who he troubled most of the evening after an excellent pass from non other than Xavi Hernandez.
The threat of a Barca goal continued as Thiago in his first game back from injury, carried the ball from midfield and propelled a venous shot of the face of the cross bar.
The breakthrough was finally forced in the 32nd minute when Fabregas playing as what the English press describe as the ‘false 9’ skipped beautifully between two challenges in the 18 yard area before Adriano continued his charge from Left Back strove into the box unmarked and slotted the ball home between the legs of the keeper. It was almost 2 when Thiago latched onto a deep cross from Tello by superbly chesting the ball down and striking on target only for another fine save from Moya at his near post to deny the youngster. Getafe did show signs of getting back into the game, before and after the break, but it was only Pedro Leon currently on loan from Real Madrid who provided a dangerous attacking threat throughout. Several times he lifted the ball into the box from out wide but no one was there to attack the ball and Valdes could easily watch the ball sail wide for a goal kick. He did have a well struck free kick from 30 yards but it untroubled the Catalan who was happy to see it fly straight into his arms.
Barca veteran Puyol went down after a clash of legs in a 50-50 challenge and struggled to shake off the knock and was eventually substituted for Mascherano and the extent of the injury will see the Catalan on the side-lines for 4-6weeks thus signalling a big blow for Barcelona.
It takes Two to Tango. Messi caused many problems for the Getafe Defence.
It wasn’t until the introduction of Leo Messi who had been rested in bizarre circumstances for the first time since L’Hospitalet in the Copa Del Rey 2011 that Barca really turned up the tempo and immediately the Argentine danced the Tango skipping past two defenders bursting into the penalty area and been brought down when through on goal which should have seen a red card produced as last man. The referee signalled a corner kick and told the Argentine to get to his feet. At least Messi saw the funny side of things and laughed back at the official. 6 minutes later Barca weren’t going to be denied a second time after Pedro produced some real beautiful body feints and turns before being tripped over right in front of the referee who had no choice to point to the spot. Messi as expected, stepped up and fired down the middle putting barca 2 up on the night. 2 minutes later Messi help off three defenders layed the ball back off to Xavi and in a flash it went from him to Busquets, Cesc to the flying Montoya who picked out Messi to tap home from 4 yards making it 0-3. A typical Barcelona goal.
Getafe looked dead and buried, or so it seemed. Into the 79th minute and Sarabia tried to clip one across the area but a double deflection first from Adriano and then off the head of Mascherano took the ball past a standard Victor Valdes and with 11 minutes left, Getafe were back in it. 1-3 the score line read.
Xavi fired just wide on 85 minutes then a moment of utter brilliance from the Artful Dodger David Villa, who came on as sub, pickpocketed the Getafe defence latching onto an aerial through ball, controlling spectacularly with his chest and firing with his left foot under Moya to make it 1-4 and round off a great performance.
Messi and Villa celebrate Barca’s 4th.
Getafe were lacking in attacking threat and they looked a different team from the side that beat champions Real a couple of weeks ago. With Madrid slipping up away at Sevilla, they sit 11th on just 4 point from 4 games whilst Barca sit on top with 12 points from 12.
(Images courtesy of SprotingLife.com and Goal.com)