• August 2, 2021

Barca beat Getafe to close the gap on leaders Atletico

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona defeat Getafe 5-2 to keep their fate at the top of La Liga in their own hands.

Messi opened the scoring at Camp Nou in the eighth minute just moments after hitting the bar. Getafe leveled almost immediately when Clement Lenglet turned into his own net but Sofian Chakla’s own goal at the other end restored Barca’s lead just before the half-hour mark. Messi added his second, his 25th in the league this campaign, before the break.

Getafe set up a nervy final 20 minutes for Ronald Koeman’s side when Enes Unal converted a penalty but Ronald Araujo, who gave away the spot kick, made amends by heading in Barca’s fourth late on. Antoine Griezmann then won and converted a stoppage-time penalty to wrap up the points.

Barcelona are now within five points of leaders Atletico but have a game in hand — and still play Atletico at Camp Nou on May 8.

Barca knew going into the Getafe game that if they win their final eight matches, including the potential pivotal clash with leaders Atletico Madrid, they will win the league. That number is now down to seven.

In Messi, they once again have the league’s outstanding player and he’s looked determined to drive Barca to what appeared an unlikely title at the turn of the year. In 2021, he has now scored 18 goals in just 15 league games, all while setting up another eight for his teammates.

Messi and Frenkie de Jong also avoided picking up the bookings that would have ruled them out of Sunday’s difficult trip to Villarreal.

Getafe gave Ronald Koeman’s side a guard of honour for their recent Copa del Rey triumph but the visitors also wore T-shirts saying “Earn It”, criticising Barcelona’s decision to sign up to the breakaway European Super League.

“The news had a big impact on me, any clubs want to compete in Europe and we want to earn it on the pitch,” said Getafe’s Angel Rodriguez.

“We’re a humble club who played in the Europa League so obviously I’m totally against it.”

After the match, Koeman said: “It’s true difficult moments [in the] second half. I think good result in the end. Very good first half, team very focused, a lot of chances, played well.

Steve Carr

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