LaLiga 2018-19, Getafe 1-2 FC Barcelona: 5 Talking Points
Seventh-placed Getafe hosted league leaders Barcelona in their first home game of 2019. With Atletico Madrid and Sevilla both dropping points in their 1-1 draw, Barcelona had a chance to go five points clear at the top of the LaLiga table.
A loss for Santiago Solari's Real Madrid also meant that the Catalan outfit would boast a 10 point lead over them. Getafe had a chance to move into contention for the Europa League spot following Real Betis's shock defeat to Huesca.
In what was a surprising decision, Ernesto Valverde rested Sergio Busquets and Nelson Semedo for the game. Phillipe Coutinho continued to start from the bench. Arthur started in the midfield along with Vidal and Rakitic. Barcelona's loan signing Jeison Murillo started from the bench.
Lionel Messi scored the opening goal for Barcelona after confusion between David Soria and his defense.
Messi sneaked the ball in between Soria's left before passing it into the open net for his first goal of 2019.
Luis Suarez doubled Barcelona's lead at the brink of half-time with a volley. Getafe found a response soon after through Jaime Mata in the 43rd minute.
The second half did not add to the goals despite good chances for both sides. Jaime Mata missed a sitter from in front of the open goal and Lionel Messi also missed a one-on-one against Soria.
Barcelona held onto their lead to win the game and also go five points clear of the chasing pack in the league. The Blaugrana have a bit of fixture congestion coming up with Copa Del Rey Round Of 16 and league games scheduled tightly. They will take on Levante in the Copa Del Rey next.
Here are five talking points from the game.
#5 Getafe makes a strong case for Europa League spot after making Barcelona sweat
The performance of any team against Barcelona does not depend necessarily on the result. The home team was undeterred despite Barcelona dominating them in the first half and also cruising with a two-goal lead. They found a quick response for Suarez's goal at the brink of half-time through Jaime Mata.
In the second half, Getafe had several more spells of possession and more lethal chances at goal. Marc Ter Stegen made a wonderful reflex save off a header from a corner.
Jaime Mata had the chance to equalize and he had an open net in front. Yet somehow he managed to fluff the opportunity. Even the commentator suggested that Mata had equalized after he dribbled the keeper but it was not to be.
However, Getafe lacked the cutting edge against a rigid Barcelona team who knows how to hold onto a lead.
This doesn't mean that all hope is lost for them. They pressed very well and played a high tempo game.
This type of playing style is capable of getting them to the Europa League. If they could beat Alaves later this month, their chances of getting to Europa will get a momentum boost.
Barcelona did not win without breaking a sweat and Getafe should be proud of their performance.