When FC Barcelona played Getafe CF for the first time last season, it was the game that marked the beginning of the end. Barcelona suffered various draws leading up to that late November match, but it hadn’t lost a game since April. That all changed when lackluster play lead to 1-0 defeat to the other Madrid-based club.
Well, everyone knows how last season ended. So, this year when the two clubs met again in the equivalent game, there was hope the outcome wouldn’t be the same.
Head coach Tito Vilanova started Victor Valdes, Martín Montoya, Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué, Adriano, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Thiago, Pedro, Cesc Fàbregas and Cristian Tello. Getafe decided to field Miguel Moya, Alexis, Miguel Torres, Alberto Lopo, Valera, Pedro León, Diego Castro, Michel, Xavi Torres, Adrián Colunga and Abdelaziz Barrada.
Barcelona had the first shot on goal. In the fourth minute, Tello tried to sneak the ball into the opposite corner, but Moya managed to make the save.
Most of the early minutes were spent committing fouls and taking subsequent free kicks. Both teams couldn’t capitalize on the set pieces or stop themselves from fouling their opponents. In the 23rd minute, Busquets earned the first yellow card of the match in a questionable call by the referee for challenging Barrada.
Three minutes later, Thiago made a brilliant effort but the crossbar denied him a goal. In the 31st minute, León created Getafe’s best chance so far, but Valdés saved the ball in the top-right corner. Just a minute later, Adriano gave Barcelona the 1-0 lead. After an assist from Cesc, Adriano popped the ball into the center of the net.
In the 38th minute, Piqué followed his teammate into the referee’s book for a bad foul on Colunga. A minute later León again displayed his dangerous attacking by attempting a distance shot at a tough angle. However, Valdés parried the shot in the bottom corner.
At the half, neither team made any substitutions. But Getafe did come out with renewed energy. The first chance of the half fell to Castro. In the 48th minute, his shot from outside of the box sailed wide of the left post. A few minutes later, culés held their collective breath as captain Puyol received medical care on the field. The defender made a successful tackle, but stayed on the ground. In the 57th minute, Puyol came out of the game and Javier Mascherano took his place.
In the 58th minute, Tello’s shot elicited a save from Moya. A minute after, Barcelona made another change when Thiago came off for the long-awaited Lionel Messi. The substitution parade continued, this time for Getafe. Colunga exited the match in favor of Álvaro Vázquez.
Michel earned a yellow card in the 61st minute for a bad foul. A minute later, his teammate also earned a card for a similar offense.
The 67th minute produced a contentious moment. Newly-introduced Messi made one of his classic darting runs into the box, followed closely by Torres. As Messi dribbled closer to the goal, Torres slid in with a tackle, taking Messi down in the penalty area. However, the referee wasn’t sympathetic to the Catalans’ plight and whistled to play on.
Just a minute later, Moya saved a Pedro shot in the top-left corner. Right after, Mehdi Lacen replaced Michel for Getafe. Remember that penalty shout for Messi? Well, it seemed like the referee was feeling a little pressure, because in the 73rd minute, Valera clipped Pedro in the box and brought him down. La Pulga stepped up to the spot, and while Moya got a hand to it, the ball buried itself in the back of the net. Barcelona now led 2-0. Just after the penalty, Barcelona made its final change when Tello took David Villa’s place on the bench.
Barcelona was by no means winding down, though. In the 78th minute, Messi scored again. Montoya crossed the ball in and Messi managed to tap it in after a deflection.
Even with a 3-0 lead, the Catalans weren’t invincible. In the 79th minute, Sarabia came on for León. A minute later, the super-sub scored… sort of. His shot took a deflection first off Adriano’s boot and then off Mascherano’s head and flew into the net for an own goal.
With a 3-1 score line, Getafe looked to narrow the gap even more. In the 83rd minute, Barrada powered a shot over the crossbar.
Unfortunately for Getafe, Barcelona hadn’t lost any confidence over the own goal and hammered the last nail into the coffin in the 90th minute. Cesc assisted a great ball to Villa who finished with a flourish, lighting up the scoreboard 4-1. El Guaje’s goal celebration also indicated another Villa baby may be on the way.
History did not repeat itself tonight and Barcelona avoided the all-too-familiar FIFA virus after an international break. Even more promising news than the 4-1 thrashing is that every time Barcelona has won the away fixture against Getafe, it has won the Spanish league.
Perhaps this game is also the beginning of the end – just a very different ending than last season.
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