1-0, Ronaldinho (2')
Ronaldinho was the matchwinner as he scored an early goal for Barça before being sent off before half-time. Barça showed that they had the strength to hold on and look to add to their slim lead as they returned to be level on points with leaders.
Last weekend Frank Rijkaard's side showed their attacking prowess as they swept to victory in the
Vicente Calderón and this Saturday they showed their defensive ability as they ensured that Getafe
did not find an equaliser in the second period. Ronaldinho stole all the headlines, once again, as
he scored the only goal of the encounter after two minutes and was then sent off five minutes
before the break after reacting to a foul on him by David Belenguer. The Brazilian was shown a
direct red card by Alfonso Pérez Burrull and was clearly unhappy. For 50 minutes the hosts had to
play with ten men against a team that were clearly up for the fight. Barça's attitude and spirit
was outstanding as they stayed head-to-head with Madrid, who remain on top thanks only on goal
average from the games between the two teams.
The winning goal arrived in the second minute of the encounter as Messi found Eto'o and the Cameroonian striker sped past Belenguer and Rubén Pulido before rolling the ball across to Ronaldinho as Roberto Abbondanzieri approached. The Barcelona number ten was left with the simple task of passing the ball into the back of the net from close range before wheeling away to celebrate. After scoring, Ronaldinho produced an array of tricks and sublime passes as he showed the Camp Nou that he is back to his best, while Messi and Eto'o were always dangerous.
Domination and chances
With the home team in dominant form it appeared that a second goal would come at any time. Ronaldinho saw a fierce free-kick turned over the bar before Carles Puyol headed a corner inches wide of the post, while Eto'o forced Abbondanzieri into action once more with a first-time shot from outside the area that the keeper had palm away.
Red for Ronaldinho
In the 40th minute, the Blaugrana suffered a major blow as Belenguer fouled Ronaldinho on the edge of the penalty area and the Brazilian reacted by raising his leg. The referee believed that the action was in retaliation and produced a red card, much to the astonishment of the home team and the thousands of supporters in the stadium. Belenguer was booked for the original foul, but that did nothing to lessen the ire of the fans as they protested against the official's decision by waving puñuelos.
Looking for more
After the break, Barça went out to look for a second goal despite playing with a man less. Eto'o had two good chances before both Messi and Deco went close. The Portuguese midfielder's opportunity was clearest as he sent a cheeky free-kick around the wall towards the near post and only a late dive from the keeper kept it out.
Getafe remained confident and had chances of their own as Sergio Pachón produced a fine save from Víctor Valdés before Fabio Celestini flicked over ftom close range after he connected with a free-kick.
Determination and pride
In the final minutes, the tired legs of the home players were evident but they continued to battle on and show pride and courage. In the 79th minute, Bernd Schuster's outfit had their best chance of the game as a low ball across the face of goal left Casquerro with an tap in, but substitute Oleguer Presas arrived to win the ball first and prevent an equaliser.
Rijkaard made tactical substitutions towards the end to preserve the lead as Thiago Motta was introduced to replace Messi after another impressive performance from the Argentinian starlet. In injury time Andrés Iniesta came on for Xavi and the ploy was perfect as Getafe were unable to mount any more attacks of any note. The win keeps Barça in the title race and ensures that in two weeks another showdown is on the cards.
Getafe and Barça have the two best defensive records in La Liga. In 35 matches, Getafe have conceded 29 goals while Barça have conceded 30.
Next up for Barça is the team that knocked us out of the Cup – Getafe. Rijkaard and his men will be looking to repeat the performance seen six days ago in the Vicente Calderón.
The record-breaking 0-6 thrashing of Atlético Madrid was the perfect demonstration of the
determination of FC Barcelona to stake their claim for the third consecutive league title. With
three games to go and Barça equal at the top of the table on points but pushed into second place by
the head-to-head goal difference, it’s now the turn of Getafe to put fortress Camp Nou to the
test. The painful defeat against Getafe in the Cup is still fresh in the memory but now the players
have the perfect opportunity to make it up to the fans.
A hard blow: Conceding a last-minute draw to Betis in the previous home match meant that Barça lost its grip on the leadership and was a hard blow for the Camp Nou faithful, especially coming so soon after being knocked out of the Cup. Barça looked to be coming into the final stage of the season in poor form but the goal feast in the Calderón has changed all that. The team overcame what looked to be –on paper at least – their toughest hurdle on the final lap while their main rivals all recorded late wins.
Waiting for a slip-up: During the week, the players have made it clear in their press conferences that as a group they’re united and confident. But before Barça take on Madrid, many eyes will be focussed on the match between Real Madrid and Deportivo, which kicks off at 8 pm. A win for Madrid would pile even more pressure on Barça though that pressure seemed to do wonders last week. Any slip-up by Real Madrid would be a fantastic opportunity for Barça to regain the leadership but to do that they have to beat Getafe in the Camp Nou, the only stadium in La Liga that hasn’t witnessed a home defeat this season.
The record books: Getafe have never beaten FC Barcelona in the league, losing in their last two visits 2-0 and 3-1. The home leg in this year’s Cup competition ended 5-2 and included that fabulous goal from Leo Messi. Getafe’s league record in their Coliseum Alfonso has been little better. The home side has been unable to beat Barça on the last three occasions, the match there in the earlier part of the season ending in a 1-1 draw.
Squad unchanged: Frank Rijkaard has kept faith with the squad that demolished Atlético. Márquez is out injured for the next fortnight while Saviola, Sylvinho and Ezquerro have failed to force their way into the list.
Schuster has a number of injury concerns, with top scorer Dani Güiza definitely out injured as are Alexis, Cortés and Vivar Dorado.