Sunday, December 5, 2021

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Unselfish Messi inspires Barca rout of Getafe

Lionel Messi gave up the chance for a hat-trick on Thursday as Barcelona thrashed Getafe 5-2 to stay in the race at the top of La Liga.

Messi scored twice and could have had a third in injury-time at Camp Nou but deferred a penalty to Antoine Griezmann, who completed what was in the end a comfortable victory.

After outclassing Athletic Bilbao to lift the Copa del Rey last weekend, Barca are now in the hunt for the double, sitting five points behind Atletico Madrid but still with a game in hand.

Atletico had earlier brushed aside Huesca 2-0 to register back-to-back victories for the first time since January and with Real Madrid also seeing off Cadiz on Wednesday, there is no margin for error now in a thrilling three-way fight for the title.

None of Spain’s leading trio appear to have been affected by an incredible few days off the pitch, which saw Real Madrid, Atletico and Barcelona all sign up for the hugely controversial and dead in the water European Super League.

Getafe were wearing t-shirts in protest against the European Super League, even as they gave Barcelona a guard of honour to mark the Catalans’ cup success.

Messi got to work in the eighth minute, slid through by a piercing pass by Sergio Busquets and sending a shot into the far top corner, despite a touch by Getafe goalkeeper David Soria.

Yet Getafe were level four minutes later as Angel met Marc Cucurella’s cross and the ball cannoned off the unsuspecting Clement Lenglet and flew in.

Another own-goal restored Barca’s lead, this one more avoidable, with Sofian Chakla failing to spot Soria coming out before passing the ball beyond the goalkeeper and into his own net.

The game looked secure when Messi made it three. Lenglet’s looping header gave him the chance to volley right-footed against the far post but the ball arrowed back to the forward, who finished from the angle with his left.

Getafe teed up a nervy last 20 minutes when Ronald Araujo, on as a substitute, trod on the ankle of Enes Unal, who scored the penalty to give the visitors hope.

But Barcelona pulled away with two late goals, Araujo heading in a corner from Messi, who then passed up the chance to score his third by giving Griezmann his first.

Messi now has 33 goals in all competitions and 25 in the league, one more than the total scored by the whole Getafe team.

Getafe are not safe yet, four points the gap above the bottom three.

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