Barcelona gutted out a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Getafe to move five points clear in LaLiga on Sunday night.
First-half goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez proved enough but Barca had to survive a testing second half after Jaime Mata pulled a goal back just before the break.
The win sees Barca capitalise on Real Madrid’s home defeat to Real Sociedad to move 10 points clear of their rivals, while second-placed Atletico Madrid also dropped points in a 1-1 draw away to Sevilla.
But while it ended up an excellent day for the reigning champions, they did not have it all their own way at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
Getafe were on top in the early stages, with Angel sending a powerful volley over before Damian Suarez wanted a penalty for a little shove from Sergi Roberto.
The hosts soon had the ball in the net, but Mata’s effort was questionably ruled out for a push on Clement Lenglet from Angel.
A bizarre back pass from Arturo Vidal then put Marc-Andre ter Stegen in trouble but the German dealt with it before being hurt by Angel on the follow through.
But after all that, Messi put Barcelona ahead in the 20th minute. His first shot was saved but the Argentinian kept running and tucked home the rebound from a tight angle – his 399th league goal for Barcelona.
Moments later Luis Suarez was denied by goalkeeper David Soria from a tight angle on the right.
The tide had turned, and Soria got a strong hand on Gerard Pique’s powerful close-range effort from Messi’s cut-back.
Luis Suarez then made a gorgeous turn to tee up a shot but it was deflected just wide, with his appeals for a corner in vain.
The second goal came six minutes before the break when Getafe only half-cleared Messi’s free-kick and Luis Suarez struck a superb volley from the edge of the area.
Moments later, Arthur almost put the ball in his own net but it struck the post.
Angel then sent a volley over but Getafe were back in it two minutes before the break. Dembele wanted a free-kick on the edge of the hosts’ box but the referee waved play on and Getafe went straight to the other end, where Angel pulled the ball back for Mata to bundle in.
That set up an intriguing second half but after some early chances it became a war of attrition.
Angel sent a shot wide on the stretch after a poor clearance from Ter Stegen before the goalkeeper made a superb save to keep out Leandro Cabrera’s powerful header from a corner.
Messi sent a free-kick over just after the hour, but their failure to kill off the match should have been punished in the 67th minute when Mata rounded the goalkeeper but, having done all the hard work, he spooned his shot high and wide – and Barcelona hung on.
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